Yesterday’s game review in our Halloween series was pretty intense. Let’s lighten the mood with some fun Halloween characters, like the humble Peacock Spider. Now, I know there is a risk of some readers giving me a big “NOPE” for a game based solely on SPIDERS. But stick with me—Peacock Spiders are adorable, harmless, and the perfect protagonist for the indie game, Webbed. And spiders are pretty prevalent in the Halloween scheme of things (at least their webs are)! We should all have more Peacock Spiders in our Halloween celebrations!!
What Is Webbed?
This is the game to show the world how beautiful nature can be, especially spiders. Stay with me on this: Webbed is a 2D physics adventure game featuring the Australian Peacock Spider. It’s the story of a happy little spider who must save her boyfriend from the giant bowerbird (giant by spider standards). See, the bowerbird loves to collect shiny blue objects for its nest. For the record, this is what a peacock spider looks like in real life compared to the game, Webbed:
Unlike most things in Australia, the Peacock Spider is not going to kill you. Everything else in the bush is likely to kill the Peacock Spider (and you). So this game ends up being a bit of a survival adventure game where you spin webs, swing through trees, make friends with other bugs to avoid death, and be the hero for your boyfriend. A standard day in Australia, really.
Shake Your Spidey Fan
When you’re designing a game featuring spiders, Australia has a wide range to choose from—including the world’s most venomous, the Funnel Web Spider. For the record, Australia also has the second most venomous spider in the world, the Red Back Spider. However, game developer SBug chose neither of those options. Instead, it went with the Peacock Spider. Good choice.
They’ve done their research. Compared with the video above, Webbed has done a great job portraying the little Peacock Spider. The shape, size, and most importantly the color are spot on. The scenery is also accurately portrayed, with a touch of Bluey-vibes to it. (If you are not familiar with the Australian National Treasure AKA Bluey, read our review here.) Having grown up near Queensland bushland, Webbed brought out all the nostalgic feels while keeping the adventurous dynamic environment for the gameplay.
Does Whatever a Spider Can
Just because it looks like a Peacock Spider doesn’t mean it is exactly like a Peacock Spider. In Webbed, your little spider buddy can shoot lasers. For the record, no Australian spiders with the ability to shoot lasers. The lasers in Webbed are for the purpose of breaking webs and moving things around.
Everything else is pretty much straightforward. Little Spider Buddy (that’s now her official name, I have spoken) is able to shoot webs to swing throughout the environment. She is also able to create bridges to traverse dangerous areas and make friends with other insects. One of the first “missions” is to help an army of ants build their Mech Ant Warrior and I swear my day is now complete.
Almost everything about this game is adorable, but the swinging through the trees is simply perfect. It took me a couple of goes to manage the mechanics, but eventually, I got the hang of it (*all puns are intended*). There is a timing element that is essential—you want enough speed to gain momentum but not too much speed or you will lose control. This is not a speed-running game. It’s okay to take your time. Then it’s as smooth as silk. There is the risk of slipping and falling to your death but it is less of a “death” and more of a “let’s try that again” scenario.
Extra note: Webbed recently received the Australian Game Developer Award for Excellence in Gameplay! Great recognition for the level of research and preparation involved in the physics of the game and easy use of the controller.
Webbed Has a Safety Net for Arachnophobes
Aw, c’mon! This spider is so cute! It is harmless. And the game gives you all of this cuteness by the bucketful! Not only is the game loads of fun and adventure but there are also a couple of bonus features on the side. For example, Little Spider Buddy has a SkateBirb friend with their own skate park. It’s not difficult to find near the ant’s underground city and worth the few extra minutes playing as a teeny-tiny spider riding her teeny-tiny skateboard.
There is another secret location for special hats! I kid you not: you can dress up Little Spider Buddy with a cool selection of hats. I mean, how scary can a spider be when they are wearing a magic hat?!?
But if neither of these convinces you, how about I tell you about Arachnophobe Mode. You can change the spider into an adorable pink/purple fluffball. It can still shoot web and move with the same mechanics, but it no longer looks like a spider. *sad spider face*
Whether you’re playing as a spider or a fluffball, there is still plenty of fun to be had. Webbed is a friendly game with enough adventure and excitement to keep you entertained. The comical pixelated graphics are beautiful with enough accuracy and detail to quickly appreciate Australia’s natural environment. Overall, I love this game!
Webbed is available on Steam, Humble Store, and Gog.com. You can find out more about it on the official website here. Evil Genius Mum received a free copy for the purpose of this review; no other compensation was received.
Score: 4 out of 5 shiny blue buttons for the Bowerbird.