Have you ever heard of indie XBLA developer Radiangames? I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of the company as I haven’t played many of their games. The one I do own I blasted through, loved and haven’t touched since the day I bought it. Yeah, it’s a bit sad. On the plus side, I have its spiritual successor, Inferno+ on my PC to keep me warm.
Inferno+ is a “labyrinthine” arena shooter. The reason the word “labyrinthine” is in quotes is because the levels are set-up in a simple maze-like design. You take your ship blasting away at every single circle shape that crosses your path until you reach the exit. After so many levels your ship earns an upgrade. Upgrade points can then be spent on health, fire rate, stun ability, shield duration, multiple shots and speed (to name most of the skills). And before you can use these skills, they’re unlocked by spending your score. You also can change your ship type (for a small fee) to fit the proper situation.
Thankfully, the game controls very well. This is especially true if you have a gamepad controller. I like aiming and moving with the analog sticks as it just feels a bit more natural to me (I’m a console gamer at my core). The problem I had with this is properly setting up the X and Y aiming axis’ in the settings (you know, the right analog stick) as it does not naturally choose the proper setting. Once that’s done, everything is a go. Holding down the right trigger button uses the shield and the left trigger as the bomb. It’s a simple game, and it’s hard to mess up simplicity.
Graphically, Inferno+ is simple. One could argue that it is a high resolution 8-bit game, filled with circles and thick lines. Checkered lines mark the background along with pure black. Gunfire zooms across the screen. Yet nothing is confusing, and it isn’t hard to figure out where to go.
Sound design reflects the simple design as well. There are the usual firing shots and a “disappearing” shield effect. The music is techno-inspired and does a great job of keeping the blood pumping with its bursting beats. What I don’t like about it is that the music is a bit generic and doesn’t stay with the player very long. I do know that if you listen to something else while playing it won’t fit as well.
Overall, Inferno+ is a solid arena shooter-’em up. What I like about the game is its creative take on the arena shooter genre and is, somehow, oddly addictive. When the mood hits just right, I can lose myself in this game. Other times, it’s a nice palette cleanser between games. It’s a solid, retro-inspired game that most definitely needs some attention. It costs $5, so it won’t burn the bank on most budgets. That’s not a bad deal, eh?