It’s happened again.
It’s a scene which has played out so many times, in the offices and homes of game developers across the world. It’s happened many times before and doubtless it’ll happen many times again.
One dev turns to another and says “well, we’ve got this fantastic idea for a game… what about a theme for it? can you think of anything?”
“Hmm… uhh… no, not really, I’ve got nothing right now. How about you?”
“Ahh… umm… lovely curry last night… erm… bloody hell, Britain not losing as badly as usual in the olympics then… er… actually no, I’m empty too…”
“Sooo… well then…”
“I guess… it’s the usual thing then…”
(both simultaneously) “WE’LL MAKE IT LOOK LIKE GEOMETRY WARS THEN!”
And so they do .
This time the game in question is basically Geometry Wars and Gauntlet mashed up (and made to look like Geometry Wars). And that’s basically all you need to know about the design of Inferno+. Says it all really.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way slagging off the actual game, it’s great fun and I’ve just spent an enjoyable Sunday afternoon blasting through its 40 levels. I’m just taking the piss a bit because it does seem to be a well worn cliche these days, making stuff that looks like Geometry Wars. And it’s all well and groovy, because Geometry Wars does look nice, but you could probably fill your ipad twice over with games that look like Geometry Wars.
So what distinguishes Inferno+ then?
Well, I’ve thought for a while that a mashup of Roby and Gauntlet wouldn’t be a bad idea, lots of shooty shooty combined with maze exploration and looting would make for a fun game (in fact if I ever do a Llamatron II it’d probably be something along those lines). This game implements that idea very competently. The controls are very good (once you go to Options and turn off the fixed control points like a sensible person) and the blasting action is fluid and fun.
The game categorises itself as “Action RPG” but I’m sorry, if this is RPG then so is Pac-Man . You play the role of a little circular space ship thingy blasting at other blobby vaguely geometric Geometry Wars type thingies. There is looting (in the form of “G” pickups which add to your score) I suppose. Basically though it plays exactly like it says on the tin: Gauntlet-style mazes you make your way round blasting away in a Geometry Wars style. Like in Gauntlet there are “doors” that need unlocked with keys you find in the maze, and there are generators that spew enemies. You have shields that get depleted as you get hit and which can be replenished by collecting + signs you find scattered around the place (bits of meat and jugs of scrumpy not looking so great drawn in a Geometry Wars style I suppose). Shoot everything, have a whistle round looking for hidden areas and to make sure you’ve completely rinsed the level, off out the exit and on to the next one.
There are smart bombs that can be found and active shields that I’ve not much used so far. Every now and again you find a shop and as you progress you are given upgrade points to spend in it. At first only a few upgrades are available but as you progress you can spend some of your score to unlock the others. And every 10 levels there’s a boss who can usually be defeated by the age old method of keeping moving and dodging stuff whilst shooting the crap out of him.
You’ll probably want to play most of the time on the hardest difficulty as the lower two are quite easy to defeat, especially with all the powerups going on. Playing medium difficulty this afternoon it was no bother to whistle through all the levels and by the time i was getting towards the end I was so hideously beweaponed that all I had to do was basically move through the maze not bumping into anything nasty and everything died for me. But there’s plenty of fun to be had playing on hard, and 4 different ship types to play though with, and you can always go for a higher score (and make the game harder for yourself) by not spending any of your score to unlock the more exotic powerups. Oh, and if you play through the game once it unlocks the + mode which does seem to be a lot harder, so there’s plenty of scope for replaying and score chasing.
So there’s actually plenty of game for you to get stuck into, and best of all you get it all for the purchase price. No “Congratulations, you’ve beaten easy mode, do you want to buy Medium difficulty?” or “Well done, you got to level 20, do you want to buy the rest of the levels?” or “Jolly good, you’ve earned the chance to upgrade, would you like to buy this nice smart bomb?” or (most heinous of all) “Game Over. Would you like to buy an extra life?” ARGH DEAR GOD DISGUSTING IAP GET IT OFF ME
None of that bollocks. It’s all there when you buy the game. SEE, PEOPLE, THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE. A nice, well made, COMPLETE game for a fair price. So definitely a gold star from this ox for Radiangames here and on the strength of this I’m definitely inclined to look out for more of their games.
(They do get one bite taken out of their pappadom of excellence though for nagging me to rate the game at the end mind. I understand the need to get good publicity but being prompted to rate stuff gives me the same vaguely uncomfortable feeling you get in the curry house when the waiter comes round one too many times asking if everything’s all right. I always feel ratings and such are worth that much more when they are unsolicited, when someone’s actually thought highly enough of your work that they’ve jolly well originated the effort of going to rate the thing off their own bat rather than just gone “eh, ok then” and pressed the “Press this button to rate now” button. This is but a minor niggle though, and I’m probably the only person to get annoyed by it, so it’s only a small bite. And they have been jolly good sports with the no IAP so an extra pint of Cobra for that. And there’s still the lime pickle).
So if you fancy scratching your Gauntlet and blasting itch I definitely recommend this fun blaster with great controls and all the parts in the box when you open it, and which just happens to look like Geometry Wars. Oh and it’s Universal too, so an extra gold star and a grunt of approval for that too.
Get it on the App Store at the following link.
(When it comes to roleplaying and Robotron just about the only game I can think of which could actually make that kind of a claim would be the very excellent indeed “Time Bandit” on the Atari ST. Utterly fantastic game that, lots of Gauntletty shooting’n'looting action mixed up with a complicated plot and puzzles almost like a text adventure, great fun that was. If that’s not being remade for iOS then it damn well should be. Come on somebody, pull your finger out! Get it sorted! And don’t fuck up the controls! Thanks! )
FANTASTIC. GIVE IT ME.