Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Sequels fail more often than they succeed. For every Empire Strikes Back or Godfather II, there’s a hundred Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. There’s no bulletproof formula, short of recognizing precisely what it was that made the original so appealing in the first place.
Spike: A Love Story Too is the follow-up to Spike: A Love Story. In the original, you played a spiky trap (picture the Mario games’ Thwomp, with a larger emotional range and sharper teeth) with a job to do. Your task is to splatter increasingly skeptical and evasive business-casual guys as they try to run under your blood-slick smashing grounds. If too many of them get through, you’re fired. The sequel incorporates a few new wrinkles—a more gradual difficulty curve, points for “rebounding,” and additional levels and enemies. Sometimes you have to discriminate between just whose lower intestines get sprayed all over the walls and who avoids getting disemboweled. (One level requires you to nearly flatten game reviewers, scaring them into a good review.) The improvements are subtle, but that’s just because the game was so highly evolved to begin with. Do your job well, and you get promoted. Do it poorly, and you’ll be canned. Hey, it’s tough all over.