Review – Spectrewoods

After reading about the hardships some independent developers have when trying to acquire a PlayStation 4 development kit, I wonder how Spectrewoods came to exist. Terrible games are everywhere on the dark, gloomy bottom of the PSN store, but this one is something else. I really don’t know whether or not this is just the laziest attempt at making a game ever since My Name Is Mayo, or just an artistic endeavor that backfired in the most embarrassing of ways.

Spectrewoods Cutscene

This is what Spectrewoods calls a “cutscene”.

According to its PSN store page, Spectrewoods is, supposedly, a walking simulator set right when some schmuck was about to marry another schmuck in front of a minister. It’s hard to actually pay attention to whatever is happening in the game because, first of all, it lasts for five minutes. Maybe three if you know what you’re doing (which you won’t). Second of all, because the game is devoid of dialogue, text, or pretty much any kind of sound effect besides some horrendously compressed gunshot sounds. Finally, there’s the issue with its presentation. My lord, the presentation…

The pictures in this review don’t do Spectrewoods justice. To call this game “ugly” is a disrespectful detriment towards other hideous games I’ve played over the years. The weird thing about it is that Spectrewoods isn’t an asset flip. I legit believe all (half a dozen) assets in this game have been rendered in-house. The problem is that they are some of the most visually abhorrent things I have ever seen in a video game. I am not exaggerating when I say that there are newbie games made on Dreams that look better than Spectrewoods. I also have to point out that there are lots of newbie games made on Dreams that last for longer.

Spectrewoods Visuals

I’m thankful the game’s aspect ratio is so small. Looking at it is already pretty painful as is.

The entirety of the game is comprised of three levels. In the first two, you may have to shoot at a few ghosts and head to a portal by following a trail of flowers. I will give credit where credit is due: the controls work. You can actually shoot at what you are supposed to shoot at. You can even move the camera around with the DualShock 4’s trackpad if you’re a masochist, as the programming is terrible.

The last level is only a few dozen seconds long, being comprised of a cutscene. You will install, play, and platinum Spectrewoods in just a few minutes. Was it worth the mere fifty cents I was asked for at the PSN store? Absolutely not. If you think this review is a bit too short and vague, well, the damn thing is five minutes long. Good luck trying to talk about it for longer.


The only kind of enemy you’ll fight in Spectrewoods.

I would be able to ignore Spectrewoods‘ existence if this game was either a tech demo, a free title, or your run-of-the-mill Steam shovelware, but this is a PlayStation 4 title being sold for actual money. It’s a commercial product, and a truly terrible one at that. If you’re really, really, really desperate for yet another platinum trophy, without caring about the quality of the final product per se, go for it, you’ll waste three minutes of your life grabbing all of its trophies. You can also play it in order to laugh at its ineptitude, but considering its microscopic runtime, your laughs will last longer than the time it takes to beat this game.


Graphics: 0.5

Calling Spectrewoods an ugly game is a disservice to other hideous games out in the wild, as this one went out of its way to look as unpleasant as the human eye can tolerate.

Gameplay: 2.0

It technically works, but then again, you will barely use the very few gameplay elements at your disposal, due to how limited the runtime is, and how limited the amount of actual things to do is as well.

Sound: 0.5

Every now and then, you’ll hear a heavily compressed gun shot. You might also hear a heavily compressed scream if you get hurt. That’s all Spectrewoods has to offer.

Fun Factor: 1.0

Do you want to get a platinum trophy? Go for it, you’ll get one in about three minutes. Do you want to laugh at some really poor visuals and mechanics? You can also do that too, but your laughter will last longer than the actual game’s runtime.

Final Verdict: 1.0

Spectrewoods is available now on PS4.

Reviewed on PS4.