Lichtspeer
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 9

If you are looking for a game that is easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep you coming back for more then you’ll get a kick out of Lichtspeer. It only takes one level to learn everything you need to know to stay alive, but thanks to the overwhelming odds against you it never becomes boring. The difficulty ramps up very quickly, but because the game is so addictive you’ll be back after every rage quit.

Gameplay: Easy to pick up and play, but hard to master.

Graphics: The retro futuristic visual style is a nice match for the setting.

Sound: The soundtrack is great and you’ll encounter some hilarious speech samples too

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Lichtspeer

Developer: Lichthund | Publisher: Lichthund | Release Date: 2016| Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Lichtspeer boasts the distinction of being the first ever action arcade lightspear-throwing simulator based in ancient Germanic future. This certainly sounds very impressive, but it basically means hurling neon colored spears into the eye sockets of approaching hipster ice giants. For an idea of what exactly to expect the closest thing to describing Lichtspeer would be a violent fusion of Angry Birds and the Tower Defense genre. It is over the top, action packed and utterly addictive.

Basically the Lichtgods have blessed your “Germonaut” with a Lichtspeer and the task of wiping out hordes of enemies. The Lichtspeer is essentially a lightsaber crossed with a throwing spear and constantly regenerates, so you never have to worry about running out. You are going to have to be fast with your throws though, as your character cannot move and if any of the approaching enemies make contact it means instant death. Initially, the lumbering Wurst Zombies and Penguin Vikings stagger towards you at a leisurely pace, but it doesn’t take long before you are assailed from all sides by some very fast foes in very large groups. From flying dogs to jumping fish and magic wielding wizards, the enemies are as varied as they are bizarre and deadly.

In addition to becoming faster and more numerous, later enemies also have some new tricks up their sleeves. Some start to hide behind thick armor and can only be killed by headshots, while others lob projectiles of their own in your direction and must be killed first. Even the environment can work against you with lasers that have to be shut down, speed cubes that energize enemies walking past them and more. Just when you get used to enemies approaching from one direction the game also throws levels at you where foes can appear from either side of the screen or places your character on a slope, which really messes with your aim. Despite all the odds that are stacked against you, and we haven’t even mentioned the “Rage Quit” mode yet, the game remains addictive enough that you’ll keep coming back for more.

One of the most satisfying things in Lichtspeer is judging the strength and trajectory of your throws well enough to embed your spear in an enemies head. Repeat this feat and you start building up a combo, which results in a larger score.

This translates into Licht Standard Denomination, or LSD, which is the in-game currency. LSD can then be used between levels to unlock new abilities and upgrade existing ones to give you a better chance. You can only equip one power from each of the three different skill trees and these slowly recharges after each use, so you can’t rely on them too much. They can definitely save your life in an emergency though, and range from the ability to split your Lichtspeer in three mid-throw, to a shield, rain of Lichtspeer and many others. However, you had better not miss shots as this result in losing your combo and if it happens too many times in a row you’ll even upset the Lichtgods and get penalized.

Lichtspeer can be tough as nails, but at least each level is split up into five sub-screens, each one acting as a checkpoint. Upon dying you also only have to press one button to be right back in the action. Waiting for you at the end of most levels is an impressive boss, each with their own weaknesses that you have to exploit. You lose access to your special abilities during these boss fights, but defeating the bosses are quite satisfying. You can also redo levels to earn more LSD for upgrades or to try and complete the three different optional challenges you are given per level.

Visually, Lichtspeer features a retro futuristic look that is a nice match for its crazy setting and characters. Nobody is going to describe the 2D graphics as state of the art, but they are certainly very stylish and unique. The game does feature copious amounts of blood, especially when your headshots connect, and enemy corpses stay on the ground for the duration of the level, which is a nice touch. It is also quite gratifying to see enemies fly backwards, ragdoll style, when they take a lichtspeer to the face. The backgrounds range from snowy mountain peaks to oceans and deserts and caves, so there is definitely some variety. We were also quite impressed by the soundtrack as the bass heavy electronic tunes are quite hypnotic. The controls couldn’t be simpler as you aim with the mouse, charge your lichtspear by holding down the left mouse button and release it to throw. Lichtspeers obviously travel with an arch, so there is a bit more skill involved than simply pointing and throwing. The only buttons needed on the keyboard are “A”, “S” and “D”, which are used to activate your special abilities.

At first Lichtspeer looks like a game that is too simple to keep players engaged for very long, but it is easy to pick up and play yet fiercely addictive. Just completing the regular difficulty is quite a feat and then there is still a New Game + mode as well as the appropriately titled “Rage Quit” mode. Don’t let the simple visuals and wacky story fool you, Lichtspeer is one of those games that will have you hooked after your first try and leave you hurling spears (and abuse) at foes long into the night.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP 32 bit
  • Processor: Intel Core™ 2 Duo 2.0+ GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 11+ Compatible
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 450 MB available space
  • OS: OS X 10.9
  • Processor: Intel Core™ 2 Duo 2.0+ GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 Compatible
  • Storage: 450 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 14.04
  • Processor: Intel Core™ 2 Duo 2.0+ GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 Compatible
  • Storage: 450 MB available space

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