Depicting fantasy and medieval fighting is nothing new in the world of video games. Players have slain dragons, fought massive armies, and defeated maniacal dictators infused with an ancient evil for decades now. But, what if it were possible to vanquish the evil of the land not through barbarianism or brute force, but through the honor and integrity of sports?
Welcome to SpiritSphere DX, an action fantasy sports title that has exclusively arrived for the Nintendo Switch. The developer, Eendhoorn Games, got together with NYC-based developer Fabraz, to help bring SpiritSphere DX to the Nintendo Switch. Coming off of the wild success of Slime-San, SpiritSphere DX is poised to deliver something truly distinct and unique in the Nintendo eShop. Having played the game myself as far back as PAX EAST 2018, it certainly executes its ambitions and is a game that every switch owner should own.
In a mystical land, there is the spirit sphere. Within each sphere is a special deity that can grant anyone’s wish. A host of champions, ranging from elves to sorcerers to even furry foxes from the future, all converge for their chance at this great power. To win this power, the player must participate in intense 1v1 competitive matches, where players will be constantly smashing the sphere into the opponent’s goal. Whoever scores 3 points wins the sphere for the match, but whoever conquers all opponents secure the ultimate wish-granting magic for themselves.
SpiritSphere DX is a fascinating mixture of pong and tennis. When the sphere appears and the countdown runs down, players have to smash the sphere into the other players’ goal. Where that goal is located and what it looks like is dependent entirely on the level. As the game takes place in a rich fantasy setting, players will fight in forests, around lakes, within volcanoes, open fields, and churches.
Each stage will provide obstacles that can either be an advantage or disadvantage for players. Some stages contain power-ups that can tip the scale in the heat of the match, while other stages contain hidden switches for unlocking another way to score.
Each character has their own unique abilities, and these abilities affect their offense as well as their defense. Lin the elven warrior can use her sword in a whirlwind motion, which is great for smashing the sphere forward, while the Orzo, the sorcerer can only use his powers on the sides. For Lin, she is a well-rounded fighter, but for Orzo, he lacks offense but excels at defense. There is a significant number of fighters to unlock, as well as levels to find. Players will have to play through the single-player campaign to find them all.
The gameplay in the SpiritSphere isn’t only unique but engaging. Matches can get competitive, most especially with one or several friends. With this simplified gameplay, the controls are incredibly polished and tight, which is essential for fast-responsive gameplay. Additionally, the game’s control and input are built for players of all skill levels. SpiritSphere never felt tiring to play or a chore to control.
The gameplay and structure greatly encouraged the player to have fun and compete with their opponent, which is not an easy accomplishment for a game of this type. it is always satisfying to have been able to use your quick wits and powers to score that hard-fought goal.
SpiritSphere DX takes advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s hardware capabilities as well, and in doing so, greatly encourages multiplayer gameplay. One of the most notable modes is the “Head2Head” mode. By positioning the Nintendo Switch vertically, with a joy-con controller on each end, two players can engage in old-fashioned head-to-head gameplay, similar to a “cocktail table” arcade cabinet.
This gameplay orientation was absolutely exciting and lead to a different and more competitive experience than playing 2-player on the TV. Playing SpiritSphere DX in this way leads to a short but absolutely amazing gameplay experience that I am sure many players will enjoy. SpiritSphere DX also features traditional 1v1 game modes, and one 2v1 game mode, where 2 players are regular fighters and 1 player is the boss. There is an abundance of gameplay for everyone in SpiritSphere DX.
While the overall game is great for all players, there is a solid foundation to be built upon for the game. I can definitely imagine more re-imagined versions of sports, such as soccer and football, taking place during this fantasy setting. I could also see more characters being implemented in this brand-new world.
The only downside with SpiritSphere DX is outside its campaign and local multiplayer modes, there is not much else, leaving SpiritSphere great for short bursts, but not for long-term gameplay. The game, however, is great with others, especially on the go.
Despite being short and compact, SpiritSphere DX is a game that focuses on having genuine fun, and in the case of this game, it is a lot of fun to be had. It’s fascinating, blended gameplay is something truly distinct, and its tight controls with multiple game modes will lead to plenty of incredibly competitive matches.
Its fantasy world is something I would like to see more of, should SpiritSphere become a franchise. Whether you just bought a Nintendo Switch or you are an experienced gamer, SpiritSPhere DX is a game every switch owner should have. You never know when will be the perfect time to go against your best friend for supreme power.
SpiritSphere DX was reviewed from a generous donation of a review copy from Fabraz