Spate is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer that focuses on creating a unique atmosphere by using original, artistic, noir visuals with a steampunk touch, and a heavyhearted story.
You play as a private detective with a drinking problem that greatly affected his life so far and who is currently in the search for a businessman lost in an island where some unexplained catastrophe happened years ago and many people just vanished. Now it's a gloomy land of many oddities, and you never get to know if these anomalies are the result of this catastrophe or his drunk dreaming.
The game has a rather equal share of qualities and bad parts. On the good side, the gloomy and dark atmosphere is really immersing and captivating, and it strongly supports the rather depressing storyline that speaks of addiction, struggles, and great losses. The visuals are not very sophisticated, yet of high artistical quality and quite original. From time to time, Spate looks like a more colorful Limbo. The orchestral background music can send shivers down the spine of anyone and the narrator's voice acting is top notch too.
On the negative side, the gameplay doesn't bring anything new when compared to the many other 2D side-scrolling platformers on the market. Jumping, walking, crouching, avoiding bad stuff – you know the drill. At times, it can even get boring, tedious and liniar. It's also rather short, as most players finished the entire game in less than 2 hours. And while the storyline is surely original in its despondence, it's neither complex nor good enough to cause any actual revelations.
Anyway, since it's a game that you can get really cheap, I'd say Spate deserves a try. It's obvious that a lot of work and passion has been put into its creation and development, and its positive parts are more important than its downsides. It's actually a really beautiful atmospheric game that can provide you with a quite unique experience.