Monday, 18 July 2016 00:00

Infinium Strike Review

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You’re the commanding officer of the last defense for human civilization, Operation Freedom Strike.

Under your direction, the most advanced ship ever crafted will be lead against the seemingly unstoppable alien menace, the Wrog. Infinium Strike is developer Codex World’s first release, described as a tower defense game but with a fresh take on the genre.

The “tower” is actually the ship, The Freedom Strike, and the entire goal of the game is to prevent its destruction. It seems pretty straightforward, but there are of course complications to this. The Freedom Strike is divided into four quadrants, with each having it’s own weapons platform system and launch bay. There are three different types of resources, but the one you will be using the most is Infinium. It is conveniently salvaged from the wreckage of your enemies, so destroying enemy vessels is the only way to keep up the war effort. Infinium is used to craft and upgrade turrets on the weapons platforms and to ‘level up’ your ship. Leveling up your ship allows you to place more turrets in each quadrant and grants access to more powerful turrets as well as SuperTech abilities. The launch bay is where you use the second resource type Fleet Points, which are generated passively and used to purchase drones that perform a single function and persist for several seconds. These are usually stronger than their turret counterparts, and you are limited from spamming them by substantial costs. The third resource is SuperTech, which is just a timed super ability such as “Generate More Resource” which allows more Infinium to be gathered from Wrog ships than normal. My personal favorite was the Shield Shot, which sent a massive shot into a single quadrant and destroyed the vast majority of enemy ships there.

Enemies arrive via wormholes and are announced several seconds in advance via a monitor on the bottom left of your screen. If you are paying attention, you will be given time to prepare your defenses, but as the levels get harder, it becomes more and more of a hassle to pay attention to what is coming versus the armada already in front of you. Each quadrant is separated into three sectors with sector three being where the Wrog portals spawn. Each Wrog ship has a preferred area to attack from, and each turret has a sector that it covers. The most basic turret only fires in sector one, but fires relatively quickly compared to other turrets. It is best used for the fast attack ships that dive in and out in waves. The most powerful turret is the rail gun, and it only fires on the third sector and is used to destroy the larger attack vessels. Building turrets of the same type grants them a 10% attack bonus, up to 40%, but in the more intense battles this was usually relegated to a “win more” mechanic as once a setup was working successfully, the attack speed bonus was negligible. I only found it useful when I couldn’t clear the swarms of sector one attack-fighters. This turret system forms the backbone of the strategy found in Infinium Strike. If the turrets are the backbone, the drones are the killing blow. There are three types of drones: the lowest-cost tackles the small attack fighters that blot out the radar of sector one, the middle-cost drones intercept projectiles that target your turrets, and the most expensive drones take out Wrog capital ships in a few shots. Applying the correct drone at the correct time is crucial to success in later stages and in the arcade mode.

Now that the gameplay is out of the way, let's talk about the actual game. It feels unfinished.

It feels like someone had a really good idea and started to make it into Infinium Strike, then got bored and just half-assed it the rest of the way to get on with something else that had their attention. The premise, while generic, is still really cool. Alien invasion? Check. High-tech advanced space cruiser? Check. Unique defense system with interesting and deep ramifications on how you play the game? Not really. Graphics that look like Activision’s 2000 PC release Star Trek: Armada? Check. Infinium Strike looks really good at first glance, but when you get more into it, you begin to see the severe lack of polish. Most apparent is the low-res, low-poly graphics that look like they came from the early 2000s. I really hate to be “that guy” but when a tower defense game is released with graphics that look on par with video games from almost two decades ago it becomes a real issue. The appeal found in dominoes is the same appeal in tower defense games. You create an awesome setup and watch it fold out. It’s just hard to look at it when the ‘bombs’ your enemy launches look like the sparkler fireworks kids run around with during the 4th of July. The enemy animations are clunky, relatively undetailed and are sometimes not even present (looking at you, Wrog capital ships). The animations of lasers, explosions, and incoming projectiles are atrocious at worst and cheesy at best. I will say that the backdrops for the areas you visit are pleasant looking, but you don’t really interact with them so once the action starts, it’s hard to appreciate it. The game just does not look good. I feel as though I’m brushing this off, but the audio is nothing to report on. The lasers sound like lasers and the bombs or ships exploding sound like bombs or ships exploding. The trumpet fanfare played after missions reminds me of the movie Patton.

Thankfully the strategy isn’t in the same state. Granted, there isn’t much, but it’s better than the visual side. The main game itself is a dull affair, not that this is necessarily bad, we just want to blow stuff up right? Once the game does ramp up in difficulty, it becomes incredibly difficult to manage the four quadrants, and you will have to constantly micro-manage each quadrant. The strategy employed is usually just build turrets to counter the portals and let it play out while using drones and SuperTech when needed. This is where the game shines, and I wish I could say that I played this for hours trying to hold of the Wrog horde. Unfortunately, you reach the pinnacle of everything you can do very quick and it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough to warrant a game.

Infinium Strike is a great game for someone who is looking to pick something up to play for a bit then let it sit in their library for several months before trying it out again. I’ll admit that when I enjoyed it, I really did enjoy it. But the moment was so fleeting that it felt like it was one long tease. When it comes down to it this game does not have enough content, be it depth of strategy or breadth of enemies/modes to justify the asking price. With that being said, Codex World’s upcoming title Battlecursed looks really good.


The Verdict

I hope that Codex Worlds improves from where they started. I’d recommend Infinium Strike to anyone who enjoys arcade style defense games because that fits this game better than PC tower defense. It’s fun for a few hours, but after you experience everything and try to push it higher, it grows dull.

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Collin Dowdy

Collin is just another college grad who realized how much real life gets in the way of video games. So in a valiant effort to avoid real life, Collin is taking a step beyond just watching and playing video games and is now writing about what he plays. He enjoys RPGs, strategy/grand strategy, platformers and story/puzzle games. Outside of video games, Collin goes to work and plays on his 3DS or world builds. He's always watching Twitch. It's a wonderful life.