WarioWare’s style of fast-paced microgames have never really made their way to PC, but developers Beeswax games decided to change that with Spookware, a collection of bizarre horror-themed microgames. Andy K previously checked out Spookware when it was on itch.io, but since then Beeswax has developed their parade of horror vignettes into a fully-fledged game, a whole story and characters to accompany its minigame shenanigans.
The game kicks off with a trio of skeletons watching TV as you play through an introductory string of rapid-fire minigames on its screen. The goal is to successfully clear nine vignettes, which includes the likes of cutting someone’s head off with a rusty saw and using a shovel to dig a corpse out of the ground—all before the stick of dynamite at the bottom of the screen explodes.
After clearing the end level boss—which involved trying to quickly match suits of cards while being stared down by Nosferatu—the boney boys on the couch get chatting. I would be pretty happy if the afterlife consisted of watching a never-ending loop of horror films, but Spookware’s trio of skelebros think differently. Tired of lounging on the couch, the three skeleton brothers, Lefty, Midi, and Righty, decide to leave their basement and try to live their afterlives to the fullest and go on a road trip.
What follows are different episodes in the trio’s adventure, each story sprinkled with minigames and a WarioWare-style sequence of fast-paced games at the end of every episode. Each chapter’s microgames use a different style of input, the first one focusing on the left and right arrow keys.
The boys end up joining a high school band so the games become more rhythm-based as the game progresses, like turning a flight light on in time to scare a ghost away or following a beat as you use a skeleton’s ribcage like a xylophone.
The minigames all have a horror twist, but they’re also pretty tongue-in-cheek. The humour seen in the game’s early itch.io days is all over the story, one minigame having me tapping the right and left arrow keys to play bongos in time with a skeleton playing a smooth saxophone.
After graduating high school having only attended for one day, the skeleton brothers find themselves on a cruise ship for the game’s second chapter and are looping into helping to solve a murder.
The minigames then switch to mouse inputs, and you can pick up pieces of 3D evidence and looking it over, L. A. Noire style. There are even minigames where you have to interrogate and present evidence to characters, which was a total surprise and really switches up the game.
I’m having a great time playing Spookware so far. I’ve only just finished chapter 2 of episode 1 but it’s already apparent that Beewax Games has taken their WarioWare horror minigames and successfully developed it into a larger game with a fun story and characters. The original had 10 games, but the full version has over 200 together with three chapters in total and a fourth one on the way so there are plenty of boney boy shenanigans to get stuck into.