iOS App-Aholics Anonymous: [Infestor]

App Name: Infestor
Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Launch Date: 1-17-13
Price: $0.99 / €0.74
App-Aholic Rating: 4.8/5
Watch it Here: Official Game Trailer

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Ravenous Games isn’t exactly new to the AppStore, nor are they new to the platformer genre. Refining the overall aesthetics of everything a gamer would expect from a hommage to the 2D Mario days, Ravenous has proven their worth and dedication across titles such as League of Evil 1 and 2, Random Heroes, and maybe even Beatdown! So how well did their numerous titles aid in the battle for flawless revision of the genre? Eh, not too horribly. Here’s why…

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The Gist: You play as a cute green blob with attitude, chemically-engineered to “infest” its hosts (as you probably gathered from the title) in the battle to triumph over civilization. Said hosts include a man capable of jumping high, a gentleman with a gun, a man who is only able to open doors, and a jet-pack fella who can fly for only short distances. As a blob, you can do very little, so infestation is essential in order to conquer the game. Of course, the blob’s creators never dreamed it could turn against them, but that’s a story for a second Infestor title. As far as this first installment’s concerned, it has a similar look and feel as the League of Evil series (check the playability headline below for more details). There’s no running clock, so the game isn’t based on speed. In fact, it’s more reasonably based on precision and execution of the proper maneuvers required to get the job done. Move your blob from one side of the stage to the goal mark. Sounds easy? Yeah, sometimes, but Infestor has its hurtles as well.

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1) Appearance: 1/1; Pixels upon pixels everywhere, and I must admit it’s in good taste. Isn’t this what nostalgic gaming of the platform genre looked like, after all? In that right, Ravenous has delivered justice to Infestor; it definitely feels like a retro console game in the palm of your hand.

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2) Audio: 1/1; As one would imagine, the 8 bit graphics are respectfully accompanied by corresponding 8 bit sounds. Aside from the whirling synthesizer responsible for the track overlay, there are a lot of sound effects that would keep any retro fan happy: the jumping chirps and laser fire, are spot-on for the genre. While the overall audio used isn’t cutting-edge by any means, it does effectively capture the essence of the time period these types of platformers hailed from.

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3) Playability: 0.8/1; When constructing a platformer for the touch screen, controls are key to the game’s success. Ravenous Games’ track record leaves a dependable level of gameplay to live up to, and they delivered. From your first step, you will begin to think of League of Evil: The idea is to use the direction keys on the left of the screen to move the blob from one spot to the other, using only a small landscape and a puzzle or two to do so. The most difficult challenge you will face (in most levels) is getting around and/defeating the more aggressive enemies.

Playability Woes: Sadly, Ravenous Games did slip up a bit when considering the physical control positions on the touchscreen. When infesting the military man with the gun, the shooting trigger is placed just to the left of the un-infest switch, which is directly beside the jump switch. Understanding which switch does what in those split-second moments can sometimes leave you initiating the wrong maneuver than you intended, often times resulting in termination of the level within which you will have to try again. Instead, the controls should have utilized some sort of triangularly-stacked pattern or even a right-angle, but the three buttons across the bottom, especially on the iPhone 5’s 4″ screen, is usually too awkward to function properly.

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4) Stability: 1/1; No one likes an app/game that crashes, and no one definitely likes a random invisible wall, unintentional sinkholes, or any other blip a developer may miss. Infestor is not one of those games! The overall experience was pretty spotless.

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5) Value: 1/1; One US buck is a cheap price to spend on anything these days. Infestor is a rather short excursion, but combined with the level of gameplay Ravenous Games delivers, there’s little to denying Infestor isn’t worth your single green back. All platformer-lovers should own this one, just for the sake of the joy it will bring at a recession-inspired price tag. Go for it! You’ll enjoy!

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iOSA3 Rating: 4.8/5; If the devs have to put a question mark at the end, it’s most likely not over. This would be a welcome attribute, being that Infestor is a short, relatively simple game to complete (I did in about 24 hrs of on/off gameplay, and I’m sure more avid gamers could shave that time down even more). In my opinion, Ravenous Games has a way of producing simplistic adventures that aren’t too difficult to play, yet they possess a certain addictive quality that will keep you coming back for more. For that, Ravenous has earned a meaningful tip of the hat from 8DAG. Too bad that weird control scheme showed up, or Infestor would’ve received iOSA3’s first perfect score of the year. Maybe next time…

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Sound Off: Now, folks, it’s your turn! Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or general comments about Infestor and/or its developer, Ravenous Games Inc? I personally reply to every comment, and I’d love to hear what you have to say! Just take your cranial debris and throw it down in the box below!

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