Alongside its brother, tower defense, the shooter genre has been the barrel that most developers dip their ladle into first for an iPhone game. These servings have been less than amazing.
Then with a BANG came Space Invaders Infinity Gene onto the iTunes App Store. It was a shooter which paid homage to the father of the genre while at the same time introduced a funky new theme of evolution interwoven with 80′s vector graphics nostalgia. Was this the game shooter fans have been waiting for while checking Twitter on their iPhones? Nah.
There are some things done very right with this game. The controls for Space Invaders Infinity Gene are perfectly simple. Hold your finger anywhere on the iPhone’s screen and move it around to maneuver your ship. The ship fires automatically as you waggle your 8-bit hoopty through the retro-motif badlands of invader country. Playing the game consists of dodging enemy fire and putting your ship where it needs to be to rack up chains of destroyed space invaders.
After destroying these evil space invaders… wait a minute. The invaders aren’t attacking earth this time… and your ship is clearly flying through unknown space. Is this a switcharoo? Are YOU the invader? This is revisionist history right here. We have got to alert all the elementary school history teachers to continue teaching that the Pilgrims and Native Americans were best friends and the aliens invaded us!
The way the game is structured to unlock itself (or “EVOLVE”) as you play is nice and caters to my love of being patronized by software. Being told I unlocked “Easy Mode” is a feeling of success which honestly should be more fleeting. Yet here I am. Bragging about it.
Unlocking extra levels, weapons, and nonsense I’ll never use like sounds and graphics is entertaining enough that I still play the game. That being said, I never have much fun for the commitment of time the game requires.
There is where the problems begin. As the levels progress, they get longer with no way to save your
progress or restart from a checkpoint. I strongly believe iPhone games can be as grandiose as any game you choose to sit down to play while doing right by the people who just want a less than 2 minute burst of fun. In its pursuit of the grandiose, this game forgets that people are playing this game on their iPhones in the middle of their busy day.
Furthermore, maybe my eyes have been bleeding too much from playing Ikaruga but this game is pretty dang easy. If you are working on a game where you can beat most levels by keeping your ship at the center of the screen you should probably consider some game redesign.
For an iPhone shooter this is one of the best. Yet that is like saying it is the king of the AV Club. Sure, it can talk to a girl in class without its knees shaking. And sure, that one football player shouted “You da man!” to it in the halls. And sure, it understands when and when not to talk about Pokemon to people. But it is still just one of us– I mean just another iPhone shooter.
Unless you are starved for a shooter, I can’t recommend Space Invaders Infinity Gene. Hopefully, developers will look at what this game did right and expand upon it with future apps.
What I learned today: Giraffes are flippin’ weird to look at. Seriously. Try it. Weird.