Review by Tranzience
Addicting to both watch and play
Space Invaders is one of those games that I probably do not need to introduce. If you have not played at least one iteration of the classic itself, you have likely at least seen it in action or heard of it before. It is the quintessential shooter shooter in the retro sense, not in todays First-Person Shooter (FPS), but in what today is usually known as a shmup (shoot-em-up). You have a ship. You move from side to side shooting alien ships and score points. What more do you want? Well, with Infinity Gene, you get more without taking away from the brilliant simplicity of the classic itself. How does it do that?
To start off, Infinity Gene takes the approach of other recent Space Invader titles namely, Space Invaders Extreme and its sequel and other similar titles and puts an emphasis on eye candy. That is to say, there are plenty of stunning visual effects at work in Infinity Gene. The graphics have a great style that flows with the game and continues to change as the game itself evolves (more on this later). For anyone fond of pulsing lights and bright vibrant colors, the game is sure to be a treat for the eyes. In a similar vein, the game boasts a fairly good if limited range of audio tracks that are sure to get the blood pumping for a game as based on quick action as Infinity Gene. Add on to that the option to play levels created from your own audio tracks (which will play in place of the usual background music), and there is not much the game could do to improve on the stylish sheen it has. With that said, this is not merely an instance of all style and no substance.
True though it is that Space Invaders is simple and Infinity Gene tries not to stray too far from that, Infinity Gene has a great deal of options that makes it worth your while to try even if you already have another iteration of Space Invaders. As you play through the game, you will rack up points that go towards unlocking a mutation or evolution. This could be anything from a bonus stage to play through, a new weapon for your ship, a new setting, or something else entirely. For instance, some things I can recall unlocking off the top of my head from just the first day of playing, I had unlocked a couple new ways for my ship to fire, a number of extra stages, the ability to move freely about the screen instead of just left and right. The ability to move all around the screen and being able to fire in a number of ways instead of the usual moving left and right makes the game for me. Though there is a lot of fun to be had in the traditional simple system, the new ways that the extra weapons and free movement make you think is a great trade off. The system to unlock all these extras is really well done, too. It never takes too long to get the next extra, and there is just so much to unlock. It really makes Infinity Gene a great pick up and play type of game, which is exactly the sort suited to the platform. It might sound like it is an easy game then, with the game throwing upgrades and extras at you mostly just for playing rather than for doing well, but the options menu has plenty of ways to let you challenge yourself including cranking the difficulty up, turning off free movement or weapon upgrades, or limiting your number of extra lives. On the other hand, it has options to turn all of those things or increase the number of lives, too, for players who are less challenge-orientated and simply want to play a quick game now and again.
The game is completely touch screen controlled, and the controls are pretty responsive and intuitive. There is an option to either have the ship fire automatically or to tap to fire and both work fairly well to help suit the type of player you are. The level design is also fairly good. Some of the levels are more about killing enemies before they swarm you while others are more about dodging obstacles and making quick work of any enemies in your way simply to survive. The game rarely lags or has any technical issues to complain over. The only time anything of the sort comes into play is in loading up a stage based on a song from your devices library, and even then the wait is hardly bad at all and much better than some other games. In fact, the only real way I could suggest to improve the game at all is to enable music from the library to play in the background of any stage rather than just custom stages, but perhaps that is too much to ask for.
So there it is. Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a pretty title that adds a number of extras to a classic and addicting game. It is one of the best ways to kill some time or get a quick dose of trippy visuals and simple-but-visceral action in. I highly recommend it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Space Invaders Infinity Gene (US, 07/27/09)
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