Spy vs. Spy (universal) from Robots and Pencils Inc. is a fun remake of the classic 8-bit strategy game. Graphically enhanced with a few tweaks from the 1984 Atari game, players are thrown into government embassies with the task of retrieving cash, documents, a briefcase, and a key to unlock the embassy door. Of course, the black Spy is trying to do the same thing, making the task even harder.
Not much has changed since the Atari version, which is a welcome reminder of childhood for anyone old enough to remember firing up the famous comic characters for the first time. Players need to set up devices in attempts to stop the black Spy from advancing.
Sure, it’s easy enough to face the Spy head on and try to kill him to reset his progress, but every time the black Spy enters the same room as the player-controlled white Spy, everything the White spy is holding is reset to its original hiding space.
There’s even a great nostalgic feature for the fans of the Atari version of Spy vs. Spy with the retro mode: simply hit a switch and suddenly, the music and graphics are back to the high-contrast, chip tuned original.
Luckily, Spy vs. Spy has a very thorough tutorial is there to help any struggling players. Without the briefcase, only one item can be held at a time – but items can be hidden again in a place other than its original spot, throwing off the black Spy’s progress. Should the game seem a little too easy, there’s the option to customize game play with five different levels of difficulty in all the levels.
A big plus for Spy vs. Spy is the inclusion of multiplayer, both local via Bluetooth and online over a wireless connection. Playing against another human player adds a completely different feel to the game, forcing players to work harder and use the devices more often.
There are a few sloppy spelling mistakes throughout, which is disappointing, considering how much polish on the game itself. The touch controls can also feel a bit clunky at times, but there are a few options in the settings screen to find something suitable for every player.
Overall, Spy vs. Spy (universal) is a challenging strategy game that’ll surely keep players busy with tons of replay value. It brings the classic gameplay – and even the graphics! – of the original, but updates it cleanly to open the game to a whole new generation of mischievous thinkers.