Honestly, I sometimes get the impression that games for our beloved AmigaOS platform are like buses, you can wait absolutely ages for one to appear and when it does, so do several others in its slipstream.
The newest game to be released this month is called Spencer and is the work of German duo Thomas Claus and Frank Menzel who are more commonly known in amongst the Amiga community as Entwickler-X. They have been quite prolific in the past in releasing commercial games for AmigaOS 4 and some of their more notable titles include the eye-catching shoot-em-up M.A.C.E or the fiendishly addictive Swamp Defense 2. Not being content with focusing on games, they too are responsible for the Emotion video player which is about the closest thing we have to VLC player on the Amiga, so they are a pretty versatile and talented bunch of coders who are dedicated to the AmigaOS 4 platform.
Spencer, (who himself kind or resembles Spongebob Squarepants) is a classic jump and run platform game where the objective is to collect all the coins and power ups within a level and then leave the exit point whilst trying to avoid all manner of baddies. There have been plenty of examples of this type of game over the years on the Amiga, but the one that sticks most in my mind for some reason when I was playing this game was Alfred Chicken.
For their new release, they have chosen to make use of some new libraries which appeared in the last A-Eon Enhancer pack namely ogles2.library v1.19 and
Warp3D_Nova.library v1.47, with the result being that they have created possibly the most eye-catching game ever seen on the Amiga.
The graphics in this game have to be seen to be believed with a nice 3D depth effect on what is essentially a 2D platform game. You quickly learn to love Spencer during this game and there are some quite nice effects as he regenerates, where at first only his legs and eyes appear before the rest of his body make a reappearance a few seconds later.
Equally the baddies that you encounter come in all different shapes and wacky forms, although I did find the difficulty level sometimes a tad too high as the baddies do attack you from all angles so a degree of patience is required if you wish to finish a level with all your lives in tact.
Talking of moving through levels, the game adopts a similar style of play to Entwickler-X’s previous release Swamp Defense 2 in that once each level is complete and finished you can re-start the game at the level that you have yet to complete.
There are about 80 levels in total to complete spread out across 3 different worlds, so there should be plenty here to keep you occupied for a reasonable amount of time.
If I had to choose a negative about the game I guess it would have to be the in-game music. It would have been nice to have had some variation on the music across different levels, but for me the same tune playing across the game across many multiple levels induces mania and frustration or is this a deliberate intended cause in order to add to the game’s difficulty? Then again if we look at other Amiga classics like Rainbow Islands, this had the same tune playing throughout most of the game, so perhaps we should not be too harsh here.
Nonetheless there is a lot to recommend here. With Spencer you can finally show off a fantastic looking game to your fellow game playing mates whose jaws will probably drop to the floor too and start taking a next generation Amiga a little more seriously!
Spencer can be purchased from either the Amistore App Store on AmigaOS 4, or you can purchase the direct download link from Alinea Computer. For the £15/€15 cost, the game is a bit of a bargain and does a great job of finally demonstrating and showing off the capabilities of the new Warp 3D Nova and OpenGL ES 2.0 libraries. I understand that a bit of development work for this game also took place with the 3D creating package Blender which is also available on AmigaOS 4 and to which the programmers had to spend time learning how to use as part of this games development. Inspiration indeed for any budding future game creator.
I really to hope we get to see a few more games come along making use of Warp 3D Nova. I will leave you with a few videos of some of the gameplay, after all screenshots can only tell so much.
Until next time have fun with your Amigas!