A Few Comments on Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor

March 18th, 2013

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The colon in Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor is significant. The purpose of a colon is to separate “two clauses of which the second expands or illustrates the first”*. In this case, “Spider” is the gameplay, being a spider catching insects in your web and “The Secret of Bryce Manor” is the narrative, the spider’s exploration of the manor, which occurs through the gameplay. The colon then can be considered as a representation of the harmony between the two elements.

As said, you play the role of a spider who creates webs to catch insects. This is done by touching the spider to plant silk onto a surface and swiping to send the spider leaping to another surface, where the thread connects, making a line. When several lines make an enclosed space, a cobweb is formed. Cobwebs catch any insects that pass by. By touching the screen, the spider will walk to the touched location, either along the cobweb or along the edge of the environment. The spider eats any of the insects caught in its web when it touches them. The player progresses to the next part of the manor after they’ve cleared all the insects in a level.

The core game loop involves:

1 – Exploring the area and identifying the movement patterns of the insects (observation, knowledge).

2 – Determining where the paths of the insects intersect (deductive reasoning, knowledge) so that the player can catch as many insects as possible in the one web.

3 – Determining how to make the web (spatial reasoning, knowledge). Doing it well requires the player consider how they can cover the most area with as few strands as possible.

4 – Making the web (finger sensitivity and direction, dexterity).



I don’t have many complaints for this game, it’s a pretty smooth experience, but one thing that really bugs me is the positioning of wasps in some of the levels with no ceiling. In one of the levels set on a clothes line, the spider must jump up to attack a wasp which is off-screen. This, however, is tremendously tricky as the only available surfaces are to the sides of the level and they aren’t very high. Furthermore, when the spider jumps up underneath a wasp, it will float upwards. This can all amount to frustration as you slowly drive the wasp out of your reach and must restart the level.

*According to the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Additional Reading

Tiger Style Interview – Touch Arcade

  • Steve Johnathan

    I’m guessing the narrative is done entirely through the levels and backgrounds. This game looks really interesting. I don’t think I’ll mind too much it being on iOS either. Heck, I’m surprised they even have games like this.

  • Yeah it is. I prefer playing more meatier iOS games and Tiger Style are good at making those kinds of titles. The game suits the platform perfectly.