Space Invaders Infinity Gene - PSN review

So I figured I'd go ahead and toss in a fairly short review for a Playstation Network game I picked up somewhat recently. Space Invaders Infinity Gene was one of several games on sale awhile back when I had a bit of extra room on my credit card, so I picked it up as I recalled it having pretty solid reviews. Now, it's kind of funny, but I've only ever played Space Invaders a handful of times. I did not have an Atari as a kid, but a TI 99/4a - it was a cartridge-based game console by Texas Instruments that had a keyboard and access to the BASIC programing language. As a result, I got to play a lot of knock-off versions of popular games like TI Invaders (yup - Space Invaders close), Munchman (Pacman anyone?) and so on. It was never really one of my favorite games though, as I found the premise of back and forth and shoot somewhat limiting (I was never a huge Centipede fan either).

Still, when I picked it up, the game was like half off, so I was out like $4 if I didn't like it. Here's my thoughts on it:

Graphics - 7:

I like the backdrops more than the foreground characters. Sometimes there is so much happening on the screen that it can be a bit tough to know where you should or should not be going. That said, the game has a nice retro look about it with updated effects and interesting geometric backgrounds that are constantly moving around.

Sound & Music - 7:

The sound effects are pretty solid, with different types of sounds for different events taking place on screen. Considering how little actual variety there is in the gameplay mechanics themselves, I thought the sound arrangement did a pretty good job. Music wasn't bad, but wasn't great. It fit the theme and 'mood' of the game, which has touched-up-retro all over the place, including the very basic menu designs.

Gameplay - 7:

The game seldom feels cheap, at least due to gameplay. There's a variety of weapons that you can use and there's usually several tactics that will work on any given map thrown at you. That said, sometimes the frantic graphics do you in simply due to how much is going on at once. Menus are easy to navigate, and you're always building toward new unlockables (new weapons, extra lives, making the points you earn feel like they're actually good for something other than high score comparisons). Your ship moves pretty well, and they break the horizontal plane, giving you vertical movement as well that really livens up the experience compared to the classic inspiration. That said, the mechanic is pretty simple - dodge, shoot, dodge, shoot, dodge badly, die, come back, shoot more.

Intangibles - 7:

There's a lot of stages, and the swarms of enemies are brought to you in a variety of patterns and waves. It's a big improvement over the arcade classic. The ability to unlock things and make your earned points feel like they are giving you some tangible reward is pretty cool too. I've spent probably 10 hours playing the game, and at the price I paid, I feel like that's a pretty decent deal. I've played full on $60 games that took me far less time to beat - though I believe the regular price is $10. Also, it sure felt like some of the loading screens took a very, very long time to load.

Overall - 7:

Yeah, this was a hard average to come up with in my head. Solid, even good at times, but far from consistently delivering a great time for me personally. The frantic gameplay style has benefited from its modern makeover, though following up bouts of hectic shooting and dodging makes the somewhat long load screens a bit more irksome in my opinion. The game is not that advanced graphically or with sound, so the reason for the load screens does baffle me a bit. Basically, if you are a fan of the original game you know what you're getting overall and that may be enough to sell you on it. I don't suffer buyer's remorse, but it's not a game I see myself playing a lot more of in the future either.
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