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Trophy Guide to Spinacles


by malphd

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The game of Spinacles is rather simple…shoot spheres from a holder at the top of the screen onto a collection of spheres in the middle of the screen. Match 3 or more spheres of the same color to score points and to make the spheres, and any other spheres they hold, disappear. As you make consecutive matches the point values increase. In order to earn a high score, and hopefully one high enough for a trophy, there are a few things to know.

Basics of the Game

When you start the game and any new level, there is a group of colored spheres in the middle of the screen surrounding a pivot. The pivot allows the group of spheres to rotate when hit. At the top of the screen is a holder that shows two spheres; the bottom one is the next to be shot. If you move your mouse around the board, an arrow appears below the holder indicating the direction of your shot. Press the left mouse button to shoot the sphere. Your score and current level are shown at the top, just left of the holder. Just to the right of the holder are several grey dots. This is your meter count. Each time you shoot a sphere and do not match 3 or more, the meter count is reduced by one. When the meter count reaches zero, colored spheres zoom in from all sides, attach to the group of spheres in the middle, and the meter count is reset. The level ends when all of the spheres in the middle group disappear. The game ends if the mass of spheres in the center grows too big and hits one of the edges of the game screen.

There are five different types of spheres in the game:

• COLORED spheres are spheres that will accumulate on the group in the center of the screen (central pivot).

• FREE SHOT spheres have a "plus" sign on them and indicate their color by a thin ring around the perimeter. Free shot spheres do not reduce the meter count.

• BOMB spheres take out a group of spheres wherever they land. Bomb spheres also reset the score count to 1 point per sphere.

• RAINBOW spheres will match the color if it touches two spheres of the same color, making 3 spheres and scoring points. Interestingly, if it simultaneously touches two of one color and two of a different color it will cause both colors to score points and to disappear.

• PERIMETER sphere. This sphere has a spiral design in the center and it can be good or bad depending on where you are in the game. The effect of this sphere is to score points and to remove any sphere that is on the perimeter, that is, any sphere that is not completely surrounded by other spheres or the center pivot. This is often bad and must be managed carefully, as discussed below.

Points are scored by shooting a sphere that creates a group of 3 or more spheres of a single color. The first group you create will score 1 point per sphere. If you create another group with the next shot, this group will score 2 points per sphere; a third consecutive group will score 3 points, etc. The pattern continues until you fail to make a match or until all the spheres surrounding the pivot disappear.

Trophy Strategy

To achieve a trophy level score, you need to maximize your points by playing each level as long as possible. To do this, you will need to manage the spheres so that you do not complete a level too quickly, while also making sure the game does not end if the mass of spheres grows too big and hits the edge of the screen. You will need to repeatedly grow the mass of spheres to a reasonable size and then reduce the mass by making matches to collect points, all the while keeping the mass big enough to avoid completing the level but small enough to keep the game from ending.

Games like this are known as ‘farming’ games because you attempt to stay in a particular level in the game for as long as possible and ‘farm’ as many points as you can. Doing this requires a time commitment and patience, patience, and more patience! Although patience is key, there are several important game play tips that you should master to manage the spheres properly and to keep each level going as long as possible while also maximizing your point score.

Game Play Tips

Discard unwanted spheres! There are two methods for doing this. Method 1 is to position your cursor to the far right or left of the screen at the same horizontal level as the center pivot and take the shot. If positioned correctly, the sphere will bounce in a diamond pattern and will continue to bounce around the game screen, disappearing on the twelfth bounce. Method 2 is to position your cursor to the far right of the screen so that the direction arrow is exactly horizontal and take the shot. If positioned correctly, the sphere will bounce left to right across the top of the screen and eventually disappear. Both of these methods are an excellent way to get rid of bombs and the perimeter sphere when they would cause trouble in your game. It should be noted that discarding a sphere in this way reduces the meter count and resets the scoring count to 1 point.

Use the SPACEBAR! Hitting the spacebar switches the order of the spheres in the holder. This can be very helpful if you need to remove spheres quickly or would like to temporarily avoid a bomb or perimeter sphere.

Use your cursor! Positon the mouse cursor where you would like the sphere in the holder to land; one of the nice features of this game is that this gives you quite a bit of accuracy with your shots! Knowing exactly where the sphere will land can be especially helpful when you want to avoid making a match of three or when you would like the sphere to land at an outer edge or in a small gap.

Protect against the Perimeter sphere! Keep the center mass compact with as few spaces between spheres as possible. Specifically, make sure you have one or two spheres attached to the center pivot that are completely surrounded by other spheres. Remember, any sphere that is not completely surrounded by other spheres will disappear when the perimeter sphere contacts the mass. You want to avoid having all the spheres disappear and ending the level. If you get an undesired perimeter sphere discard it as described above. Or use the spacebar to switch it and play the next sphere; continue switching until you can safely play or discard the perimeter sphere.

Build in groups of two! Match colors in groups of only two and keep the collection as compact as possible. Use your mouse cursor to position the spheres exactly where you want them. Matching spheres in groups of two will help create longer strings of consecutive matches when you are ready to collect points. Keep building up the center until it becomes big (but not too big when the edges begin to flash) and then begin to reduce the size and collect your points!

Remove spheres slowly! When you are ready to collect points, start by removing the groups of two that are around the edges. Continue removing as many groups of two as safely possible, remembering that you can toggle the spheres in the holder and use your cursor to carefully place each shot. Remove the smallest groups possible from the edges so that when you remove the larger groups the scoring count is higher. I may take out 4 or five group of only 3 spheres and then start taking out larger groups when the point value has increased. If you are lucky you might get a string of 11 or 12 matches in a row which will score 11 or 12 points per sphere!

Earning the Trophy

Levels 1-3 are great for farming points and learning the strategies. Remember, a high score is all about patience! Remain on each level as long as you can, scoring points until you reach your goal. Level 3 is perfect for farming points and you can successfully earn a trophy score remaining on this level.

If you are comfortable with the strategies and your ability to manage the center group, Level 4 and Level 5 will allow you to score points a bit faster. On Level 4, there are three colors and you have a meter count of 5. When the meter count is at zero, five new spheres fly in and attach themselves to the center group and the meter count resets. Level 5 is also a good level to farm points. On Level 5 there are four colors (which helps create longer strings of consecutive matches), a meter count of 5, and six spheres fly in when the meter count reaches zero. Both of these levels are very manageable and will allow you to earn a trophy score!

It is possible to farm points on Level 6, but you will need to quickly reduce the initial center group down to a manageable size. You are only given a meter count of 4 with seven spheres flying in. Beginning at Level 7, when the meter count reaches zero, 12(!) spheres fly in and this is very difficult to manage; you will find yourself only scoring matches one or two times consecutively and struggling to survive.

Earning a trophy score in Spinacles is more about patience than luck or skill. Now that you understand the game basics, the strategy, and the game play tips, go out and earn that trophy! Good Luck!

 
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