NASA’s long-term plans in space might be in doubt, but if the terrifying tower in Spin Up is any indication, that might be for the best. After all, we don’t want our taxpayer dollars funding the development of an infinitely long, rapidly deteriorating space elevator filled with evil computer AI, broken ladders, and vicious, man-eating office supplies.
Spin Up is an ingenious high-score game that uses an extremely clever gameplay mechanic. You have to spin the outside rings of the space elevator so that your astronaut avatar can climb away from the bottom, which is quickly crumbling away. Some rings are locked in place, so you’ll have to spin the rings around them to proceed.
Don’t look down.
There are numerous dangers besides the rapidly-approaching bottom of the elevator. Not every ladder you climb is stable, and on the broken orange ladders, you only have a few seconds to move on before you’ll fall. Plus, as you proceed, you’ll become surrounded by hostile machines, including out of control radiators, cellphones, and laptops.
You can fight off these machines by picking up weapons, which have a single use, though you can eventually unlock characters who can pick up more than one weapon at a time. The constant stream of obstacles and pick-ups keeps Spin Up feeling fluid and challenging, but we were really impressed when we discovered how the game rewards you with experience points.
In addition to climbing for the highest score, you can earn experience points along the way by disabling AI nodes and defeating enemies. You earn far more points if your accuracy rating is high. One kill is worth a hundred points if you get 100% accuracy, but only ten points if you only manage to kill one out of ten possessed machines.
You spin me right round.
This creates a clear distinction between playing through the game for a high score, and playing through the game for experience points. It’s almost like playing through two different gameplay modes at the same time. If you earn enough points, you’ll unlock new characters, like a Viking who can equip two axes. And, you’ll be able to start off higher on the climb with the new characters, which is the equivalent of starting the game on a harder difficulty.
Spin Up is the rare kind of high-score game that rewards multiple playthroughs and different gameplay styles. Whether you’re going for distance or accuracy, Spin Up is incredibly fun to play. We’re not sure what the future holds for mankind’s space program, but for now, we’re happy to play Spin Up and brush up on our outer-space climbing, radiator-bashing survival skills.