PAX East 2022: SpiderHeck could be the perfect spiritual successor to the duck game

TinyBuild’s booth at PAX East 2022 is more than a booth. It’s a full-blown carnival, complete with games that could fit at any county fair (you can whaling or fishing for jewels with a crane game) and Lots of realistic video games. At the back of the publisher’s area, though, was something that stood out from the rest of the bright orange decorations: a giant inflatable spider peeking over the set of four TVs, inviting attendees to visit. audition SpiderHeckwhat could be my favorite multiplayer brawl since Duck game.

SpiderHeck is just as silly as its name suggests. It’s a physics-based brawl, which is a long-winded way of saying you beat other players and things fly all over the place. In the case of SpiderHeck, players controlling spiders (duh) can pick up weapons and fly around the game’s 2D map by shooting at spider webs.

Since it was a four-player brawl, I was thrown right into a game with two other PAX attendees – as well as a PR guy – and had an absolute blast. There are a number of games that help knowing who you’re playing with to really have a good time, and SpiderHeck isn’t one of them.

As a little Spider-Man, you must be able to take down other Spider-Man dudes in your game, and all of that is done with SpiderHeck’s formidable arsenal of weapons. When the game’s players (up to four possible in a single match) appear in a map, weapons will appear above them almost instantly. These can range from laser pistols to shotguns that fire energy waves or flatguns.

Whatever you choose to fight, SpiderHeck’s weapons don’t just affect whatever you’re aiming for. Each weapon has its own way of interacting with the physics of the game. Shooting that laser pistol blasted my little spider backwards, and the bigger the weapon I used, the farther I flew after firing. I even died because I fired my weapon and ended up falling off the platform I was on and going straight into lava or a bottomless pit.

The only way to save yourself whenever that happens is to shoot off a web and drop yourself onto the nearest surface. While the rest of the game feels very awkward to play – it’s not like a physics based brawl where you’re a spider will have smooth controls more like a racing simulator – I can’t figure out putting my network in the right spot. I usually shoot them much lower than expected, resulting in a one-way trip into a lava puddle or some other deadly area.

SpiderHeck's fight is about using a combination of physics and wacky weapons.
SpiderHeck’s fight is about using a combination of physics and wacky weapons.

Some levels of SpiderHeck also take part in its physics, such as the one that is just five suspended platforms that the player can jump over. Naturally, each platform moves when the player turns it on or off, and if one shoots, it will vibrate around. The matches on that map evolved into the four of us playing screaming every time we fired our weapons or were shot at.

Everything SpiderHeck is doing here reminds me of a slightly simpler version of Duck Game, another careless multiplayer fighting game. While that game doesn’t have the same unique physics system as SpiderHeck, they both have the same energy. They are not overly complicated and are immediately enjoyable. When I’m playing the game, I don’t think about what I’m doing with my lightsaber, I just do it. When that means throwing things at other players after being tossed and out of view of the camera, it’s impossible not to have a good time.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait to try out SpiderHeck with my friends. The game doesn’t have a release date yet, but a very similar demo I played at PAX is now available to download on Steam.

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