Lots of classic video games are being revived for mobile gaming these days. The original Space Invaders, the legendary arcade shooter, was introduced to the iPhone earlier this year to mixed reviews. Taito has revisited the franchise with Space Invaders Infinity Gene, which is surprisingly good and extraordinary on many different levels.
First off, this isn't your daddy's Space Invaders. Sure, it shares some similarities (such as piloting a small ship, shooting waves of enemies, and so on) with the iconic game that helped popularize arcade shooters, but in Infinity Gene, things have evolved considerably.
Throughout the course of three levels that cover 20+ substages, new mechanics and gameplay 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. The game handles control input instantaneously, which makes getting around as smooth as butter.
Having to shoot enemies while you avoid structural hazards heightens the game's intensity. In the epic boss battles efficiently placed throughout the game, you'll further appreciate the new on-rails structure. Unfortunately, you'll probably die some unfair deaths because you can't see areas blocked by your thumb, but because you have a surplus of extra lives and free retries, it's not really that frustrating.
In terms of weapons, Infinity Gene has a few cool surprises for you to 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 fit in with the evolution theme. Without spoiling anything, let's just say 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 later levels, things get really crazy--we've run up sequences of 556 straight hits, for instance.
As solid as the level structure and shooting action are, 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.
New content (like new levels and weapons) and options (like new difficulty levels and graphics) open up virtually every time you complete a substage. 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 about a dozen songs, the layout and flow of the levels were always different, generating an experience completely in sync with the music we selected.
In short, Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a gorgeous shooter that has a variety of surprises, coupled with replay value that most shooters can't touch.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.