iPhone/iPod: Inkvaders Review

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Inkvaders is a 2D sidescrolling shooter from Chillingo. Its in the app store for $0.99, a great buy for this release! There are definantly some things to note about this game though. It is definantly not for everybody. The gore may make it unplayable for those with a weak stomach, and younger players, and the repetitiveness of the game may turn away those who like more in a game. So read on for all the details.

Gameplay
FightingThe gameplay in Inkvaders is fairly straight forward. You start off on a training level that teaches you how to play the game, by showing you your health, weapons, how to move and shoot, how to use your jet pack, your ammo, and everything else you need to know to play the game. Then you start on the first of 30 levels. The way the whole game is setup is nice, everything looks hand drawn, all characters in the game look like they were cut out from another paper and placed on top of the background, each time you start a level or finish a level, you will see a hand come out and flip the page, and the index finger on the hand will place you in your starting position when starting a level, very unique but nice design. Each level is considered a Page. There’s 3 locations you will play on, the first is The Moon, second is Earth Base, and third is The City. Each location has 10 levels (or pages). There’s some excessive gore to this game that some will love, and some will hate. Personally I love the gore!

As you play there’s moon rocks you can obtain as well as bonus moon rocks that dont sit still in the air. All of the moon rocks you collect add money to your stash, as well as each martian you kill. You can use your money to upgrade your weapons, which originally consist of a laser gun, shotgun, and rocket launcher. Upgrading these weapons brings out a whole new arsenal of weapons to take out the martians with. The only real issue you will really find with this game is there’s really only 1 enemy, the different looking ones you come across in the game only really take a few more hits to kill, other then that its all the same thing.

Graphics
ScreenshotThe graphics in this game are great! A little bit more work could have been done to improve it, but for the most part everything blends in fairly well. Some of the backgrounds dont look quite right, you cant always make out what your looking at, but after a bit you will us

ually figure it out. While these flaws are minimal and will mostly go un-noticed, you will spend most of your time watching the foreground so most people wont even realize that these exist.

Inkvaders is meant to look like a drawing on a notepad that has come to life (hence the “Ink” in the name). Its a very great idea, and even though it doesnt fully utilize the graphics processor in the phone, the idea itself has created a wonderful environment with high framerates and very smooth gameplay.

There is also an endurance mode, which basically puts you up against an endless amount of levels that progressively get harder and harder, your goal is to get through as many pages as possible. It can be quite fun when you get bored of the regular game, but its still the same thing.

Sound
Theres not a whole lot to say about the sound, other then it matches the game very well, its high quality sound, but the lack of ambient sounds only keeps you feeling like your playing the same thing through the whole game, just different backgrounds.

Each of the 3 locations have their own music, and when you pick up a box labaled with an “R” to initiate Rush Mode, that has its own music as well. All in all, the sound and music is really good, the ONLY thing this game needs when it comes to sound and music is some ambient sounds. Although its very minor, it helps intensify game play for those that appreciate those wonderful extras.

Controls
Very simple and down to earth controls make this game super easy for brand new players to pick up Inkvaders and play without having to try and figure out controls. The very first level of Inkvaders shows you what controls do what, lets you practice them, and then puts them to the test with your first real mission on page 1. No complaints about the current controls here.

Conclusion
Inkvaders is a very fun game for the iPhone and iPod. For a game that belongs on a cell phone, Inkvaders has more then you bargained for, but for being an iPhone/iPod game, there are several critical gameplay elements missing from this game that really should have been implemented. For example, you have a jetpack, that is only used to reach the rocks up in the air, and to catch the bonus rocks that are flying around. Because of this, I was able to play through the entire game and never use more then 25% of my fuel before picking up boxes that repleneshed it for me. I never had to buy fuel to fill it back up, I never had to touch my fuel. It was as if I could use my jetpack whenever I wanted, as much as I wanted. There should be levels so you have to use your jetpack to get on top of buildings, or vehicles,

to reach some of the bonuses down in pits or up top on buildings. The jetpack, to me, felt useless.

Some people may say; “But you can use it to fly over your enemies!” If you ever NEED to use your jetpack to fly over enemies, then you shouldnt be playing this game. One of the drawbacks is the game is very easy. On Easy and Normal difficulty levels, I didnt have any issues at all until I made it to about page 5 of the 3rd location (That would be mission 25 out of 30 missions total). That was when i kept making the mistake of trying to get the rocks and bonus rocks in the air during a raid, the enemies come in so fast and strong that by the time you land, your being swarmed.

ScreenshotIt would also be a great addition to add some more diversity to the enemies in the game. Right now they all look exactly the same, except some will be wearing bandages on their heads, or have different clothes or a different weapon. The further you progress in the game, the more their weapons will hurt you, and the faster they can run. What needs to be implemented is different types of enemies, such as some kind of flying martian, maybe martians riding in on their own planets version of a horse, maybe even small single manned ships that fly in every now and then and shoot at you, causing you to have to quickly jump or turn around and run. That would definitely increase the potential, popularity, and monetary value of this game. Also the addition of bosses would be excellent!

So the sound needs some ambient sounds, like some fancy humming noises on the moon, birds and other animals on earth, and maybe cars driving by, windows breaking, and other random city noises when your in The City. It isnt incredibly important that these sounds be implemented since whats already there is fantastic, but it would definitely be a great addition, and it would help define the games world.

The controls are great, there just needs to be more of them, such as controls to aim and shoot up and at 90 degree angles. Since there’s no need for those controls because of the current gameplay setup, im not going to bring the score down because those controls are not there.

7/10
Gameplay
Game play is good, very straight forward. Just needs some other types of enemies, and upper and lower levels on each page to increase the environmental experience.
8/10
Graphics
The 2D graphics are awesome! Mostly because of the idea they used when creating the game, its made a very nice and unique environment, but it needs a little bit more, and there’s a few issues with some of the drawings in the background.
9/10
Sound
Awesome sounds! I reduced the score by 1 point because the game doesnt have any ambient sounds. Most games nowadays do, and for such a simplistic game, ambient sounds should be included.
10/10
Controls
Controls are perfect for whats been implemented into the game. They are very straight forward and easy, and the game does a good job of showing you what controls do what on your first level (or page) of the game.
8.5/10
Overall
This is a great game, with a great 2D concept. Even though it doesnt have a variety of gameplay elements to offer, its still very fun for anybody that likes sidescrolling shooters.

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