What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an adventure game designed for kids that features a pair of spirits -- an angel and a devil -- who spew various liquids from their mouths, including water, slime (green goop), and vomit (orange goop). The game is light-hearted, and the spraying mechanic is clearly intended to tickle the funny bones of youngsters whose sense of humor cues to burp and fart jokes. Violence involves attacking non-human enemies with both spewed liquids and the protagonist's sword. There is no blood or gore, and enemies simply disappear when defeated.
What's it about?
SPRAY is the story of Ray, a young prince who must assume the throne of his father, who fell victim to an enormous meteor hurled at the kingdom of Ecoia by the evil queen Mordack. When Ray dons his dad's crown, a pair of spirits appears above his shoulders, one in the form of an angel, the other a devil. These spirits have the power to spew out various types of materials, ranging from water and ice, to vomit and slime.
Players use these spirits' abilities in clever ways as they seek to rid the kingdom of the antimatter remnants left by the meteor impact. They spray shadowy creatures to make them disappear, reveal invisible bridges by coating them with vomit, employ water to extinguish flames, and use slime to help Ray stick to the ground when he walks.
Is it any good?
The vomiting mechanic, crass as it may be, is undeniably SPRay's primary attraction, and it actually enables some fairly clever play scenarios. For example, the antimatter that covers much of the kingdom is toxic, and the only way players can walk overtop of it is to either clean it away with water or cover it with another of the materials emitted by their angel and devil helpers. Plus, there are lots of simple but engaging puzzles that can only be solved via the spraying ability, such as one in which players must use vomit to blot out a series of eyes engraved on the floor to open a cage door. And some of the enemies we fight -- such as a large, flaming golem -- must be doused with a particular liquid before they can be safely attacked with Ray's sword.
However, clever spraying system aside, the game often feels as though it's been carelessly cobbled together. There are several grammatical errors and typos in the text dialogue, and it's not always clear how certain tasks are supposed to be undertaken. What's more, players are forced to do a little too much backtracking through previously explored areas as they head out on new missions. This adds length, but also dampens the sense of excitement players derive from exploring fresh, new environments. SPRay is a moderately fun game, but it would have benefited from a little more care and content.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the strange appeal of crude humor. Why do people often laugh when others vomit, belch, or pass gas? Are such things funny because we believe people who are observed while engaged in these acts should feel embarrassed? Or is it simply a case of roiling against societal norms, of laughing at something precisely because you know those who are prim and proper wouldn't? Did you laugh at the frequent vomiting presented in this game? Why or why not?