Steam Achievements: Yes
Steam Cards: Yes
Spreadstorm is a recently released indie puzzle game. Challenging puzzles are presented to the player one after another with increasing complexity and difficulty. You are an analog signal and you must manipulate your environment to make it to the end point. At times you have to take your time and think of a solution and later you must react to the changing obstacles. Quick thinking, and logic are the tools you need to succeed.
In Spreadstorm you travel along circuit like paths. You use stored electricity to interact with the environment and move to the next area. Spreadstorm gives no explanation to it's game mechanics. A part of the puzzle is figuring out how the environment changes with your input. Make your way from Point A to Point B and use anything in your disposal to get there. As you get further and further in the game there are more ways to solve one puzzle.
Spreadstorm does something very interesting by not explaining any of its mechanics. When you walk into a new level you have to spend time figuring out how the elements of the puzzle works. And understanding the mechanics of each element isn't always intuitive. Sometimes you have to spend 10 minutes playing around with an element to understand how it affects it's external environment. This can be frustrating at times, but when it comes to puzzles frustration leads to the greatest satisfaction when you finally complete a level.
That being said, this game pisses me off. Since you don't always know how certain elements interact you can mess up and have to start from the beginning of the stage. There is no undo and there are no hints. Spreadstorm reminds me of a math teacher that gives you a problem and doesn't give you any help. You either overcome the difficulty using your logic and problem solving skills, or you get annoyed and quit.
As of now there are 48 levels for the player to get through. As you get deeper into the game it increases difficulty with new mechanics being added every couple of levels.
In addition to the included levels there is also a level editor. You can create your own levels. With this level editor you can create scenarios that will make many send their fist through their monitor. As a puzzle maker the greatest feeling is pissing people off. You get to experience this feeling with your very own creations.
Spreadstorm has a self described minimalist aesthetic. Usually when games say minimalist aesthetic it's code for boring. When it comes to puzzle games simple aesthetics are a positive. You don't want visuals that distract from the problem at hand. While the aesthetic is simple it isn't dis-interesting. All puzzles connect to one another. If you were given the ability to zoom out the game would be a series of connecting floors you make your way through. At times it feels like your climbing through a skyscraper. The dark backgrounds and neon blue lights aren't distracting but they create a relaxing atmosphere.
A strong aspect to this title are the sound effects used to create it. The background music and the sfx sounds are crisp and well suited to the game.
Should I Play This?
Spreadstorm is a challenging and frustrating experience that is suited for those who want a hardcore puzzle solving game. You walk into the world with little to no details and you have to learn the rules and limitations of what you can do as you are playing. Those who enjoy tackling problems and puzzles will no doubt enjoy Spreadstorm. But there will be a point in Spreadstorm where you are stuck on the same level for a good chunk of time. The majority of players will likely grow tired of the constant problems and rage quit. When a game is exclusively puzzles it can become frustrating if you are playing for long periods of time. I personally couldn't play the game for more than an hour at a time. As I got further in the game I'd complete a single level and then switch to something else. For those who enjoy logic puzzles Spreadstorm is a great option.
I myself found Spreadstorm to be exhausting. For those who want their gaming experience to be exhilarating you should probably look elsewhere. This is a game for a niche hardcore puzzle loving audience.