Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Space Invaders Infinity Gene Review

With retreading classic games being all the rage nowadays, it’s easy to be apathetic about the news of rereleases. Space Invaders, an indisputable hall-of-fame level arcade shooter, was introduced to the iPhone earlier this year to mixed reviews. Taito’s revisited the franchise with Space Invaders Infinity Gene, an effort that we found completely unexpected and extraordinary on many different levels.

Move down! Increase speed! Reverse direction!

First off, this isn’t your daddy’s Space Invaders. Sure, it shares some similarities (e.g. piloting a small ship, shooting enemy waves, etc.) from the iconic game that helped popularize arcade shooters. In the original game, the primary objective was to scroll left and right, firing off laser cannons to take down off a variety of two-stepping aliens for points. In Infinity Gene, things have evolved considerably.

Over the course of three levels covering over 20+ sub-stages, new mechanics and game play conventions are introduced at a smooth pace. Instead of restrictive one-axis movement, you can move your ship with full freedom after a few stages. Dragging your finger around the screen dictates your movement and firing weapons is automatically handled for you. Perfect instantaneous feedback makes getting around as smooth as butter.

Shooting enemies while avoiding structural hazards heightens the intensity level. In the epic boss battles efficiently placed throughout the game, you’ll further appreciate the new on-rails structure. The one drawback here is that you’ll die some cheap deaths because you can’t see some areas blocked by your thumb, but luckily the frustration level remains low due to the surplus of lives and free retries.

Generate your own levels from your iTunes library.

In terms of weapons, Infinity Gene has a few cool surprises you’ll discover. The default arms option is a dual laser known as the ‘Rapid Shot,’ but as you progress through the game, new options become available that really play on the repeatedly emphasized evolution theme. We don’t want to spoil the fun, but rest assured that there are some great choices that will appeal to different play styles. Regardless of your weapon choice, the game’s all about chaining kills together to build your total score. In the latter levels, it gets really crazy; at one point, we happened to run up a sequence of 556 straight hits.

As solid as the level structure and shooting action is, the sexiest features of Infinity Gene are its visuals and pulse-pounding soundtrack. It’s hard to describe the original art direction found here, but it’s most reminiscent of the style seen in the movie TRON. You’ll see lots of symmetrical lines, box grids, and eye-popping gradients with tons of sporadic flashes. With the appropriate techno music blaring in the background, it’s like you’re firing away in the middle of a virtual rave. And after each level, the game morphs from the style of the original game into something completely new… something evolved. For those with performance concerns, our testing indicates that Infinity Gene performs smoothly on both the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

We always appreciate it when a developer goes above and beyond the call of duty. Space Invaders Infinity Gene more than validates its $4.99 price point. New content (e.g. new levels, new weapons) and options (e.g. difficulty levels, graphics) open up virtually every time you complete a sub-stage. In addition, Infinity Gene has a killer auxiliary mode that creates a dynamic level based on a music selection from your iPod library. In testing around a dozen songs, the layout and flow of the levels were always different, generating an experience completely in sync with the music we selected.

As you can tell, we highly recommend Space Invaders Infinity Gene. This is a gorgeous shooter that has a variety of surprises, coupled with replay value that most shooters can’t touch. Buy it.

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Space Invaders Helps Taito Develop for iPhone

It’s fair to say that some of the “big boys” (the publishers we all know who make their names on the big, hi-def “next-gen” consoles) haven’t had the greatest of runs on iPhone so far, either porting titles fairly unsuccessfully or failing to grasp the community-based nature of success on the App Store in the first place. Throwing a massive budget at an iPhone title can’t buy you success, fellas.

There are, of course, a few exceptions. Namco, for one, received much praise for bringing an original title from an established franchise– Ace Combat— to the iPhone with much aplomb, and Taito won plaudits across the board with its recent Space Invaders Infinity Gene. In fact, our own review proclaimed it as a title that ‘most shooters can’t touch’ and awarded it a top score of 4.

Yet, as most commentators will tell you, many of the traditional gaming powerhouses have very little idea about what to do on iPhone, seemingly failing to gauge just what consumers want to play in the first place.

Not Taito. According to an interview with UK trade magazine Develop, the biggest problem Infinity Gene’s director and graphic designer Reisuke Ishida and his team faced when tackling the iPhone was not what game they should try to pitch at the mobile market, but instead a more practical quandary: how to incorporate the format’s controls into gameplay.

‘It was difficult coming up with a control system that would be stress-free for the player, but I don’t think that’s particularly special to the shooter genre with regards to the iPhone,” Ishida told Develop. “I experimented with a number of different schemes before finally arriving at the one that appears in the final game. If the controls aren’t pleasant to use, other aspects of the game end up limited as well. It’s pointless to come up with interesting enemies or levels if control-related issues end up preventing players from defeating them, and for that reason the controls are absolutely critical.’

Rather than fuss over what to pitch at an iPhone audience, it would appear Ishida focused instead on what he wanted gamers to take away from the experience of Infinity Gene in the long run– a lesson some of Taito’s rivals would do well to heed. ‘Not only does the game use Space Invaders to trace the evolution of gaming, it’s also a love letter to the gaming culture as a whole,’ he concluded. ‘If it helps even one new person rediscover the fun and wonder of gaming, then I’ll be very happy indeed.’

With more and more established franchises beginning to make their way over to the App Store, Infinity Gene could well have set the benchmark for their rivals to follow for some time to come.

Gameloft Announces NFL 2010, Modern Combat: Sandstorm; Taito Floating Bust-A-Move

We’ve seen a spate of high-profile game announcements over the last 48 hours that merit attention. Bigtime publisher Gameloft is building an iPhone-sized football field for NFL 2010, as well as taking aim at the First-Person Shooter genre with Modern Combat: Sandstorm.

Taito, fresh off the huge triumph of Space Invaders Infinity Gene, announced that classic arcade fave Puzzle Bobble is on the way as well.

NFL 2010 will be “the first FULL football simulation on the App Store,” according to Gameloft’s brief press note. The jury’s out on that claim (actually, it hasn’t even convened yet), but the title is NFL-licensed, so it will have the full complement of NFL teams, rosters and players to choose from. No other details are available at this time. Gameloft expects it to hit the App Store later in August.

Ladies and gents, your San Francisco 49ers… IN MINIATURE!

Modern Combat: Sandstorm is a complete mystery. The trailer appeared on Gameloft’s YouTube channel without warning earlier today, and that’s the first and last we’ve heard about it so far. Thematically, the game seems similar to hit console shooter Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, perhaps with a sprinkling of Battlefield thrown in. We’ll work our contacts at Gameloft for more info ASAP.

Meanwhile, Taito spilled the beans on an iPhone version of Bust-A-Move (also known as Puzzle Bobble) on its Facebook and Twitter pages. As an arcade favorite out of Taito’s back catalog, we have to wonder if it, too, is slated receive the “Infinity Gene” treatment–remodeled gameplay, new graphics and sound, and a total conceptual overhaul. Judging from the picture posted on Taito’s Facebook page, this one looks to be in the thick of development, so it could be a while before we get more details.

Isn’t development fun?!