Spiders are one of those things that most of us can’t live with and can’t live without. They do indeed help with the pest control, but they’re gross and many of us are afraid of them. Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor takes those fears head-on and puts you in control of a little spider, snatching up bugs.
Spider is based in an enormous manor, long since deserted, and long since filled with all manner of insects. Your job as a spider is to run, jump, and spin webs to eat these insects. All of this movement is entirely touch controlled, and pretty close to flawless. Your spider moves very fast and jumps incredible distances, which frightens some of us arachnophobes more, but we quickly found ourselves cheering for the little arachnid. There’s really nothing as uniquely rewarding as tackling a hornet out of the air, or spinning an eight-point web.
Spinning webs is another element just as easy, and it simply involves anchoring the spider, jumping to a nearby anchor to form one border, and then continuing until you’ve made a complete shape. You can zoom out at any point in time to scope out prey and navigate parts of the level. The insects are varied, ranging from the rather stationary marsh fly to the agile ladybugs, able to wiggle out of a web if given time.
The levels themselves are rooms or parts of the house, from the pantry to the garden well. Each is drawn realistically, and their details are impressive. There is usually a secret area in every level, as well as more direct puzzle elements. While each level itself is a puzzle to figure out how to anchor webs to furniture and capture every bug, there are also levels with switches in them for various purposes. Take the light switch, for example, which causes all of the moths in the area to flutter about the light bulb, and into that web you cleverly wove earlier.
Eating some most delicious bugs. Yum yum!
The menus and Facebook Connect are where we have our only qualms. For one, there is only one save slot in the game, restricting your spidery adventures. Oh, and don’t dare start switching between the four modes in the game, because it will reset your progress in the first mode entirely. Also, though the game gives you some cool stats after each level, there is no way to go back to a level after it is completed.
While there is definitely some disappointment and frustration with the game’s technical side, Spider is an incredibly innovative game which we don’t see often enough in the App Store. Its unique character provides a breath of fresh air, though that air may soon be filled with cobwebs as you busily live out Sir Walter Scott’s quote, “O, what a tangled web we weave!”