A game by Queen Bee Games for PC, Mac, and Switch, originally released in 2020.
Spinch is a psychedelic platformer set in a world of flashing rainbow colors. As it turns out, colors are alive, and being a color requires a lot of energy - and therefore a lot of food - thus endangering the lives of non-colored creatures. You are a member of an endangered species known as spinch. A full-grown spinch isn’t terribly tasty (apparently bearing the bitter metallic taste of its properly-spelled cousin, spinach), but their babies are like a fine milk-fed veal… a mouthwatering delicacy to the carnivorous colors.
As an adult spinch, you must keep your delicious and nutritious children safe from harm, but in the first few seconds of the game, all 12 of your offspring are sucked up by some kind of demented-looking rainbow face. Your children are spread across four levels (three in each), and you must collect as many as you can before you face off against the rainbow-face creature, where your babies become ammunition in a huge gun… and that tells you a lot of what you need to know about the game’s tone.
The game revels in its inherent silliness, and this is further emphasized by its zany fever dream aesthetic. Worlds are filled with strange plants, deadly rainbow rivers, squiggly one-eyed monsters, and bizarre architecture, with designs leaning heavily toward Mesoamerican artwork with the hue and color saturation cranked to inhuman levels. Every world carries a different theme and has its own unique creatures and obstacles, giving the player something new to experience every few levels.
The player begins the game with his entire moveset at the ready, with a 3x variable jump, a wall jump, a wall slide, and the ability to jump up vertical surfaces. The player’s most valuable skill is the ability to dash along the ground or in the air, which is used frequently do dodge out of the way of danger, cross large gaps, and run from dangers like rampaging rainbow snakes.
The HUD shows the player’s play time, best completion time, health, and number of children rescued. The player begins the game with three hearts, but he occasionally finds hearts within the levels. When the player has sustained damage, collecting one of these hearts refills one unit, but when his health is full, a heart actually extends his meter by one unit. This rewards skilled play by allowing the player to extend his health meter to four or five hearts, allowing him to take a few extra hits later in the level.
That said, checkpoints don’t restore the player’s health, and the only penalty for death is returning to the most recent checkpoint, so players low on health may activate a checkpoint and immediately commit suicide to respawn with a full health meter. This is also the best way to collect the aforementioned hearts. Why restore a single unit of health when you can just kill yourself and gain another full unit? You’ll probably want all of the health you can get, because the game is far from easy. Checkpoints are often placed quite far apart, sometimes resulting in minutes of repeated gameplay when killed, which is made additionally burdensome by the presence of insta-kill traps.
In the early going, levels are fairly straightforward. The player runs across flat surfaces, jumps between platforms, rides along on moving platforms, and bops on patrolling enemies to kill them. But the player soon faces unique challenges such as scrambling up wooden poles with multi-eyed crocodilian creatures in pursuit, sliding along on slippery ice, running along the ceiling in reversed gravity, or swimming through pools of purple goo.
Each level is filled with floating white cubes, and collecting 50 of them turns the player invincible. The effect activates immediately upon collecting the 50th cube – and cube counts carry over from one level to the next – which means that the player doesn’t always gain invincibility at a time when it’s useful. Becoming invincible while completing a platforming sequence is useless since you’ll still die if you fall into a bottomless pit, and then you spawn back at the checkpoint with your invincibility lost and all of the previously-collected cubes removed from the level.
On the other hand, becoming invincible often lets the player smash his way through otherwise insta-kill enemies and obstacles, breaking apart moving lines of spikes and destroying huge creatures that pursue him. The effect doesn’t last long, and the game doesn’t do much to communicate to the player when it’s about to wear off, so its use can still be perilous.
The primary goal in each level is to rescue as many of your children as you can. There are three children to be found in each level and the indicator on the HUD shows them in order, so it’s clear if you missed one. This allows the player to backtrack or replay the level if he wants to find them all. Rescued children remain safe once they have been picked up, even if the player dies immediately thereafter. And children aren’t just a badge of honor for collecting everything in the level… they’re needed in the battle against each world’s boss.
Once the player has completed all four levels, he is able to face the world's boss. The boss is technically the same creature in each level – the colorful face that sucked up your children at the beginning of the game – but it gains new attacks with each battle. The player does not attack the boss directly, but rather activates a button on one side of the room which controls a tube filled with all of his rescued children. Then the player must make his way safely to the other side of the room, dodging the boss’ attacks along the way, to activate a second button. This button uses the children as ammo, firing them in a straight line in rapid succession.
