Saturday, December 5, 2009


Ikaroids offers us a glimpse of what can happen if you add in some roleplaying elements to an arcade shooter.

Click to download the trial

Now those RPG elements could simply be a distress call from some unknown planet, placed by an XBOX Avatar. But this simple addition adds a lot to the game in my opinion. I am reviewing the trial version of this game which I believe is limited to the first few levels. There could very be well be more and better interactions with NPC Avatars further into the game. I know the game is a shooter at its core, but I think even a simple yes/no choice given in response to a call for help, would further immerse me into the world that Ikaroids creates. Especially if my Avatar is represented in the game as well. Ikaroids tantalizes us at the beginning during ship selection, displaying a model of our Avatars to go along with the ships. Something to think about for future updates.

At first playthrough Ikaroids seems to be a pale imitation of the standards. Hobbled together by a few students in their spare time. Perhaps it is, but there is something to this game that kept me restarting after my countless deaths. I finally switched to Rookie difficulty in order to pass even the first level.
The screenshots offer glimpses of interesting looking bosses and levels.

Ikaroids comes with a somewhat confusing control scheme, but then again all control schemes are confusing until you get used to them. I am a firm believer in controls customization at all levels though. The game asks you to learn that the right bumper is for switching your primary weapons and the right trigger is for switching your secondary weapon. The left stick controls projectile direction of course, but applying a bit more pressure to the thumbstick fires off your secondary weapon. Not exactly the button I would use to make split second decisions with.

I must also state at this point that if I was still a member of the XNA Creators Club I would have failed this game for not having controls to adjust the audio levels. I do enjoy the neoclassical soundtrack to this game but the score is completely overshadowed by the explosion effect, which in this sort of game occurs multiple times a second. Ikaroids has the type of explosion effect that shakes my entire building if I set my stereo to anything above 10. (My stereo goes to 100)

This game features a coop and a survival mode. Since my significant other isn't really a shooter fan I'm not really capable of testing the coop mode. I am sure Survival mode is what it professes to be. The game makes mention of some website you can visit and input your score to. An interesting idea, simpler than the code required to implement the P2P leaderboards currently in use by some games. Perhaps this idea could be taken even further?

I have not broken my vow made 6 months ago. I have placed all my faith in the indie developer. Ikaroids could perhaps be the beginning of a new genre I think. The persistent world shooter. Maybe there already is a persistent world shooter out there? But I am getting ahead of myself again. Sometimes its all I ever do lol.

Go play some games!!

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