Spyborgs Review

By Dana Vinson - Posted Sep 22, 2009

Kid-friendly beat-em-up game play returns to the Wii in Spyborgs, an arcade style brawler. Technically strong, Spyborgs offers a robust, albeit slightly repetitive, experience for those who yearn to kick the crap out of stuff.

The Pros
  • Fun, arcade-style brawler action
  • Tons and tons of game hours
  • Technically impressive and everything works
The Cons
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • Hidden storyline
  • Weak difficulty settings

Ah, the future. Where men are men with bionic arms and women are women who are also sure-footed, sword-wielding ninjas. This is the world of Spyborgs, a new two-player co-op adventure game for the Wii. 

Spyborgs is a simple brawler that evokes a feeling of good, old style arcade play. Players work together to fight their way through wave after wave of strange robot attackers in a quest to unlock the secrets of the Spyborg story. You attack. You smash. You collect. You beat up robots. Over and over and over again.

Spyborgs Review

I’d like you to meet Stinger, Bouncer, Clandestine, Jugdish…

Spyborgs allows players to inhabit two of three characters: Stinger, the macho bionic man, Bouncer, the big, lumbering smashing robot and Clandestine, the svelte, tight-panted ninja.  Each character has their own special abilities and leveling for each character is available throughout the game by collecting “Crimson Spark” currency, usually by smashing one of the readily available boxes littering the various levels.

The box-smashing system also allows player to collect health and refill their special attack meters, which when full and activated, sends the game into a weird matrix mode where players are prompted to execute specific actions with the Wiimote in order to finish off an opponent in fantastic fashion.

There’s no doubt that Spyborgs is a co-op focused title, but there is a single player mode where helpful AI controls your teammate. Occasionally your computer counterpart will be slow to respond to enemy attacks or get in your way; however, overall, the AI is a good substitute for a friend.

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Is that a hidden object or are you just happy to HDTV me?

Spyborgs is robust, offering up over 35 stages playable with five different difficulty levels and tons of unlockable extras such as audio tapes, cinematics and short films that all feed into the Spyborg story. The difficulty levels do leave something to be desired in that the enemies don’t get any more complex or harder to battle, your health just depletes faster as you up the ante.

Collectors will revel in hunting around the levels for hidden objects, although locating them can be a bit tricky due to the Predator-like cloaking device the game employs.  When your Wii remote rolls over a blurry hidden object on the screen, it lights up blue and you flick your Wiimote to activate it. Good luck, however, trying to spot these obscured objects with your own eyes, and the chances of you stumbling on one during the frantic combat sequences are slim. It means that to collect everything, a lot of backtracking and careful screen scanning are required.

And collect you must if you want any sort of context to how or why you have been tasked with beating up all these robots. There is a story to Spyborgs, but it’s hidden and you have to work to really discover what it is. The hidden plot is a plus for players who get into the game that want even more to do, but it’s also a weakness because if you’re not overly impressed by the basic gameplay, Spyborgs lacks the obvious hook to keep you glued to the screen. 

Spyborgs Review

Spyborgs or Spybore? HIYO!

Developed by the newly formed Bionic Games, a company that boasts expats from franchise favorites like Resistance and Ratchet and Clank, Spyborgs clearly comes to the market with the strength of technical expertise. The graphics push the limits of the Wii hardware and everything from the camera to combat mechanics works well. However, there’s something lackluster about the actual gameplay. 

With so many different levels, you slash, hack and pound your way through a seemingly unending assortment of enemies—over and over and over again. This game could have really benefited from a more in your face approach to storytelling. Especially with the cartoonish aesthetic, they could have really stepped up the personality another notch to make it more entertaining right off the bat.

Gamers who are used to more “hardcore” action might be unimpressed, but if you’re looking to smash your way through a couple of hours, there are far worse choices than Spyborgs.