"Sprung is being caught by your mother, jerking off to a lingerie catalogue. Sprung is feeling up your best friend's sister as he walks into the room. Sprung is a terrible, terrible game, and one that's every bit as embarrassing for UBI Soft as it is for players. Flawed in conception, doomed in execution, and about as titillating as a repressed Anglican housewife, the DS's only flirting sim proves to be a massive, if not inevitable, exercise in frustration. "
Sprung is being caught by your mother, jerking off to a lingerie catalogue. Sprung is feeling up your best friend's sister as he walks into the room. Sprung is a terrible, terrible game, and one that's every bit as embarrassing for UBI Soft as it is for players. Flawed in conception, doomed in execution, and about as titillating as a repressed Anglican housewife, the DS's only flirting sim proves to be a massive, if not inevitable, exercise in frustration. You can see it trying hard to mimic the hot, manhood straining action usually associated with Japanese hentai titles, you can also hear the church groups cry out with rage as they set about protecting the young. It wants to be raunchy, instead it's PG-13, the genre's obligatory bouncing breasts yielding to unimaginative flirting and a constant, 2 hour prick tease. Sprung is a first date that refuses to put out, and as such it's a complete and utter waste of time...
"This time next year, we could be laughing together" Voted the #1 Japanese pick-up line, 2004
For a game as ill-conceived as a flirting simulator, Sprung starts out with remarkable promise. As either Brett or Becky, players are destined to spend a week at the Snow Bird hotel, an exclusive ski resort tucked away deep in the Rocky mountains. The premise is simple: Brett wants a piece of Becky while all she wants to do is forget a cheating ex. Add an oddball assortment of secondary characters, each with their own personal agenda, toss in a splash of hormonal desire and open up the hot tub for a little Adult fun... sounds good right? Well, this party never gets started though the ingredients are certainly there. Shana the free-spirited hippy, Elliot the millionaire playboy, and a tattooed biker chick among others. We've got a stereotype for every occasion, too bad not a single character could be considered likable, nay, desirable. They're drawn two dimensional and, for lack of a better analogy, stay that way for the duration of the game. But hey, what did you expect?
The right answer should of course be "not bloody much" as anything more than that is going to end in disappointment. Take for example the dating genre's reliance on text as a means of conveying progress (read: action), then look at how Sprung chooses to present players with a bland, at times banal story, often free from wit and the niceties of humor. It's a dull, drawn out adventure played through a series of basic dialogue trees that leave little to no room for branching paths and or mistakes. That a single bad response to any given situation can lead to the dreaded game over screen is infuriating enough, that you're then forced to play through the very same conversation only to choose the right answer is downright annoying. And that's a point further compounded by Sprung's lack of timely check points, often appearing totally at random and at the most inopportune of moments. OK, so maybe it's just me, but when I'm trying to charm the pants off three successive women in a row, I'd really appreciate a little back-up if you know what I mean...
Still, even when a dating simulator (that's flirting sim!) goes horribly wrong, there's usually some spectacular artwork waiting to pick up the slack... that's usually, as in, not where Sprung is concerned. The beautifully detailed portraits commonly associated with the genre's best are nowhere to be found, in their place a series of atypical Western designs serve to keep players further at bay. With an emphasis placed on thick black outlines and realistic facial features, Sprung is every bit as ugly as an 80's cartoon, and a distinct reminder of why styles evolve. But that then raises my next point... so who was Sprung's intended audience? There's little doubt in my mind that teens will find the action too sanitized while 20 somethings are likely to bemoan the lack of actual pink flesh. So that leaves us with the religious/family orientated crowd who may or may not appreciate the game's low level swearing and distinct, Adult themes. Say, anyone interested yet?
If you've listened to anything I've had to say thus far, you'll hopefully be wanting to stay as far away from Sprung as humanly possible. There's not much love to be found here, and as fitting as that may be for a flirting simulator, it's always a disappointment when a company like UBI Soft makes such an erroneous mis-step. Oh sure, their attempt to bring an inherently Adult orientated genre to the masses may have been noble in vision, without the proverbial ommphs and ahhhs however the genre seems flat and lifeless. And though Sprung has at least tried to do something different, in the end one is forced to wonder exactly what it was that it wanted to achieve. Even the implementation of special items used in buttering up prospective partners would seem to be after thought, their intended use often being too vague and mysterious for players to decipher. If you want a love simulator and can handle the graphic sex scenes, by all means, check out what the Japanese have to offer. And if all that's simply too much for you, my advice would be to do without. Sprung certainly isn't what you're looking for...
* As far as Western developed games go, Sprung is certainly unique
* Players have the choice of playing both male and female roles
* The story just isn't that captivating
* Dull, two dimensional characters
* Checkpoints have been seemingly placed at random
* There are no branching paths nor room for mistakes, expect to restart often
* A shortened quest at least ensures Sprung won't stay loaded for too long
* Ugly character designs and garish artwork
* The usage of special, in-game items is too hit or miss
* Really, who was this game intended for?!
Staff review by Michael Scott (May 26, 2005)
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