Lichtspeer is a game about throwing spears, that much is certain. You’re mostly throwing them at things that are running or flying towards you, and ideally you should be throwing them at their heads. It feels like a mobile game dressed up in PC and PlayStation clothing, but whether or not it justifies the asking price will likely rely on your opinions of hipsters, vikings, and other varieties of spear-fodder.
You will find yourself chosen by a Lichtgod who, upon seeing your pathetic human hands, decides you will need some help in your quest to amuse him via the medium of violence. So he gives you the Lichtspeer – a spear made of light with a variety of special, mostly unlockable powers. The first of these powers splits the spear into three, allowing you to, with some skill/luck, kill up to three enemies at once. Others give you a temporary shield to deflect any monsters that get through your rainfall of spears, or cause the weapon to explode upon impact.
There are a selection of powers to choose from, but you can only have three equipped at a time as they are sorted into three categories, each of which is assigned to a button. As a result, you are better off picking one of each, saving up for it, and then sticking with it and upgrading it instead of unlocking un-upgraded powers with your precious cash.
Monsters will approach from the opposing side of the screen at a variety of speeds and you need to dispatch them with your endless supply of lichtspeers before they reach you, or it’s a one hit kill and you restart the round. Enemies vary, with some of the more common ones being quick zombies who need to be prioritised over the slower ones who tend to appear in groups, giants who need to be hit twice (or one headshot) to take down, and flying creatures who have a habit of moving just enough to avoid your attacks. You quickly get used to the monsters movement and the game distills itself into you aiming at your target with a spear quickly.
This gets repetitive after the first few levels, as it is difficult to keep interest in gameplay that feels so bare. The game does try to keep things interesting but its efforts fall short. Occasionally you will get a round in which the enemies are approaching in boats, or up a slope, or from both sides, but the modification it makes to gameplay takes only a few seconds to adapt to and, as a result, it returns to repetition. A good sense of humour is prevalent throughout the game, whether it’s the Lichtgod’s absurd dialogue involving perpendicular dimensions and other such ridiculousness or the introduction of a new enemy. Again, these ultimately fails to distract from the monotonous gameplay.
It is a shame as the rest of the game has had a lot of care put into it. The music by Marcin Sonnenberg is excellent, the ancient Germanic future to the game is a decent angle for some humour, but it ultimately fails to maintain interest due to monotonous gameplay. This is a rare case where the game’s presentation outpaces its gameplay, leaving behind a creative and briefly entertaining, yet inexplicably dull game. Certainly good for passing time, but there are countless similar games on mobile devices for a fraction of the price.
Version tested: PlayStation 4