As such, the more children you managed to rescue, the better you are likely to fare against the boss. Rescue fewer children and you’ll need to make more trips across the room, opening yourself to additional attacks. Early on, the boss simply patrols back and forth, jumping occasionally to allow you to run underneath, but later boss encounters feature more complex movements. Additionally, each battle takes place in phases, with the boss changing tactics several times based on the damage it has sustained (there is no life bar), often allowing it to move more quickly, fire projectiles, or extend its movement area.
In early encounters, the children are fired in a straight line along the bottom of the arena, making contact with the boss as long as it’s not jumping. The player can hop off of the button to stop the weapon from firing temporarily, and he may need to jump off to dodge incoming projectiles. Later boss battles feature a moving turret that slides back and forth, making it more challenging for the player to line up a series of hits. When the battle is over, the boss floats upward and sucks up your children once more, thus requiring you to rescue them again in the next world.
In addition to using his children as ammunition, the player can also add a couple of bombs into the mix. In some levels, the player will find his pink uncle (aunt?) who is hanging out with his own children, usually somewhere just off the beaten path. Coming into contact with them unlocks a bonus level which may be accessed via the world map. Here, your uncle runs along the top of the screen tossing his children (your cousins) off the edge in an arc – 20 in total – and you must catch as many as you can, being mindful that he sometimes tosses a spiked ball instead of a child. Manage to catch at least 15 of the children (they splat on the floor if you miss), and you gain one bomb, which is added to your supply of child-ammo during boss levels and does additional damage. You only have one shot at each bonus level, with no way to replay if you fail.
Each area introduces new challenges, with some focused on jumping between platforms over bottomless pits, others having you run from pursuing enemies or rising rainbow lava, and others having you solving environmental puzzles such as flipping switches to alter the path of rolling logs. Some levels feature a floating pill-looking creature that periodically drops bombs that kill everything in sight, forcing you to run as quickly as possible and then find shelter before the bomb goes off… all while looking for your children, which are sometimes placed behind breakable walls.
One area has you waking up sleeping creatures known as star children, and once they are awake, they start rolling across the floor, and they cannot be stopped. If they run into a solid object, they’ll bounce off and quickly start moving in the opposite direction, requiring you to jump over them if you’re in their path of travel. If they hit a weak spot in a wall, they’ll smash through it; if there’s a pit, they’ll fall down; and if there are enemies in the way, they plow through them too. There are some unique challenges where the player must contend with rows of spiked balls rotating around platforms, and rolling one of these star children creates a small gap in the line, allowing the player to find a safe spot as long as he keeps moving.
One set of challenges sees the player moving through pools and tubes filled with purple goo, which slow his movement considerably, making it more difficult to dodge enemies and obstacles. The player encounters short tube mazes where he must find the correct route forward, and he sometimes encounters blue goo that pushes him along in a given direction.
Being pushed along by blue goo is particularly challenging as these areas are often filled with spikes (these cause damage and are not insta-kill traps), and the player has very little time to react as they are scrolled into view. It’s also easy to miss children, hearts, or other pickups due to the limited time to react. Additionally, the isometric viewpoint can make it difficult for the player to gauge whether he’s on the safe side of a wall of spikes or in harm’s way.
The isometric viewpoint creates a few small issues here and there, occasionally making it more difficult to judge the distance to a wall or the edge of a platform. The game’s aesthetics actually become part of the challenge, since the world is so full of life, movement, and flashing color that it sometimes obscures collectibles and makes hidden rooms less obvious. The game’s unusual soundtrack – created using Gameboy consoles and modified circuits from children’s toys – adds to the busy aesthetic with upbeat retro-style vibes.

Spinch was developed by Queen Bee Games, founded in 2013 by Kathleen and Steven Cassidy (a husband and wife team), and based in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The game’s trippy art was created by indie comic artist Jesse Jacobs, and the music was composed by James Kirkpatrick, a.k.a Thesis Sahib. The studio previously released Onion Force, a game that mixed action-adventure with tower defense.
The game was published by Akupara Games, which previously published Desert Child, Star Vikings Forever, The Metronomicon: Slay the Dance Floor, Keep in Mind: Remastered, Chicken Assassin: Reloaded, and Whispering Willows.