The App Store has proven to be a profitable market for side-scrolling action games, with titles such as Zombieville USA and Sparta topping the charts. However, we have yet to find the definitive game of the genre. Will Chillingo’s take, Inkvaders, change this for us? We went hands-on with the game to find out.
The premise of Inkvaders is that you play ‘Generic Marine’ (referred to as G) whose mission is to blast away at invading Martians to save Earth. Visually, the game has the hand-drawn style down pat. The high-quality sprites and environments are very detailed, and the notepad spirals along the top of the screen make it all the more ‘realistic’. The developers seem to have kept everything simple to avoid clutter and confusion.
Inkvaders’ story mode consists of three areas: the Moon, an Army base, and a city, each with ten levels. Every stage has you traveling from point A to point B, blasting away as many enemies as possible to achieve higher scores. Once you lose all three lives, it’s game over. Unfortunately, there is no level selection, so you must start from square one every time.
Each stage is increasingly harder, but you have a trusty set of three guns at your side, each of which can be upgraded five times. Upgrades, bullets and health can be bought at vending machines along the way.
What really makes the game different in terms of gameplay is the ability to soar above the battle with a nifty jetpack. As you do so, an energy bar depletes. This mechanic is important for collecting money meteors and avoiding slaughter from oncoming Martian hordes.
We also enjoyed the game’s rampage attacks, which are initiated by picking up certain crates along levels. These pit you against a relentless swarm of Martians for a set amount of time. However, you also reap the benefits both in money and points.
Inkvaders also includes an endurance mode, where players go for endless amounts of levels until they are killed. Experts of the genre who can blaze through the story mode will find increased challenge here. There are also three difficulty levels so that players of all skill levels will feel at home.
It is also important to note the game’s thumping techno-rock soundtrack. This keeps the energy high and fits nicely with the style.
The developer has stated that high scores and achievements through OpenFeint will be added in future updates, which we feel is a must for a high score game such as Inkvaders. However, in its current state Inkvaders is looking like a good deal for the $0.99 asking price. Inkvaders has already been submitted, so hopefully we will see it on the App Store very soon.