Developer: Kris Jones
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Pocket Monkey Games hopes you’re totally digging the recent influx of dramatizations based on Greek mythology. Whether it’s serious dramatic films, satirical movies and television, or the variety of AAA gaming franchises; it’s virtually impossible to avoid the Spartan universe. Sparta is a 2D side scrolling action game that doesn’t take itself too seriously while hoping to attract the same folks that enjoyed the well-received Zombieville.
The typical scenario you’d expect applies here when it comes to the setup of Sparta. You are a Spartan solider that’s tasked with killing all opposition using your trusty sword. Movement is restricted to going left or right, while combat options include the ability to use your shield, swing your sword, or use a puny (and completely useless) kick. Everything is controlled using on screen commands, and I didn’t find myself frustrated by response much.
In playing Sparta, your goal to kill as many enemies as possible to top the local leaderboards maxed out at 100 kills. The enemies that perpetually spawn generally come in two flavors (e.g. swordsmen or archers). As a result, Sparta doesn’t require much strategy —you’ll figure out two basic approaches to combat and react accordingly.
When your kill count gets up there, enemies become more difficult to kill as they’ll require more damage to die. Your armor cosmetically changes over time too, but there are no tangible upgrades to your capacity to take enemy fire. Gameplay is passable, but the simple gameplay is aching for more strategy, enemy diversity, and a greater range of weapons that are available to use. So when it comes to core gameplay, Sparta has a ways to go before it's in the same league as Zombieville.
Sparta does look quite good though. The 2D cartoony art style is quite detailed and executed well. The death animations are over the top as head decapitations and spewing blood are commonplace here. Yet as good as things look, you’ll quickly wish that Pocket Monkey added more variety after seeing the same art and animations repeatedly. This segues into my main disappointment with Sparta...
Sparta is not a finished game by any objective standard. The combat is limited and basic, there’s only one revolving level, two basic types of enemies, and there isn’t much that’s “sticky” to keep you coming back. From reviewing the large list of features to be added in future updates, Pocket Monkey is fully aware of the lack of content in Sparta. While it’s great that updates will be made available in the future, I can’t recommend this title in it’s current state. If you’re a Greek mythology buff, you should keep your eyes on how Sparta develops over the next couple of months.