Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a wake up call for the stale rehashes of decade old games. Far from being an uninspired port, it's retro roots merely serve as a canvas upon which to paint an ever evolving picture of established gameplay mechanics and brand new ones. Playing the original game today feels dull, especially when newer games have expanded on it's formula - but this is quite the opposite.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.Charles Darwin
Stemming from the game's evolutionary design is the main menu screen - each option and level branching off like DNA, with more uncovered as you play through the main game. Furthermore, every time you replay a level you can discover multiple evolutions of that same level, unlocking new weapons, sounds, or other gameplay ideas. For instance your stock of lives is limited to 2 when you begin the game, but as you progress you will find stocks of 5 and 7 that can be turned on in the settings screen.
You'll begin in the classic black and white Space Invaders level, but once you've shot a handful of invaders off the screen, the game will 'evolve' into a slightly more complex variant. Later on you'll find free movement, an experience that is heightened by the superlative touch control, that anchors a centre point where you place your finger, and auto fire system. We won't spoil the wide variety of weapons that you'll find along the way, but picking the right one becomes crucial for certain stages - replaying one of the earlier stages with the later weapons can increase scoring potential immensely.
Stages can range from simple blasting, to bullet dodging, corridor navigating and much more. There's a good handful of bosses which are very inventive in design, most of them have multiple parts to destroy. Plus, the Nagoya attack returns from the original game. The attack allows the player to pass through an enemy when turned grey after firing a shot - when it is grey you can zip through it unharmed, and of course this awards big points if pulled off successfully.
Of course, it is the scoring and 'chain' system that SIIG has which will allow you to evolve the game, and replaying through levels is the only way to get everything. If you want to power through the game and ignore all the extra bonus stages you'll get a couple of hours out of it, but the true draw is the music stages. Although the game doesn't allow your own music during regular gameplay, it will create levels based on the songs in your iTunes library - an extremely nice feature. While it isn't a true, synced experience, it definitely works well - complex songs will be far harder than songs with not much going on.
The presentation will be a love/hate thing for many - the techno music wasn't much to our tastes, but the retro wireframe style of the game shone throughout - there's often a huge amount of detail going on, with no let up in frame rate once - even played on a first generation iPod Touch. It's so chaotic on screen that providing screen shots just doesn't seem to be worthwhile. We suggest that you have a look at the video below to see how the game plays.
In case you haven't guessed it already, we really enjoyed our time with this game. Even though the main campaign can be blitzed through, there's a hard difficulty setting to be unlocked, as well as a good amount of bonus content. And let's not forget the music stages, a feature that offers limitless replay value. For the money, it comes highly recommended.
Feature packed, this retro styled game is right on the money.
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