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Infinium Strike / 3rd of August 2016

£11.99 for a Tower Defence game?!

I had to preface with this because tower defence games generally just go on phones and cost 99p. I'm not saying that they must go on phones and have to be sub £1; Hidden Path Entertainment's excellent Defence Grid series, Puppygames' charming Revenge of the Titans and Trendy Entertainment's cartoony, energetic Dungeon Defenders all released at around the £10 mark. The problem with the above of course is that they highlight that which will likely prove to be Infinium Strike’s biggest obstacle; there’s absolutely no lack of quality sub-premium priced tower defence games - I’ve only named three there, and I can think of at least three more without any real thought. That and the above examples all released over half a decade ago. Now, I hate to compare games too much, especially on their price, games should stand on their own merits but it’s difficult to avoid comparison when there’s this much market saturation and while the average human being only lives eighty-two years. Anyway, I digress, on with the proper review then.

The game works fine, technically, it runs in all the normal resolutions for sensible people and it looks okay. I have to state that it looks okay because in doing some research I read many, many previews saying it looks gorgeous. It doesn’t, OK? It looks okay. The visual effects of lasers and lights look nice, and the backgrounds look good, but it all feels a bit flat, with objects in space not quite feeling like they fit there. Visually I don’t expect much from an indie game and Codex Worlds’ game looks fine enough, I’m just deeply confused with the statement that it looks fantastic to the point where I’m wondering if the graphics settings are possibly bugged as there is minimal perceivable difference between different graphics settings, and none of them look like the screenshots I’ve seen elsewhere. Sadly, for it, that kind of sets the tone for the whole game in my eyes.
Of course, I must point out that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Infinium Strike. It’s competently made, it never made me feel like the gameplay mechanics treated me unfairly and the rules of the game were always clear to me...just like any good tower defence game.
In it, a variety of foes approach and attack a point you deem to be important and you stop them before they can break it...again, this is just like any other good tower defence game. I do hate to compare games, really I do, honest! But it’s so difficult when a game is such a good example of a figurative arithmetic mean of a genre, Infinium Strike is simply your run-of-the-mill, dependable tower defence game.

Infinium Strike, however, technically does have a sort of unique mechanic that goes in its favour; rather than a path your enemies walk down, or a blank field with a path you form from your towers, guiding the enemies, your ship has four sides, each side will be attacked with different types of enemy, at different times, unfortunately eventually all 4 sides will be attacked by all types of enemy, so the dominant strategy is just to protect each side against all comers, as best as possible. I call this mechanic “sort of unique”, because I’ve played a lot of Plants Versus Zombies, and that’s literally defending five lanes from a variety of different enemy types that spawn in at different times but will eventually come down all available lanes, meaning that you need to defend each and every point of entry from all enemy types. Though of course, Plants Versus Zombies has considerably more levels, and each batch of levels requires a different strategy as new enemies are introduced.
I don’t want to talk about the length of games like it matters too much, lots of short games are infinitely replayable, and video games are almost always the best value form of entertainment in price versus the length of time that the player is entertained, but the game’s campaign is only about three hours long and while there are unlockable difficulty levels, I really can’t see those making it any more appealing, sadly.

Infinium Strike isn’t a bad game really, it’s just average. If you really like the tower defence genre but prefer your tactical action to take place in a space based setting, then it might just be your best option. Otherwise I can’t really recommend it over any of the examples I’ve given in this review. They’re all far more accomplished games with considerably more content and on top of that, they’re all cheaper too. I genuinely would never have played this if it wasn’t a review copy simply because I already own half a dozen tower defence games that I picked up in humble bundles, so just do what I would have; give it a miss until it’s available at half price. Of course, you always have the option of completely ignoring me because there’s a demo for it on Steam and Give it a go and, if you think I’m wrong about it, tweet me to tell me I’m full of shit.
Paddy Maxson
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