Spectrum is a punishing title from Indie developer 3D Avenue that successfully leads the player into a false sense of security to begin with. If you’re a fan of aggressively sadistic 2D platformers such as Super Meat Boy, Electronic Super Joy, or Geometry Dash then Spectrum will be a game for you. If you’re not someone who enjoys intense pain and frustration then potentially stay away for the sake of your own health.
The concept of Spectrum is simple. You are a cute black dot making your way through ambiently colored levels that start off really nice and simple but almost immediately become horribly difficult. The levels are well designed and in theory simple enough to master with patience and practice. It is certainly not meant to be a game that you find easy or get the hang of straight away. The controls are all very simple but just need to be utilized and combined effectively to navigate the levels. Something which, personally, I am terrible at, but it’s easy to appreciate the dedication and skill required to progress past the first ‘world’. There are several levels in each world and multiple worlds to make your way through. The levels range from timing based puzzles to simple and skillful navigating and mastery of the games physics. You will see your cute black dot explode over and over but it’s down to you to be overcome by the frustration or to rise above it. Obviously that's much easier said then done.
Graphically the game is very simple, but lovely to look at. The colors used throughout are extremely ambient and aid those of us with less patient dispositions in playing the game for more than 30 seconds at a time. Predominantly pastel blues and soft shades of white and gray, the visual appearance of Spectrum is certainly very easy on the eye.
The soundtrack for Spectrum is excellent. There is suitable variation in the tracks and the mood of the music switches between calm and slightly more energetic at the right moments. Simple but effective electronic beats fit very well with the also simple and effective graphics.
A well designed and easy to navigate menu allows for simple movement between levels although it would seem if you accidentally use the mouse in the menus rather than the arrow keys the menu will struggle to switch between things, however just using the arrow keys fixes this.
In some sense Spectrum is a difficult game to offer a verdict due to the nature of it. This game can’t be recommended to someone who is easily frustrated and angered by difficult levels, but it is certainly a game that stands up well next to others of it’s ilk. Well thought out levels with a mixture of difficulty, allowing for those of us who struggle with this type of platformer to more easily get a grasp on the controls. Spectrum is still fairly accessible despite being such a tricky game to play although definitely steer clear if difficult platformers are not a game type you enjoy.