iPad Game Review: Inkvaders HD Reviewed by Guy Dayen
If you were weaned on "Science-Fiction Theatre" and loved to watch those old sci-fi flicks from the 50's, if you spent your Saturday morning watching cartoons like "Space Ghost" when you were young, or if you wish you could have been part of the Resistance forces in "Independence Day", you will get a massive kick out of Inkvaders HD. Here's your chance to finally take on all those aliens that came down to Earth to take over the planet and make us their astro-zombie slaves. Chillingo has published another winner; an addictive, fun to play, tongue-well-in-cheek side-scroller shooting game, which well deserves a premium place on your iPad Games screen. I highly recommend it!
You are Generic Marine, valiant defender of Earth against hordes and hordes of Martians (The nasty kind; you?ll find no E. T. here, my friend, but you WILL find aliens in jogging attire...one more reason to get rid of them!) who are bent on mayhem and destruction. Your job is to kick Martian butt and send them packing in a hail of bullets and laser blasts. With a whole range of cool weapons and with your trusty jet-pack, you make your way through three different environments in a quest to destroy all aliens, beginning with the Moon and moving on to good old planet Earth.
Get to the convenient vending machines all along your path to upgrade your weapons and restore your health and flight capacity; collect coins and space rocks so you can afford the major weaponry; and don?t forget to check out the crates that litter the landscape, the power-ups they contain will help you out tremendously.
You get points for every alien you kill, and gold coins and space rocks add to your riches, which is essential to be able to afford all those awesome weapons and the ammunition they use. You?ll definitely need those weapons to survive thirty levels of alien massacre, so upgrade as often as you can afford to do so. The rocks you collected give you bonus points at the end of each level, which add to your score. There is a time bonus as well, for finishing a level quickly, but I?m usually too busy adding to my alien head count to get many points in this manner. Once your battles are complete, and you have won the day, you can choose to play in endurance mode and get to work on even more alien blasting.
You?ll also unlock plenty of achievements along the way, if you are worthy, that is! The game uses integrated Crystal leaderboards to let you share high scores and prove that YOU are the ultimate Generic Marine.
Inkvaders HD is done with quirky comic sensibility and a great sense of affection for the old science-fiction epics. The game is like finding yourself in a sci-fi pulp come to life, with your old G.I. Joe leading the fray, after a somewhat off-kilter cartoonist got a hold of the whole thing! It?s a blast and it?s funny; you will find yourself picking it up over and over.
The graphics design of Inkvaders HD is perfectly in line with the mood and attitude of the whole game; the characters and backgrounds are bright and bold, just like the cartoons and comics of the 50?s and 60?s, and high definition makes everything pop on the iPad?s big screen. Ever wonder what?s inside an alien?s head? This game will show you this, and many other wonders of the Martian anatomy in all its blown-to-bits glory. The animation is very simple, but at the same time, extremely smooth. There is real depth to the game, and the receding backgrounds give the game a 3D feel. Don?t miss the action going on in the background as well: explosions, mass destruction, cow abductions. It?s a lot of fun things to look at, and a pleasure to play.
Controls are simple and extremely responsive. Two arrows at your left let you control the direction you?re moving in. A jet-pack button to the right lets you rise up and fly for short periods of time. Finally, there is a fire button, to the extreme right, which lets you shoot those ugly, ugly Martians. That?s all there is to it; it?s easy to pick up and you?ll find yourself blasting aliens in no time. To help you along, you can attend boot camp and learn all the maneuvers you?ll need.
One design element in particular deserves mention. Since the whole thing sprang up from the game developer?s fevered imagination as he was sketching one day, the action takes place within the sketchbook. On the upper part of your screen, you?ll see the wire spire holding the book together. The lines on the paper are evident throughout. In a touch that reminds me of the old Koko the clown cartoons, the developer?s hand turns pages and places Generic Marine on the screen for you. It?s really a case of everything old is new again, and here, it works wonderfully well by underscoring the whole complicit ?wink, wink, nudge, nudge? feel of the game.
The sound effects are well done in the game. You find yourself hearing explosions and crashes everywhere, and your weapons emit sounds that announce Martian doom in lovely harmony with the satisfying squelch of their exploding heads. Electric sizzle has never sounded so joyous, and the roar of the jet-pack is a retro delight. All in all, Inkvaders HD has beautiful high-quality sound design.
The music is appropriately militaristic, well suited to the alien-busting action happening on screen. The tunes sound exactly like those playing in your head when you were a young kid running around the neighborhood dealing fiery death to your imaginary aliens. It doesn?t take itself seriously, but it?s well done. You do notice the loop when the music starts over, but it?s only a minor quibble. If you want, you can substitute your own iPod playlist, but unless you have one titled ?Music to Blow Away Martians By?, I?d leave the game music on and revel in the atmosphere.
Side-scrolling games can sometimes get a little boring, because the gameplay is fairly simple, but the variety of weapons, backgrounds and aliens keep thing fresh and interesting in Inkvaders HD. The game is truly a fun experience, and it will bring back those childhood memories of playing at Army Vs. Aliens, or of watching the old science-fiction movies at the Saturday matinee or on TV. At three dollars, this game is a great value for an iPad game. Casual gamers who just want a quick pick-up-and-play side-scroller, or more serious gamers who want an intense shoot-out session while still keeping things lighthearted and funny; both groups will enjoy the game.
Parents might feel that the game is a little gory, and truth be told, it is. Yet this violence is very cartoony and unreal, so the game is suitable for even younger teenagers. Just don?t let your six-year old play with it all day, or you?ll be up for a while at bedtime!
Leaderboards and the variety of game modes will keep you coming back to practice your alien sharpshooting skills and rack up those big scores. It?s a must-have, and I guarantee that before long, your family and friends will want their turn at those pesky Martians. Just be sure to show them who?s the real alien hunter here!
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5): 5
Graphics: - 5 - Great retro graphics with a welcome sense of humor. Sound: - 5 -Good sound effects and music; a real stereo treat if you play with headphones. Controls: - 5 - Responsive and simple to use, they make Inkvaders HD a breeze to pick up and play. Gameplay: - 5 -A really superior casual game, suitable for occasional gamers, but deep enough in humor and content for more serious gamers, and it?s just plain fun.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Get to the crate marked ?R? as quickly as possible. The alien rush is a great way to rack up points and money so that you can upgrade your arsenal.
- Another way to get more money is to hang out close to the finish line and pick off more aliens as they come at you. Be sure to leave yourself enough ammo, because that?s the supply you start with at the following level. Don?t be too greedy; leave enough ammo to protect yourself until you can reach the vending machine.
- Speaking of which, upgrade your weapons as fast as you can. Your only hope of survival to the end of the game is massive firepower; remember there are a lot more of them than there are of you.
- Vending machines are your source of upgrades, so locate them quickly and don?t stray too far if your health line is getting low. Spending money on health points is crucial to continued progress in the game.
- Use your jet-pack sparingly and wisely. That baby uses up fuel fast!