iPhone Game Review: Inkvaders
You are Earth's only hope against invading Martians in the side-scrolling shooter, Inkvaders. You play as Generic Marine who has at his disposal 3 different upgradeable weapons with which to lay waste to the invading aliens. Generic earns cash for killing Martians and collecting rocks and meteors. Use this cash at vending machines to upgrade your weapons, buy ammo, and replenish your health. Hmmm, I guess you really can find vending machines anywhere.
The game has two different modes including a Story mode that takes place over three different settings and 30 levels and an Endurance mode where you see how long you can last. There are three difficulty modes: Easy, Normal, and Hard. Easy is really pretty darn easy and is great for novice or casual players. Normal and Hard are geared towards more experienced players.
Inkvaders has a "Boot Camp" to guide you through the basics of play. It is thorough and does a really nice job of explaining what the information displayed on the screen means, how to move, how to shoot, how to use your jetpack, how to collect powerups, and how to upgrade weapons.
The controls for Inkvaders are easy to use and responsive. On the bottom left are 'left' and 'right' arrows controlling the direction of your fearless marine. Next is the jetpack button that allows you to fly. On the bottom right is the 'fire' button, tap it and you will shoot whatever weapon you have currently equipped. You cannot press and hold for continuous firing of your weapon.
Monitor your lives, health, and boost power at the upper left. You start with 3 lives and there is no re-earning lost lives so be careful! Health is the red line and boost is the blue line. Boost is used when you activate your jetpack and it will replenish at a steady rate once you land. Use this to collect meteor rocks and escape from Martians. Both health and boost can be replenished with powerups or purchasing in the vending machine.
Generic Marine's current ammo supply and guns are shown at the upper right. To switch weapons simply click on the icon. You will have to keep an eye on your ammo supply since the game does not tell you when you are out of ammo. This can be deadly if you run out in the middle of Rush mode.
Rush mode is a powerup encountered during a level. It is an excellent way to make a small nest egg of money; however, there is some risk to this potential reward. Once activated, you'll be temporarily swamped with aliens flooding in from both sides of the screen. Make sure you have enough ammo before you begin and watch your health.
Inkvaders' appearance is one thing that really sets it apart from other games. It looks like someone went nuts with a paper art project. Everything, from the menus to the game screens looks like someone drew pictures in ink on a paper background. Generic Marine and the Martians are all made of paper cutouts as are the backgrounds. There are humorous little signs found throughout each level. If you die, a finger removes your character and replaces it with a new one, and a hand places each object in the Main Menu. The guns can kill the Martians in various ways from energy weapons that fry aliens to ashes to assault rifles that blow their heads to bloody bits. Everything has polished animations to add to the fun. The whole game is simply a treat to look at.
The game has excellent sounds from its background music which is different for each location to its special effects. All of the weapons have 'punch' to them. The jetpack sounds very nice, and there are ambient background effect noises that add to enjoyment.
-unique paper art appearance and graphical polish - eye candy abounds in this game
-good music and sound effects - adds to the polish and gives weapons a nice 'punch'
-jetpack - adds a 3rd dimension to the gameplay than simply walking back and forth
-story mode with 30 levels and endurance mode - gives the game good replayability
-game resumes from the last level begun if you have to exit or get a phone call
Cons: (most are pretty minor things)
-when a level loads it does not wait for you to tell it to start - I like to take a break between levels sometimes and if you don't remember to manually pause the game you will come back to find poor Generic Marine has died
-the game has only one orientation, home button on the left for you iPhone users - I like my games flipped the other direction, this is going to be an option in an upcoming update
-no global scores - to me this adds to the fun factor
-gameplay can be a little repetitive - there are no bosses, just hordes of different types of Martians
-no indicator when you run out of ammo - keep an eye on your ammo levels, this should also be fixed in an upcoming update
Inkvaders is a side-scrolling shooter exuding graphical polish and fun gameplay. It's fun to look at and entertaining to play. There are just a few minor things that need tweaking to make it even better than it already is.
The jetpack mechanic really opens up the possibilities for this game content-wise. Imagine paths that are only accessible by flying to them or having to fly from one platform to another in a level. Or how about a boss fight where you can use the jetpack to dodge shots while you shoot for that vulnerable opening. It would be really neat to see stuff like this implemented.
If you haven't tried one of these types of games or are already a fan of the genre, Inkvaders is definitely a game that I would highly recommend getting.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -5- unique, polished paper art style and good weapon animations
Sound: -4.5- good background music, solid weapon sounds
Controls: -4.5- controls are reponsive, easy to switch weapons
Gameplay: -5- easy to play and fun, added depth with Endurance mode
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Don't waste your ammo. Use the minimal shots needed to kill enemies. Ammo is expensive and not that plentiful.
-Before upgrading a weapon, buy the ammo first. After you upgrade a weapon, the price for its ammo instantly jumps up.
-Short on cash? Martians continously spawn on a level so just go back and forth killing them until you have a good sum built up.
Developer: Games Faction Ltd
Release Date: August 19, 2009
Genre: Action/Side-scrolling shooter
Buy Game: iTunes App Store
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