Title: Aban Hawkins & the 1001 Spikes
Developer: 8bits Fanatics
Release Date: June 3, 2014
1001 Spikes sets you off as adventurer Aban Hawkins whom has received a letter from his lost father challenging him to explore the Ukampa Ruins and find the treasure within. The story isn’t incredibly relevant and it certainly doesn’t add anything to the game as a whole, in fact the story is only brought up twice throughout the first campaign.
1001 Spikes is hard. It brings to mind classic NES games such as Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, but even it had checkpoints. 1001 Spikes wants to make you mad and it does that outstandingly well; but it also helps you grow as a player just by playing. It isn’t all bad however, as the game gives you the option to skip levels. Be warned; you have to beat every level of the game to gain access to the final level. Trust me, I tried.
One hit, you’re dead. The game features absolutely no health system so if anything hits you, you die. This isn’t bad or anything; it just adds to the challenge, however I do think that a health system would have made the game feel a bit more flexible.
The game sets you off the bat with 1001 lives, and although that may sound like a lot, it isn’t. You may only die a few times on one level and die a hundred times on the next. The game is heavily based on memorization and learning the patterns of spikes and boulders, so if you’re impatient that’s only going to make the game harder.
The controls are simple to learn and easy to use. The Circle Pad moves your character, the A/Y buttons allow you to throw your dagger, and the B/X buttons let you jump. The controls are tight and precise and trust me, that’s extremely important when the slightest turn could cause you to die.
When you first hear some of the music in the game, you’ll enjoy it. The probably is that the game often has the same song presented in multiple levels and so it’ll become incredibly repetitive; I actually found myself turning the volume down for extended periods of playtime.
1001 Spikes isn’t trying to impress you with fancy graphics, nor is it trying to look modern. 8bits Fanatics made 1001 Spikes clearly focused on making it look like an NES game, and they succeeded at that greatly.
The color pallet used could be improved greatly. Most colors in the game are either dark blue or black, and although this fits the run down temple setting, it does give the game a more bitter feel.
The game also boasts 3D, an exclusive feature of the Nintendo 3DS version, and although it’s a nice addition I never once used it during my initial playthrough. As mentioned before, the game relies on precise control and tight jumps, and having 3D enabled disorients you and causes you to miss a jump.
The game has an impressive amount of things to do once beating the first campaign, such as an entirely second campaign based in Antarctica, totalling 61 levels throughout two campaigns. The game also features 16 unlockable characters that can be unlocked by collecting the hidden skull in every level of the game.
1001 Spikes offers a challenge that may seem unfair at first glance, but when you beat a level it’s incredibly rewarding. The story is extremely dismissal and the soundtrack isn’t fantastic, but the game gives you a good amount of replay value and collectibles that’ll make you want to come back and get just one more golden skull.
Final Score: 7.5/10