Spirit HD is cast from the same mould as old school arcade classics Asteroids and Space Invaders. Your task is simple, survive wave after wave of attack from hostile forces by strafing out of their way and sucking them into oblivion. There’s no epic plotline and scant reward for your achievements bar top placing on your personal scoreboard but why complicate a simple and intuitive treat?
If Spirit HD wasn’t so easy to grasp, its lack of instructions would be extremely confusing. With no tutorial to peruse after downloading the app, we pitched ourselves straight into Wave 1-1 of Classic mode with our white ‘spirit’ pitched against several other luminous but less friendly spirits. “Guess we’re supposed bump into the pests and gobble them up?” we thought and were soon proved wrong with a swift loss of life.
Eventually, we grasped our ability to form force fields which suck up evil spirits and, from that point onwards, everything was dandy. Force fields are created by drawing circles on the touchscreen with your spirit, it takes a little getting used to but overall, it works extremely well in a responsive and accurate manner. Best of all, strafing in between opponents and luring them into your glowing snares is a hugely rewarding process. Especially when you rack up a huge combo for clearing the field in one swift move.
Spirit HD has three modes of gaming: Classic, Extreme and Pulse. Extreme is to all intents and purposes the same as Classic bar a ratcheted up difficulty level but it adds more of a challenge to what is a fairly samey game. Pulse is the by far best mode, negating the need to draw circles, which can become a bit of a faff in fast-paced levels, instead you bump into force field circles which expand depending on what speed you hit them. Although you’re playing the same app, this change in force field creation requires a whole new approach to vanquish your foes and massively extends its longevity as a result.
Since Spirit HD is such a straightforward game any huge changes would run the risk of over-complicating its elementary pleasures. One improvement which would be welcomed however, is the ability to share your high scores online and assert your bragging rights over friends. Some sort of multiplayer challenge mode allowing for simultaneous competition would also go down a storm. Nevertheless, these small gripes do nothing to spoil an effortlessly engaging Android app.
The Bottom Line
A blast from the arcade past. Spirit HD sticks to a simple formula and succeeds magically in doing so.
Version reviewed 1.5.3
Requires Android 2.1 or higher