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Shake Spears! Review

Shake Spears! is an interesting game created by Alawar Entertainment. It’s a really good game though. It’s something interesting and engaging, it requires speed and accuracy. With it requiring both speed and accuracy, this game is actually to an extent, pretty difficult to master. I can tell you right now that you won’t be getting the best possible outcome on your first try (unless you’re some scientific genius). To my surprise, this is actually one of the few games that would keep me engaged in the world. I didn’t feel like I needed to put it down (until I realized I was late for work, oops!), and was definitely not wanting to put it down even after beating most of the worlds (mind you, I still need to go back and get my best possible outcome). To my surprise, the game was not flooded with a constant spur of adds either, that right away made me appreciate the developers.

Basics

Shake Spears! has a different way of doing gameplay. It’s not something like Angry Birds where you point and aim, it’s not something like Amazing Alex where you put all the puzzles together and hope for the best. This game requires strategy and like I said earlier, it also requires both speed and accuracy. The goal of the game is to knock your opponent of his horse. Essentially it’s a jousting tournament, if you think about it. You only have three things to manage in the game. The first being where your shield is, the second being where your lance will hit and third will be managing your various abilities and power ups. I find the game quite difficult in later levels, thus I rely on power ups to get me through the level a lot, which is not what I think they intended for the game. It really does take a lot of strategy and a lot of retries until you will finally be able to finish one of the four worlds this game has to offer.

Now, four worlds really does not seem like a lot to play through, but really it is a lot. Every level gets more difficult and every level you might just find yourself facing a different opponent. It could either be a human being or a mechanic. I’ve found that the mechanics are a whole lot more tough than the regular human in the jousting matches (it’s pretty self explanatory as to why the mechanic would be a tougher opponent). In each world you’ll be given four stages and then a final stage making a total of five levels per world. Each level is very fun and has its own unique strategy due to how stinking well these guys were able to program the AI. You never know where the AI will end up with his lance or his shield, so if you want to outsmart the AI, quick movements and accuracy is very much needed. I haven’t found a way to really outsmart the AI without using quick movements, accuracy and/or power ups. That said, if you’re able to do that, I think we may just need to start up a Shake Spears! jousting tournament for big cash prizes!

Upgrades

There are numerous upgrades that you’ll be able to use in Shake Spears!, some of those upgrades consist of enlarging your shield to cover more of an area, adding a magical influence to your shield to shatter the opponents lance, or even destroy every last bit of armor your opponent has except his shield. A lot of the upgrades are really fun and don’t affect the gameplay all that much (it seems as if they’ve done this to keep the game challenging while adding some fun content to the game). You’ll have four different categories of power ups to choose from starting with the Knight. You then can either choose Mechanic, Warlock or Alchemist. While the Warlock and Alchemist skills are really cool, I have found that the Knight power ups are the most useful when it comes to jousting in the various cities. Warlock and Alchemist skills are mostly useful when it comes to bosses, but aside from that they’re just fun power ups to use every so often.

Power ups aren’t the only upgrades you’ll be able to get though. The other thing that you can upgrade is your lance, armor and health, thus giving you an advantage over your opponents even if you decide to not use upgrades (I still use them, it keeps me sane after retrying over and over again). Each upgrade costs coins (just like the power ups do) and will increment every time you upgrade (i.e. first upgrade costs 400 gold, second upgrade costs double that amount or 800 gold). While upgrades aren’t mandatory if you’re able to use all the power ups correctly, it is still very helpful and will be very needed by the time you get to the end of the game.

Graphics & Music

The graphics are fantastic. While it isn’t specifically for Tegra 3 devices, it still has some pretty dang good graphics and proves you don’t have to have a Tegra processor to make a game look good. I’m really not sure what category to put it under, but the game does not look like a cartoon and neither does it look like it’s realistic or something. The game boasts of a medieval theme as you would expect from a jousting tournament. They do it really well though, the style of the game is just all round good. It has some fantastic high resolution textures, which I was thankful for because on some games that don’t provide that luxury makes it look kind of lame on the tablet but pretty good on the phone.

The colors in Shake Spears! is pretty vibrant too. That said, Shake Spears! is no dark themed game and that’s just not what you should expect from it. I think it was a fantastic choice from the developers to choose that route though. It made for awesome environments to look at, and the map was especially beautiful even though that’s probably the most minimal part of the entire game.

As for the sound, it was really good. I like it when games decide to not make their sound effects clash with the background music. That said, the background music was wonderful. I could leave the game open and listen to it for the day (I am sure that my battery levels on the tablet would run out by then though). I think that the background music is probably one of the best parts of the game. While I imagine it would fit well for many other games of this style, its a perfect choice for jousting tournaments and browsing the armory and magic shop. A job well done, I say. It definitely is one of the more well-done background music, it’s not some clunky dubstep that you might hear in other games that I have reviewed in the past.

That said, downloading this free game just for the music might even be well worth your time. You will not be disappoint. I promise.

Story

It’s your standard Prince loves the Princess and wants to marry the princess type of story. The only thing as (as you would expect) she wants you to win the various jousting tournaments across the country in order to gain her hand in marriage. It’s not a whole lot of story, but the 20 second black and white slideshow to introduce the “story” was pretty cool. Aside from that, you won’t really see much of a building story in the game at all. It sort of just seems there to give you a “goal” I guess. The best way to say it is it is essentially just a stage setter, you won’t find any type of epic plot in the game.

I haven’t gotten to the end of the game just yet, so I don’t know if there will be any type of “continuation” of the twenty second slideshow at the beginning of the game. If there is though, it wouldn’t surprise me and it’s probably just another twenty second wrapping up slideshow. If there isn’t, that would surprise me, though. Starting something up, and then not continuing it at the end, kind of weird you know?

Final Words

Shake Spears! is a fantastic game that should be played by everyone that enjoys a difficult and casual experience. Not to mention playing a free game is always a bonus. The only payments you’ll be experiencing in the game are to buy coins and/or crystals with real money. But even then you’ll be able to earn both currencies freely by completing offers and downloading suggested apps. You know, the standard start a Netflix free trial and get awarded 5000 crystals? Yeah, it’s that type of offers.

I highly recommend looking into this game as it is really fun and worth your time. If you don’t take my word for it, you may want to take the 40,000+ people’s word for it that it is indeed a very good game.