Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition is described as an ancient Germanic future lightning action game. This future is bloody and violent. In Lichtspeer, you have unlimited spears at your disposal to demolish enemies. Headshots give you bonuses, and missing can cause you a quick death. While seeming hard to master aiming at first, you suddenly start becoming used to how the throwing works. You will be amazed by how more and more accurate you become. Things start feeling natural, and at times you won’t even have to look to see if your shots are connecting. There are thirteen levels with five stages each, rotating into boss battles every two.
Though only a few hours, the game offers two difficulty modes and game plus for each, along with challenges that differ depending on your mode. As such, to complete everything you will be spending a lot of time with this game. While normal mode allows you to take each stage at a time, Rage Quit mode is a no death situation. You have to complete all five stages in each level without dying. This makes getting to a boss a relief, as it does load you back at the boss. You will die a lot in this game. One hit from anything ends in a horrific death. There are 20 achievements in this game, and some are extremely difficult. Only the hardcore will be able to complete this game fully! There is a Cooperative mode in the game, and it could be fun for couch cooperative mode play; however, there is no online support.
Here’s what I liked:
Gameplay: Throwing spears into enemies is quite enjoyable, especially when getting a headshot. The game can become quite frantic at times. You start to really ease into the aiming and feel like a badass as you destroy enemies relentlessly. You can use simple powers too, to help you in the times you are about to die. The game punishes you for missing three times in a row, saying “Nein!” and making you dazed, which usually will result in your demise. As you play, each level seems to add something new to the mix. The boss battles can be tricky as you have nothing explained to you. It’s a game where you just have to figure it out yourself through death and repeat. There were a few bosses where I died more than forty times before finally completing it. The game changes environments and enemies often. Bosses are always difficult to figure out at first until you master them. Sometimes they even throw in a pink block that you have to throw your spear into to teleport. This gives great urgency in the game, forcing you to be extremely accurate.
Design: What’s not to like? There are so many excellent design choices that were made; from the colors to the fantastic sound track. The graphics won’t knock you out of your seat, but they are pleasant and easy to look at. The enemies are very creative. They change as the game progresses. A cyclops will suddenly have armor and you can only headshot them. There are penguins that throw fish at you (yes they are sacrificing their meal), a skateboarding walrus and even dwarfs in space suits. The list goes on. At one point, I found myself verbally screaming “WTF where did that walrus come from!”. I had died not realizing a walrus had gone down a slide and jumped on me. It seems someone let the animals at Seaworld out because there are a lot of different sea creatures. One of the best parts is the blood effects. Simple triangles that fly out of headless enemies, or trails of blood falling from the sky just illustrate the mayhem transpiring perfectly.
Music/Sound: I don’t typically pay too much attention to the score in most video games. However, this one caught my attention. The pulsating heavy beats are almost retro with just a touch or techno, and the music changes throughout the levels. The sound effects are spot on, and the sound indicated by a headshot will bring joy to your ears. The sounds of missing scream at you for failure. I could close my eyes and throw blindly, knowing if I was hitting enemies, missing them or building my multiplier. It works perfectly.
Humor: The game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Though not a lot of dialogue, the stuff that was written is entertaining and almost tongue in cheek. The developers clearly had a good sense of humor, as the rage quit mode is aptly named. Most players will likely make a quick exit after dying unless they are up for a challenge.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Story: The game throws you into the fray, with no real back story. As you kill hordes of enemies, defeat bosses and advance the game, nothing is really explained. The game starts off telling you how to play but then quickly derails into silence. Even just a glossary of the enemies could have at least been included, giving some small backstory to as to why a giant lizard is in a mech suit that explodes when hit with a spear. He opens it occasionally as he walks for no apparent reason. Is it solar powered and he needs to charge to take more steps? A lot of people will welcome this style because it gets to the point: kill everything! The game starts with a cut scene that wraps up the entire theme at once. Basically, a God is bored and wants you to kill everything. It even gives you the spear to help since it claims your fists are too weak. We just get no other back story of who this hero is or why they were chosen. There are no other humans in the entire game. While the game had mentioned nothing would make sense, it doesn’t mean it gets a free pass on excluding even a little bit of story.
Customization: You have an awesome glowing spear, but it’s always the same color. It would have been nice to pick a color and change it whenever you wanted to. The clothing you wear is a very dull white with a blue belt. It would have been great to be able to choose the colors of these as well, just to mess around with. This would help with the four playthroughs. I get that they’re using “Germanic” names to choose from when you start, but it would have been nice to be able to write in your own name. These few simple things could have made really let you put a personal touch on your murderous rampage. The options are rather limited in giving your character any personality.
Pacing: This game has a serious pacing issue. As you play, you earn LSD, which is the currency to obtain new powers that you can also upgrade. The cost is quite heavy for what you will be earning as you play. You won’t be naturally getting awesome new powers as you play. Instead, you will find yourself grinding the first level over and over just to buy everything. This is especially true to Rage Quit mode, as I would have to replay levels even after getting Uber on them. Getting the Uber ranking doesn’t increase or help you in any way. In fact, I was getting more LSD (currency) getting bronze and not worrying about the ranking. Since there is no story, you also get lost in what you’re actually trying to accomplish.
Upgrade System: To be fair, the game does have a good amount of upgrades that are interesting and make sense. However, there are certain ones that are a must-have. This leaves plenty of them feeling useless. One defensive upgrade is for adding double your bonus multiplier. You lose your aiming and have only a short time frame to kill enemies. This usually leads to a lost multiplier when you miss. When I used it at its full potential, I was not gaining much more LSD than I would without it. There is one ultimate power that kills everything on the screen. The other two don’t, they just kill what is in front or above you and the distance on these powers are pitiful. This means you will only ever use the power that kills everything. It might have been better if this was unlocked after you completed the game. Instead, everything is unlocked and you can gain what you want by completing the first level over and over. What I really would love to have seen were passive items. Perhaps one that let you miss 4 times instead of 3 before being stunned. Maybe another that allows you a longer aiming guideline, or one that let’s you throw split seconds faster. The powers just don’t seem very well thought out.
The normal mode can be enjoyed by most people. Rage Quit mode gives a much more inflated sense of accomplishment. However, you will be frustrated and at many points will want to give up. Hardcore gamers who love a challenge will enjoy this game. If you love difficult bosses, this game delivers. The price point is extremely good already, but if there ever is a sale I would highly suggest picking it up if you are on the fence. If you’re after an easy gamerscore, you will not find that here. Lichtspeer is fun and fast, and the new type of atmosphere is welcomed. Reminiscent of something like Kung Fury, Lichtspeer embraces neon futuristic wacky elements. It’s fast-paced and easy to pick up and play, but the lack of depth in many areas won’t hold the average player’s attention.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Lichtspeer was developed by Litcthund and published on Xbox One by Crunching Koalas. It was released on June 1st, 2018 for the Xbox One for $9.99. A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.