Line drawing black hole madness - Spirit reviewed

Marco Mazzoni has recently released an game that is getting good comments from a lot of retro arcade gamers hooked to the iPhone. Once again, an indie developer has put together simple game mechanics and touch controls that could only work on an iPhone all together under a very simple promise: Have fun! 
Spirit [iTunes Link] by Marco Mazzoli is a line-drawing survival game where you control a spirit avoiding to be touched by the endless enemy waves. Your special ability to create black holes will be useful to get rid of those annoying enemies trying to destroy you.

That's basically the premise of the game. Thanks to the touch screen controls, you can guide the spirit drawing with your finger. You don't even need to tap on the character, simply draw the path you want the spirit to follow. It took me a couple of rounds to get used to not tapping directly on the character, and found out it was better to do it from the distance as I show on the video below. 

The simplicity of the game has a big arcade feeling to it, which is supported by the retro neon graphics. We have seen bright neon colours over dark backgrounds (TRON anyone?) in games like Space Invaders Infinity or geoDefense that have done really well. There is no surprise that Spirit uses the theme because it works and just feel right to play. The animations go really well and you get some zoom effects and very cool 8-bit explosions. 

The enemies are simple shapes that I'm not clear about what they mean, but the spirit looks like a ghost. To be honest, I don't care much because the game is hectic and gives you no time to wonder about it. 
The incoming waves of enemies will move around the screen or will directly try to kill you, increasing difficulty as the game advances. To progress in the game, you will need to get rid of the enemies creating a black hole that will suck them. Depending on your strategy you can create the holes around the enemies or on their way. Your spirit is not affected by them, so you can move over the black holes while the enemies get trapped by it. 

Spirit will include OpenFeint in its 1.1 update to allows sharing scores, which you can't do right now. It's easy to pick up and engaging enough to keep you coming. The lack of different modes will make you go through the easy parts over and over; I would like a hardcore survival mode as well to jump into the though levels. The game is currently on sale, and once again a great example of what can be done in the lowest price category in the AppStore with great value. Spirit is the ultimate retro survival game that ticks all the boxes.