In an ancient dark cave, lit only by the luminous glow of fireflies, a war approaches. The Flies don't stand a chance against the bloodthirsty might of the Spiders. Caught in the middle of this conflict, your allegiance is divided. You must find a way to escape this place if you plan to survive... In Martin Petrini's platform game Spiderling, you play a surprisingly adorable critter with limited web abilities trying to traverse caves. Move with the [arrow] keys, jump with [Z], and use [X] or [shift] to shoot webs. The game's central mechanic involves using your web strings to swing across chasms. This involves holding the up [arrow] along with the direction you want to go, then pressing and holding [X] to latch onto the ceiling. You'll hold on to your webbing as long as you hold the [X] key, so don't let go until the right time. This isn't Spiderman—rather than swinging gracefully like you would on a taut rope or vine, you'll need to let yourself bounce on your web, then let go of [X], using the momentum to propel yourself forward at the perfect time.
Don't give up, swinging is actually quite easy to do after some practice, but the most difficult part is getting your web to stick in the first place with careful timing. Barring the fact that the brief in-game tutorial doesn't explain this important mechanic as well as it could, Spiderling really uses the webbing mechanic to its full potential. Though a few of the puzzles are quite tricky, the game is forgiving and has many checkpoints. The striking visuals and ethereal soundtrack truly make this a work of art. The large variety of creatures you see scuttling or floating around remind you that this is part of a world! The characters are bursting with personality for such a short game, particularly the spiders, who are genuinely terrifying. Certain hidden items can also be found by using the down [arrow] and [Z] simultaneously to dig under small piles of stones. These secrets are completely unnecessary for completing the game, but provide compelling hints about the game's exceedingly well written lore.
Spiderling's final "boss" is rather anti-climactic, but the game's ending is both rewarding and heartwarming. If you are at all interested, give yourself an hour to play this game to the end. As this is apparently episode one, we can hope to see more of this beautiful, bug infested world in the future.