Neopets New Game Challenge: “Spinacles”

Spinacles reminds me of Faerie Bubbles but it is a lot more fun! There is a cluster of colored orbs in the middle of the screen; your object is to clear them by shooting balls at it and trying to connect three or more of the same color. The farther you get into the game, the more colors there are. That also means that the cluster gets bigger and if it reaches the edge of the shooter, the game is over. When you see one of the orbs start to pulse, you know it’s time to try to get rid of surrounding sections to try and get them to drop.
To get the special prizes offered with this New Game Challenge, these are the scores you have to beat:

Beat Abigail (250 points): “Sun Ray Picture Frame”
Beat AAA (3,500 points): “Starry Night in Neopia”
Beat Lulu (350 points): “Floating Skull Bubble”

Please keep in mind, in order to play against Lulu you need to buy a New Game NC Challenge Game Ticket (Series 3). It costs 200 Neocash (the real world equivalent of two dollars). Per the Neopets website, you can submit your score five times a day for the feature game in the New Game Challenge. Sadly, I went to submit a forth score and it said I had played the game the maximum number of times. When I played it again, the score went through.

On my very first try of the game, without even reading the instructions, I was able to get to level 8 and get a score of 1,597. After playing it a few times I figured out how to get a higher score and the importance of swapping the orbs. To get the highest score try to get drops in succession; each time you manage to clear a cluster your points are double, tripled etc. The highest I have gotten is a +11 and even then, I was still short of beating AAA.

Swapping the orbs can mean the difference between clearing a section and having to start over. Likewise, the special orbs that appear from time to time can really help you clear a level. The bomb will eliminate some of the balls but the starburst will clear (most of the time) all of them. I have only had it not clear the screen twice and that was when it appeared at the beginning of a round. You can save up the special orbs by hitting the space button to move them behind the others but since you can only move one I would reserve that for when you are almost done with the level or have gotten yourself into a jam. It is not a timed game so you don’t have to constantly watch a clock or timer.

This is not a hard game to play but the music and moaning when you get the multiplier can be distracting so I turn the volume down all the way. The center spinning section proves to be the toughest to predict, you never know how much it is going to spin when you release an orb. Likewise, the banking shots off the walls can take some getting used to. Even so, it’s an easy 1,000 NP if you can make it through the first few levels. I don’t know how long the pay out is going to be that high but I am going to play it until they rotate it out of the New Game Challenge.

Previous New Game Challenges: Dice of Destiny, Legends of Pinball