August 26, 2009

iPhone App of the Week: Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Everyone knows what Space Invaders is (if not, then they have at least played some clone of it), so it wasn't a surprise to see it on the App Store. Oh wait, there's two different versions of Space Invaders on the App Store? Then what's the one I'm reviewing?

So it's called Infinity Gene, eh?

Now that putting retro games on steroids is officially a current trend, Taito is going in with the tide and releasing its own new spin on the Atari classic.

Apparently it relies on a futuristically retro "branch" menu system that oddly requires a double-tap to access.

When you enter the game, you are initially stuck with the default "rapid fire" weapon, but as you progress the game and unlock more stuff, you'll be able to access more weapons, and trust me, there's quite a few.

Never mind the picture, I've unlocked quite a few more since then.

So yeah, after selecting a weapon, you'll be able to start a level. It will remind you a little bit of those Star Fox games in the SNES, but the pumping, pouncing techno soundtrack somehow makes it distinctly Space Invaders.

Basically, the game introduces power-ups that increase the rate and effect of shots, and the ability to move freely throughout the level. Somewhat reminds one of another iPhone game Platypus or the same ol' Space Impact, but I've logged in more hours into this game than the others because it has quite a bit of replay value hidden as well.

When you die or finish a level, a scoring screen appears to evaluate your performance.

A blue bar at the bottom fills up as the score goes up, and if it becomes full, you experience "Evolution".

This basically means that you've unlocked something new, and believe me, there's a lot of stuff to unlock. From graphics, to music, to extra levels, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of unlockables, and that is a very good thing since it holds your attention much longer.

Of note is the peculiar "Music" mode which enables you to pick a song from your library. It's not Bit.Trip (and I sure wish it could've been similar) but it basically summons a level at random and uses your music as the background soundtrack. Some people have reported that the game bases the speed of a level through the song's BPM though, so I guess the most ideal song you can get for Space Invaders Infinity Gene is something electronic, I guess. Maybe a bit of Chemical Brothers or Crystal Method to get you started?

Overall, it is an addictive space shooter that despite having a "new" style, still reflects its retro origins. The techno soundtrack is also pretty good, and there are a ton of unlockables that'll surely keep you coming back for more. It is definitely worth the price of admission.

Rating: 8.5/10 [Tons of unlockables for $5, iTunes Store Link]

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