Spyder

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Spyder Game Poster Image
Retro spy adventure skips violence for puzzles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Physical obstacles force players to be observant and thoughtful. Simple concepts of right and wrong run through the spy-themed story, with the player always on the side of good.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

Agent 8 does his duty as a robot spy, saving the world multiple times at risk to himself without ever complaining.

Ease of Play

Controls and camera can be a bit awkward, especially when Agent 8 begins crawling on ceilings and walls. Objectives are generally clear, but finding your way to them is sometimes tricky. In-game instructions are useful where present, but even more guidance would have been helpful.

Violence & Scariness

Agent 8 can be broken and knocked unconscious by environmental hazards such as electricity and moving machine parts.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spyder is a puzzle adventure game available for download on Apple Arcade with a focus on gadgets and environment traversal. Players take control of a tiny robot spider named Agent 8 who undertakes covert missions to defeat an organization named SIN and save the world. Agent 8 doesn't fight, but instead retrieves information and manipulates machines -- sometimes right under the nose of the bad guys. The obstacles he faces sometimes break him or knock him unconscious, but the game simply picks up again from the last checkpoint. Parents should be aware that a finicky camera and occasionally clumsy touch controls may lead some players to frustration.

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What's it about?

SPYDER is a retro-style spy adventure that swaps out dapper and debonair human agents for a tiny robot spider named Agent 8. Players are given control of this wee machine, guiding him around a variety of fully three-dimensional environments -- including a bunker, a space capsule, an airplane, and more -- that he can crawl around just like a real arachnid, climbing up walls and even running across ceilings. He's small enough to go mostly unnoticed (though he can still be detected by cameras and sensors) as he navigates the world searching for vital information, interacting with physical objects, and repeatedly foiling the evil plans of a global criminal organization. As a robot, he also has skills that go beyond those of a biological spider, including a laser beam, a grappler that can help him cross gaps, and the ability to carry important objects such as keys. The game can be played with touch controls but also offers support for Bluetooth controllers, such as the PlayStation DualShock 4.

Is it any good?

Apple Arcade games don't come much prettier than this one. Spyder's lush 3D environments are loaded with detailed period-specific furniture, technology, and knickknacks that Agent 8 gets up close and personal with as he moves about, investigates, and interacts with the world. The visual presentation is nearly on par with that of many big-budget console adventures. But if you're playing using touch controls, you'll likely find it a little more frustrating than something like Super Mario 3D World. The camera automatically repositions itself to keep up with Agent 8's movement as he climbs over obstacles and up walls, but not always the way you'd expect, which can result in an inability to anticipate nearby dangers. It's annoying, and it verges on aggravating at times.

Outside of the controls and camera, there's a lot to like about Spyder. Exploring the world can be a blast as you learn to think of nearly all surfaces -- below, beside, and above you -- as places to which you can easily climb. And using Agent 8's tiny but surprisingly powerful legs to manipulate levers, keys, and buttons makes for some satisfying interactions. The designers have clearly thought long and hard about what it would be like for a spider to control, say, a scrolling mouse ball, using its legs to spin it and delicately maneuver a pointer into position on a screen. Again, though, the controls can be a bit finicky. Feel free to give Spyder a shot using the basic touch interface, but you'll likely experience a lot more fun and less aggravation if you happen to have a Bluetooth gamepad you can connect for improved control.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Spyder's missions tend to last around half an hour each, but can you play just one adventure at a time before getting up and taking a break?

  • Agent 8 can walk on walls and ceilings, but what animal ability would you most like to have?

Game details

  • Platforms: Apple Arcade
  • Pricing structure: Free (Free to play with a subscription to Apple Arcade ($5/month).)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Sumo Digital
  • Release date: March 20, 2020
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Topics: Robots
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: April 24, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love arcade games

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