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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Review #037: SpiritSphere DX (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Reviewed By: Allan J.

Developed By: Eendhoorn

Published By: Fabraz

Category: Arcade, Multiplayer, Action, Sports

Release Date: 7.2.2018

Download SpiritSphere DX from the Nintendo eShop here.

Reinventing the Sphere?

SpiritSphere DX doesn’t set out to redefine an entire era of gaming… or does it? No. It doesn’t. But it is a fun little retro-style twist on Pong that is almost equally fun in single-player campaign mode as it is at a party, where up to four players can join in a doubles match, and plenty of other modes to try. SpiritSphere DX takes you back to the simpler 16-bit style of sports gaming some of us were very fond of as children of the 80s and 90s.

1,000 Ways to Pong

Gameplay is basically just different variations of the main table tennis/volleyball theme. You choose your character, and can choose different colors for each character. This comes in especially handy when you are in multiplayer mode and everyone wants to be the same character! Each character has different moves, ranging from axe-spinning and sword wielding, to teleportation and dashing. Each stage gets a slight rule twist and gets a little harder than the last one.

One stage may resemble a tennis match while the next stage may remind you more of a game of squash. The modes are varied enough to keep it interesting, but after a while, it does start to all blend together a bit. You can run into the sphere to volley it back, or you can strike it with your weapon either regular or charged, depending on the velocity at which you intend to send the sphere. You can even “steer” the sphere after you hit it by using the toggle to control the direction – kind of like what you wish you could do to the bowling ball you just threw at the gutter in real life!

More Fun At Parties

In single-player campaign mode, you work your way through different stages, each with its own different theme and boss character to face. The main goal is to get the sphere past the opposing goal line to score points. You can bounce the sphere off of whichever wall you like, and can keep it on your side as long as you like, but different obstacles will eventually get in your way if you do this, and you will inevitably score a goal on yourself. You can collect different items that are unearthed on the stage that can assist you against your opponent, like projectiles that can blow holes in the bumper tiles blocking the goal.

In local multiplayer mode, there are so many different modes to try, I am not even sure I managed to try them all out, but 2-on-2 versus mode was the favorite in the group by far. Just the fact that you have two different perspectives depending on whether you are “Team Top” or “Team Bottom” – yes, we had a few laughs over this… - is enough to bring out the competitive spirit and trash talking with your buddies. It really is a different experience depending on perspective, which prompted many a controller and team swap to try and settle the scores.

There is even a 2-player mode where you attach the Joy-Cons to the console and each player controls one of the sides. The screen flips vertically so the players are quite literally facing each other in an odd, co-op handheld experience. It was almost like a classic mini version of those old glass-top arcade tables they used to have at the Pizza Hut buffets. I am really aging myself in this review…

It’s Dangerous To Go Alone…

The look and feel of SpiritSphere DX was fully intended on replicating an early 90s retro game, and it does a great job at this. Nothing too visually mind-blowing here, but it certainly stirs up the nostalgia. They even, quite unashamedly, made a character who was either 100% intentionally designed to look like Link, (The character’s name is actually Lin, and she’s a girl, but yeah…) or was designed by someone who has lived under a rock since at least 1985. Again, nothing Earth-shattering here, but it gets the job done quite effectively.

Wrapping Up

SpiritSphere DX was a fun, colorful little party game that I enjoyed for what it was. I personally sucked at this game compared to most of my local-multiplayer opponents (and the CPU opponents, if we’re being completely honest) but it was still enjoyable. There’s even a mode for people like me where you can play as a ghost to pretend you are actually helping you friend, without actually being there to score goals on yourself. There are plenty of different modes to try and plenty of items and characters to unlock along the way. I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun party game to have on hand.

Final Score: 8/10

Download SpiritSphere DX from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided By Fabraz

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