Video Game Review: Infestor (iOS)

Infest ALL the humans! Infestor takes it back old school with a satisfying retro platformer.Infestor_600x200

The world’s resources are scarce and two warring factions are duking it out for survival.  One has created a new bio-super weapon that can infest and control its enemies. That top secret weapon is you; a green amorphous blob similar in appearance to Flubber if Flubber had eyes and some serious hops. That’s about the extent of the story and it’s perfect. Being a nostalgic trip back to the good-ol’-days, Infestor doesn’t bog down the platforming fun with unnecessary or cringe inducing dialogue. A virtual joystick on the left and two (occasionally three) function buttons on the right (A, B, and sometimes C), the controls are small, transparent, tucked into the corners as to be non-intrusive of your view, and handle well. I personally hate using virtual joysticks on my iPhone but this one gave me no issues. The buttons on the right hand side however occasionally didn’t respond to my feverish tapping, though I suspect this to be because of my OtterBox Defender case and not the game itself.

Like any good, old fashioned video game progression, the levels start short and simple introducing new mechanics and enemies over time with the last levels requiring you to leverage everything previously learned. As a happy, hopping blob of green goo, you’ll jump your way across various side scrolling, two dimensional maps, avoiding dangers, traversing chasms, solving small push-block-type puzzles, and impaling yourself on inconveniently placed pits of spikes (OSHA anyone?). As you navigate hazardous environments, you won’t just rely on your jumping abilities to get you to the next level, you’ll also leap onto enemy human heads and take control of their bodies. Some humans have jet packs, some have guns, some unlock special doors, and others can push heavy objects. These come in limited supply however, so the order and timing in which you infest your enemies becomes as much apart of the puzzle as avoiding death.

With just 65 levels, Infestor could theoretically be finished in a single sitting. Its puzzles are fun but not altogether challenging. I found Infestor to be a great need to kill five minutes type App. Another great feature of Infestor is its highly achievable achievements.  I’ve developed the habit of completely ignoring iOS game achievements as they’ve seem to be of the I’d never get those in a million years, nor do I have the time or patience to try variety. Infestor‘s achievements are numerous, varied, and most importantly achievable.  This came as a wonderful surprise to me because, as a completionist, I appreciate the ability to enjoy a game and also feel that I’ve satisfactorily mastered it. I did encounter a bug however upon first loading the game, achievements that were only supposed to be awarded once were being repeatedly triggered. This continued until my iPhone lost service while on an airplane and corrected itself once it reconnected.  If anything this was more humorous than slightly annoying and by no means game breaking.

In terms of visual style, controls, sound design, and mechanics, Infestor could easily be placed into a full sized cabinet and parked between Space Invaders and Centipede in some retro arcade and feel right at home. In a market flooded with mediocre money grabs and gimmicks, Infestor is an entertaining dollar well spent. It does occasionally get selected as a free app giveaway but you will not be disappointed should you choose to purchase it. I’m always apprehensive when loading a new game because typically main menu screens are overloaded with ads, links to other apps to download, and a variety of other distractions. Infestor has none of these and simply wants you to have fun. So have fun and infest ALL the humans!

Pros

  • Entirely capable of achieving 100% completion
  • Hits the retro nail on the head with art direction, gameplay, and music
  • Allows for sessions of several minutes or multiple hours

Cons

  • Achievements occasionally bug-out and are awarded repeatedly
  • Having any kind of screen protector can potentially inhibit control sensitivity

Specifications
Price: $0.99
Players: 1
Platform: iOS (iPod, iPhone, iPad)

Links
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/infestor/id577138009?mt=8
Metacritic: http://www.metacritic.com/game/ios/infestor
Official Website: http://www.ravenousgames.com/games/?page=games

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