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iPhone Game Review: The Inferno
      01/30/10 11:30 PM

iPhone Game Review: The Inferno
Reviewed by JadeDragon

As a top-down action-adventure game for the iPhone and iPod touch, The Inferno is an intriguing title that mixes action gameplay with pattern puzzle solving. Loosely based on Dante's Divine Comedy, the game has a large number of levels and gorgeous graphics. As you travel through the circles of Hell to save your love from condemnation, you must use your wit and fast action to avoid dangers and save other innocent souls, all the while ignoring the evil trash talking from Death.



Gameplay

The main attraction of The Inferno is its cleverly designed levels, and should you be lucky enough to get all of the 121 levels, you will see the full scale of the charming level design. Unlike games such as Crash Bandicoot or Super Mario Brothers, The Inferno only requires you to walk (no jumping or grabbing ledges required) in a top-down view throughout the game. The mood of the game is a lot darker than that of Bandicoot or Super Mario Bros series. You must ?walk? the circles of Hell to save Beatrice and along the way you will need to save some innocent souls to unlock the level gates. Each level has one or more save points and an exit gate, and between the starting point and the exit, you often need to collect all the souls while avoiding different types of traps (fire, poison, spikes, etc.) and dangerous creatures. It means instant death if you get caught in a trap or have been touched by any of the evil creatures. You will restart from the last saved point every time you die, so step on the save tiles when you can. Luckily while the danger often surrounds the innocent souls, both traps and moving enemies have preset timing and patterns. As long as you study the patterns and time your moves, you should have no trouble moving through the levels. But don?t feel bad about dying though as it?s almost impossible not to make any mistake. To help you through the tougher levels, The Inferno offers some bonus items like armor (protects you from one death), speed bonus and more. Most of the levels are not long, but the game does a very good job at making the levels look different and interesting. Different circles in Hell also features different themes: like the Limbo ruins above the ground, The Fire Pits as you go deeper and more.



In addition to surviving the levels, you can also earn achievements. Some achievements are easy to gain, like saving a number of souls, collecting special items placed in the levels; and others are harder, like beating 10 levels without deaths. The developer now offers two options to purchase the game: you can either get the entire 121 levels for $2.99 or only the first 50 levels for $0.99 with additional in-game purchase for more levels.

One thing that?s different in The Inferno is the touch control: there are two touch controls, the bottom left one controls the horizontal movement while the bottom right one controls the vertical movement. As most gamers are used to using a d-pad (which usually has 4 directional controls or even more in some games), the two separate control design takes a bit to get used to. It does become natural after 5 levels or so.



Graphics

The Inferno has very stylish and sharp graphics that make playing the game a pleasure. As Dante descents through the circles of Hell, the settings change with the theme and enemies change with the environment. The character moves smoothly, as do the evil bats, the fireballs and the poisonous skulls. Though some scenes are dark, the graphics have a great contrast and saturated colors to make the scenes easy to see.

Sound

The Inferno has both background music and sound FX. The background music matches the theme of the game, and you can choose to play your own iPod music. Sound FX is simple yet effective.



Conclusion

The Inferno is a surprisingly addictive game. It should please the action/puzzle heavy hitters who want some serious challenge in the 121 expansive levels, and those casual gamers who just want to pick up a level when they have a few minutes. The graphics are eye-catching and the level design is very clever. On the way to save your beloved Beatrice you will die many times, but the long and alluring journey is absolutely worth the time and effort.


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - Very sharp graphics, smooth movements and eye-catching colors.
Sound: - 4 - Music fits the game and the sound FX is effective.
Controls: - 4 - The two-part control does present a learn curve. Luckily it shouldn?t take long for the controls to become second nature.
Gameplay: - 5 - Great variety of puzzles, patterns, enemies and solutions. The achievements are fun and can provide more replay value.

Playing Hints and Tips:

- Some times following an enemy is better at avoiding it than heading it on.

- Patience is the key in this game. Watch the moving patterns of the enemies, the speed of the traps and fall rocks. You should be able find spots where enemies doesn?t touch or time your move to avoid the traps.

App Facts:
Developer: Xpressed
Release Date: Dec 18, 2009
Price: $0.99 (for the first 50 levels)
Buy App: iTunes App Store

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