Android Game Review: Spotlight – Shake Spears!

Shake Spears! Alawar Entertainment, Inc.

Free (Ads, in-app purchases)

Hot on the heels of the season finale of Full Metal Jousting comes Shake Spears!, a game that lets you keep the passion alive for one of the most violent, brutal sports in human history.  Alawar Entertainment, makers of other notable titles such as Naught and Farm Frenzy 3, has given medieval jousting a cartoony look and feel, and made it fun for the whole family.

Shake Spears! features two game modes, ‘Path to Glory’ and ‘Act of Valour’.  Path to Glory is the main quest, where you joust through 20 locations (unlockable with the crystal currency provided) on the way to conquering the heart of the woman of your dreams.  Act of Valour consists of endless jousting until you are finally defeated.  While you’re doing essentially the same thing in both modes, they each have different merits and achievements to strive for.

Gameplay is wonderfully simple.  Move a finger along the left side of the screen to adjust your shield to block the incoming pain, across the right to aim your lance at your opponents’ least protected bits.  You and your CPU opponent will barrel towards each other, and just before the point of impact the game will slow slightly, allowing for sneaky reflex moves at the last second.  It’s quite satisfying to bonk a knight in the head with your lance rather than stab them sometimes!  Power-ups that do funky things are purchasable in both game modes, either for gold or crystals – gold being the easily renewable resource in the game, while crystals are slower (unless you buy them for money, of course) because you get 1 free every 24 hours.

These screenshots look worse than the game really does. Not sure why they came out blurred like this... the knights are moving fairly fast, I guess.

While in Path to Glory your life points are replenished after each joust, not so in Act of Valour.  It’s necessary to protect yourself well, use your potions wisely, and attack with precision to make it into the later rounds.  This ‘survival mode’ boasts some different backgrounds, and a few different power-ups.  Both game types have different prices for the power-ups, and currency/items do not carry over between the two games.  The survival mode part of the game is a fun diversion for when you’re waiting for more crystals to unlock the main quest locales.

This game has a really good balance when it comes to the free/in-app purchases crux.  They’re right there on the edge, somewhat tempting when things start getting difficult, not utterly necessary to play the game.  I haven’t gotten all THAT far in the game, but a lot of people in the Play Store comments are saying that the CPU gets very fiendish and cheap in later levels, owning your face with multiple copies of powerful boost effects.

The graphics, while cartoon-like, are very sharp and attractive, and the game is very fluid; I’ve experienced no slowdowns or dramatic bugs in the animation.  Controls are tight and easy to learn, hard to master – sound, I wasn’t impressed, but they seemed to be done well.  Always on mute for me, anyways!

The TL;DR:

  • Worth playing.  Enjoying it.
  • ARRRRGH OPEN FEINT!!!!!!!
  • Doesn’t hassle you badly with ads or purchases.
  • Computer does ‘difficult’ as ‘cheesy’.
  • No blood or gore, cartoony sound effects and only mild violence, kind of the complete opposite of an actual joust.

Extra Screens

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2 thoughts on “Android Game Review: Spotlight – Shake Spears!

    • I wish. I run on a Galaxy Nexus, and there’s no real way to take video of the screen – and I don’t really have the equipment to set up a proper video. I’m not about to take video for an Android review on my work iPhone 4. That already proved awful by a State of the Galaxy Nexus post a while back. :) Maybe once I get a tablet things will change… but I prefer writing to doing a video. I find its an easier format for my target audience (can just read it during breaks at their jobs), and also, I don’t want to be on camera.

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