The world of science is a crazy place, many people fear it, yet it has advanced mankind to the beings we are today. Some of our greatest achievements have come to life thanks to the brightest people that exist on this little blue planet. Can you imagine that moment when Earth’s greatest mind decides that he is going to use his phenomenal discovery to give life to a piece of spaghetti. Yes, you read that correctly a piece of spaghetti that can; move, think, and solve problems all by itself! This is the concept of Freddy Spaghetti, which has been developed by the aptly named Playful Pasta and published by Ratalaika Games.
Freddy Spaghetti is a 3D action-adventure title that asks you to control the newly intelligent piece of pasta who has been created by Dr. P Starr. He has named his creation, Freddy. As Freddy you must; leap, stretch, fall, dodge and avoid obstacles on your way to the end goal. This physics based patience testing title has you exploring 50 short levels across 5 different scenarios. As the game progresses, the spaghetti becomes more intelligent, and the objectives become progressively more challenging. Each different stage that you’ll face is punctuated by some of the funniest narration that I have heard in a long time. It reminded me of the title Thomas Was Alone by Mike Bithell. The voice over work is; dry, witty, and progresses the story at a comfortable pace.
The concept of the game is as simple as it sounds, making this an accessible puzzle adventure for players of all skill sets. For veteran gamers of this genre, you will find the only challenge that you’ll face is keeping your temper under control, as some levels are more luck than judgment. Freddy is moved by interacting with either end of his spaghetti body. His elastic, al dente structure makes him very flexible, and he can fling himself to great heights (which is lucky, as he has to overcome many gaps on his journey). During your new existence as a piece of pasta you may; smash up kitchenware, play football, leap from neon shapes, jump spikes, avoid cars, and more. I could never dream that life as a piece of spaghetti would be so exciting, so this was an eye-opener for me.
The story that is told alongside the basic action keeps this title from becoming boring and keeps you focussed on wanting to complete all 50 levels. Like in Thomas Was Alone, you soon discover that giving intelligent life to an inanimate object is a regrettable decision, and how this plays out across the length of the gameplay is both heartwarming and amusing in equal measures. The game mechanics follow a very similar pattern, which allows players to accuse the developers of creating a relatively repetitive title, yet, I think that the minor tweaks to the difficulty and landscapes, combined with the storytelling give this enough variety to keep you interested for the short time needed to run through every stage.
As this is an indie title set in a 3D world, I think that you have to come into it with a relatively low expectation on how you hope it would look. Fortunately, Playful Pasta have created a fun and colourful environment for you to explore. Most of the action takes place from a bird’s-eye perspective, with everything playing out in front of you using a fixed camera angle. Several levels buck this trend using side-scrolling gameplay, which helps to mix things up, and alleviates the aforementioned problem with repetitive gameplay. The imagery uses a cartoon art style and relies heavily on vivid colours and tones. It was pleasant that each of the 5 different scenarios had a unique look, and I could not find any glitches or glaringly obvious problems during my short playing time.
The main body of the game uses a mischievous and playful audio that plays gently in the background as you progress. It helps to support the story, and changes suitably to match the nature of each different section of the tale. The sound effects are as expected, and neither disappoint nor wow you, they exist to give depth to the actions you complete. The pièce de résistance for this whole game, and the resounding success, is the spoken narrative. Frankly, it’s brilliant, and I would happily play all 50 levels to hear his dulcet tones again. The writing is so good that I now refuse to eat spaghetti as I worry that I will devour one of Freddy’s family (This isn’t entirely true as pasta is still on the menu in my household, but it’s not every day that you feel empathy for this Italian food staple).
When I’ve played any physics based game that revolve around flimsy protagonists (I’m looking at you Human: Fall Flat) I always worry that the controls are going to be infuriating to use. It always feels that the developers are making it too hard to control the lead character to enhance that floppy status. Freddy Spaghetti can be guilty of this, mainly when he is required to leap in the air. It was a bit hit and miss which way he would go, and how high he would jump. Though it was annoying, it never turned me off wanting to play, and on the whole it was an easy title to pick up and play.
I’ve mentioned the word “short” several times during this review, and that’s because a run through will take you between 1 to 2 hours, and that will also allow you the 100% completion status. So that makes the replay value 0 then? No, it doesn’t! Each stage is timed, and you are free to play each one as many times as you wish. It’s the perfect title to practice your reflexes and speedruns on. If you combine this with the brilliance of the narration, then I’m certain that you will want to come back for more. It’s a cheap title at around £4, so even if you were to play it once, it still represents great value for money.
Though Freddy Spaghetti won’t push your abilities, and the world that you explore isn’t the most up to date looking environment, it all works well, and is a fun game to play. What I’ve learned during my time with this is that you never give food items the ability to think for themselves, it just ends up with issues. Do I recommend that you play this? I do. Your patience will be tested, as will your eye hand coordination. But what you will love is the storytelling, and the warmth of the narrator. Empower your spaghetti to evolve, after all, what is the worst that could happen?