Hi all, and welcome to the latest installment in this blog’s Fangame Review series. Today, we’ll be looking at another project that I played recently, and I will share my thoughts on it. Without any further ado, let’s begin!
Project S.P.E.C.T.R.U.M (or, Pokémon Spectrum) is a project made by Kojo which has been in the works since February 2014. It currently has a playable demo that goes up to the 2nd gym, with about 6-8 hours of gameplay. As you might be able to guess based on the logo, the game takes place in the Kroma region which is based on Australia, and is home to more than 100 all-new Pokémon species.
In this game, you can choose between the starters Taplat, Pyroo and Kokoala, based on a platypus, kangaroo, and koala, naturally. They each gain a secondary typing when they evolve. I quite liked my Pyroo, but it was only one of a great diversity of new Pokémon species that inhabit the region. Fakemon enthusiasts should pay attention to this game, because the monster designs are exceptionally creative. Some of my favorites were…
Olvee – a Normal-type Chameleon Pokémon. The -vee suffix on its name is no coincidence, because like Eevee, it has many different possible evolutions, all with the -eon suffix, like Bouldeon, Phanteon, and Champeon. Between it and Eevee, there is an evolution for every type.
Aychem – an Electric/Normal type artificial Pokémon related to Rotom. Its secondary type changes when it learns a new HM technique. Although the Cut forme is the only one currently available, there will be more formes for it in the future.
Frague – A fairy/poison type evolution of Aromatisse. In addition to fakemon, Spectrum contains many new evos and preevos of existing Pokemon, including Ledian, Ariados, Solrock, Lunatone, Kangaskahn, and more. It evolves with the Rainbow Stone, a new item in the game.
Not only are there more than 100 new Pokemon, but they really come alive with fully-animated sprites, evocative of Pokemon Black and White. In fact, the entire game’s style seems reminiscent of Black and White, albeit with its own unique flair. And of course, spriting so many new Pokemon and animating them, front and back, is no easy task – so many kudos to Kojo for pulling it off. I can say with certainty that the end result is jaw-dropping. Every time I encountered a new kind Pokémon, my reaction was: What is it??? and then, I’ve gotta catch it!
The game also brings back the ability to walk alongside your Pokémon in the overworld, a feature I’m sure many players have been missing since HeartGold and SoulSilver. There are even hotkeys to quickly switch around which Pokemon is in front, which makes training them much easier. Although, being able to receive the Exp.Share in the demo would certainly have helped, and is the one thing that I was missing in my journey.
The Kroma region where the game takes place is incredibly diverse, and in the short demo, it already covers a wide range of terrains, including forests, farms, caves, cities, beaches, cliffs, and more. No two areas in the game look alike, and the attention to detail in the environments really immerses you in its world. It’s the kind of game that rewards you for exploring and talking to everyone, and there are many secrets to discover if you’re curious and persistent.
In terms of challenge, I found the game not too difficult – although some might disagree. There are certainly some NPCs that might need rebalancing (like that Ninja…), but since this game is still in beta it’s understandable. One thing that might trip up players is the first gym, which uses a fixed-damage move that will absolutely destroy an unprepared team. However, there is an easy solution, and that’s to evolve your starter beforehand and raise multiple different kinds of Pokémon. After doing that, the first gym was not all that troubling. It can be rewarding to raise different kinds of Pokemon anyway, simply for the joy of discovering what they might evolve into.
At this stage in its development, the game’s story is only barely beginning to emerge, but it seems different and already I’m intrigued. Who are these mysterious masked people, and what do they want with Shiny Pokémon? It feels like a totally believable story while at the same time seeming completely new. I look forward to finding out more!
I can say without a doubt that this is already a well-made game, even at its early stages of development. Not only that, but recent updates have brought radical improvements to its already solid foundation. Kojo is a talented creator with so many new ideas. I highly recommend giving Project S.P.E.C.T.R.U.M a try if you are a fan of Fakemon, or if you are simply looking for a game that will make you rediscover the joy of having an adventure in an unknown region, with surprises awaiting you wherever you go.
That’s all for today! Up next on this blog, I plan on doing some pixel art tutorials, which hopefully will be quite helpful. Also, if you are the creator of a fangame with a public playable release, and you’d like for me to take a look at it and perhaps review it, don’t hesitate to contact me – either here, on Twitter, or on RC. I await your messages!
Until Next Time,