Updated: Gene Effect Review

Like a shot in the dark, the makers of Gene Effect just gave the game a massive update. Most of the improvements are “under the hood” fixes that address some minor performance issues that the game had, some graphical and sound tweaks and various other things. Click here to see a complete list. But two improvements stand out.

First, you can now adjust the size of the control interface. This doesn’t totally fix the control issues we had with the game, but it does allow for people who, like us, have big mutant hands to get a better grip on the controls. It’s a step in the right direction for sure. Also, the game is now universal and supports the new iPad. Gene Effect is already one of the most sumptuous looking games we’ve played on iOS, and this just kicks its look sky-high.

These changes just help cement Gene Effect as an amazing and polished experience. It still could use some minor tweaks here and there, but the bottom line is this: if you haven’t bought this game yet, then you really, really should.

Mankind is discovering some seriously strange stuff in space these days. From the strange flora and fauna in Waking Mars to the weird aliens living a space-dinosaur’s UFO in Mystery of the Japanese Werewolf, there’s some odd and scary things out there. Now you can discover ancient alien ruins and otherworldly technology in Gene Effect, the excellent new game from Lightstorm 3D.

In Gene Effect you play as the captain of the mining ship Triton, who is charged with exploring the planet Kratoss to find an errant vessel called the Goliath that went missing earlier while scouting the caverns of the planet. Throughout your explorations of the ancient ruins of the long dead race the Na’Rul, you’ll mine energy resources, discover the secrets of this ancient alien society, discover what happened to the crew of the Goliath, and uncover mysteries that could potentially change the course of humanity.

An intergalactic botanist’s dream.

You and your ship are forced to navigate the tight and unstable caverns of the planet, attempt to figure out and activate leftover Na’Rul technology, and circumvent the age old security systems of the aliens, all while dealing with the overly hostile indigenous lifeforms of the planet. Oh, and the fate of humankind and the universe may lie in your hands as well. No pressure though.

You control your ship’s movements with a D-Pad on one side, and actions buttons for your ‘repulsor’ and drone attacks on the other. The repulsor is your main weapon, even though it isn’t really a weapon. It’s a charged blast that radiates from the center of your ship, and you use it to activate switches (which open the ancient gates), blast away rocks that are in your way, and discover hidden areas.

Your ship has a sonar signal that constantly emanates as well, and when it discovers something of interest it will ‘ping’ that area with a blue graphic. T-Drones are your only actual weapon, and they come in very limited supply and take a long time to charge up and fire. While we appreciate that the game is attempting to emulate the feel of controlling what is essentially a slow and clunky space submarine, no one bothered to tell the hostiles this, and the slow controls are ill-suited for some of the quick precision movements that are usually required of you.

An inviting space citadel.

Another problem is that the story, mission briefings, and gameplay explanations are all told in massive blocks of text, sometimes consisting of multiple pages. This wouldn’t be so bad if the text wasn’t poorly translated. We would occasionally find ourselves stumbling around the levels or missing things because we didn’t have a clear idea of what we had to do. Each level has different goals and objectives and things to look out for, and sometimes figuring out how to do this can be a little confusing.

The graphics however, are absolutely first rate. The levels are filled with dynamic lighting effects, lense flares, and incredibly detailed, lush, and compelling things to look at. Like a lavish painting from a pulp sci-fi novel, this is honestly one of the most beautiful games we have ever played on iOS. The sound is equally spectacular and well done, immersing you in the dank, solitary and cavernous environment. We highly recommend playing with headphones.

Gene Effect is great. The levels are huge, the story is compelling, the presentation is spectacular, and the gameplay– while not without problems– is engaging and fun. Gene Effect is highly recommended for anyone looking for a good sci-fi adventure.

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