Spiders. You can't live with 'em, and you can't live without 'em. They do help with pest control, but they're not always pretty to look at, and some of us are afraid of them. Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor takes those fears head-on and puts you in control of a little spider that snatches up bugs in an enormous, deserted manor house.
Your job is to run, jump, and spin webs to eat these insects. All this movement is entirely touch controlled and pretty close to flawless. Using the touch control, you can make your spider move quickly and jump incredible distances. There's really nothing as uniquely rewarding as tackling a hornet out of the air like a miniature linebacker.
Spinning webs is just as easy and simply involves anchoring the spider, jumping to a nearby surface to form one border, and then continuing until you've made a complete shape. You can zoom out at any point in time to scope out your prey and navigate parts of the level. The insects are varied, ranging from the sluggish marsh fly to agile ladybugs, which can wiggle out of a web if given time.
The levels are rooms or parts of the house, from the pantry to the garden well. Each room is realistically drawn and impressively detailed. There's usually a secret area in every level, and there are also usually more-direct puzzle elements that are directly tied to catching every bug. For instance, several rooms have various switches, such as light switches, which cause all moths in the area to flutter about the light bulb. If you've previously woven a web around the light bulb, you'll capture the moths easily.
Spider does have some odd interface issues. The game has only a single save slot, and switching among the four game modes will reset your current progress entirely.
Still, Spider is a very innovative game--the kind we don't see often enough in the App Store. Even if you suffer from arachnophobia, you'll probably be won over by Spider's unique gameplay and charm.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.