Sorry if you have any friends that are spiders, I am sure they are nice enough, but they sure have given me the ick for a lot of my life.
Most creatures with a surplus of legs have freaked me out. And anything with a surplus of legs that flies. Cockroaches are the bane of my existence. However, over the years I’ve noticed that spiders always got a bad rap. That being said, spiders in Australia are a lot more likely to do damage than anywhere else. But alas, more recently I’ve found my arachnophobia fading, or at least becoming more selective.
The representation of spiders in the current day has become more cutesy than before. Lucas The Spider, a short series of videos about a curious little jumping spider, made me smile and go ‘awww’. Previously, I would’ve felt sick looking at content like this, but it was so sweet I felt myself melting. Following that, after reading John’s yarn about Webbed and getting my hands on a copy for the Nintendo Switch, I decided to see how my fear of the creepy crawlers would take it.
Webbed is a 2D adventure platform made by Brisbane-based studio Sbug Games and follows the story of a little spider on an adventure to save her boyfriend from a bird. As a spider, you weave webs and swing through areas to solve puzzles and help the other bugs you meet in your travels. The game was recently released on Nintendo Switch and Xbox, and I got my hands on the former. It takes a quick second to get used to the controls on a controller, but once you get the hang of it you’re set for the rest of the game.
One interesting thing about Webbed is that there’s actually an arachnophobe setting, where all the spiders in the game are displayed as round blobs instead. This can be great for those that have a more serious case of arachnophobia, but I ultimately decided to forego this option as I felt like I needed to go into spider mode to truly relate.
I guess it’s fate that when I started playing Webbed, a huntsman spider’s egg decided to hatch in my kitchen, leading to many baby spiders everywhere. This took me back to a moment in Webbed where you are tasked with finding another spider’s little babies, scattered all around the bee’s area. Despite the size of fully grown huntsman spiders, their babies are very small. In semi-Webbed fashion, I found myself taking the little babies that I found scattered around my room and bathroom, and putting them outside as I couldn’t find their mother and wasn’t keen on looking for her.
Although it’s irrational to connect animal behaviours to human nature, it helped to think, “These weird little fellas are just trying to live their life, much like I do. They probably have a job and eat food like me.” Sometimes, it’s easier to get over our fears if we’re put in the eight shoes of the thing we’re scared of. So I did.
Webbed plays great on Switch so far. When I first started playing the tutorial, I faced a random crash when trying to press the minus button, but after this one crash, it never happened again. As mentioned before, the controls take a little getting used to but nothing too difficult. While flying through the air slinging webs is a treat, I succumbed to the fact that making web paths throughout areas was a safer option to getting around a lot of the time.
The art style is beautifully detailed pixel art, and it very much softens the blow of having to look at bugs the whole time. In my personal opinion, it’s pretty difficult to make bugs cute to somebody that thinks they’re nasty and gross. Alas, here I am as a virgin bug hater, moving slowly to the level of chad bug lover. Except for cockroaches. They can still fuck off.
Am I no longer arachnophobic? Not really. I can tolerate little spider babies and will allow a huntsman to hang out in my house. I would love to meet one of the spiders with the big eyes that do the funny little dance. Redbacks though? Funnel webs? Bird-eating spiders? They’re on my list of guys I don’t want to see ever in my life, thanks.
That being said, Webbed is a fantastic game for anybody, even those that think spiders are whack. You can be a spider or a blob. You can fly around the place and be a little silly. You solve problems in the way that a spider would, allowing you to get a deeper grasp of how a spider would do things like build a hot air balloon or save a boyfriend from a bird. While I’m not going to take a spider out to dinner or let it live in my mouth, I have at least decided that their existence is just fine and I had fun in the process. No ick here!