By Marisa Alexander / November 18th, 2019
|Release Date||September 19th, 2019|
|Platform||Switch, PS4, PC, iOS, Xbox One|
|Age Rating||Rated E for Mild Fantasy Violence|
For Radiangames, Inferno 2 is their first console release since 2011. The sequel to their acclaimed Inferno+, it is a twin-stick shooter sporting over 80 levels filled with exploration and dangerous enemies to combat. Without any story, the main appeal is simple the raw gameplay. Having gone through all levels, can it ride on that alone?
In the game, there are four shot types, missile types, powers, and upgrade capabilities each for your ship. You start off with the choice of one shot and missile type and naturally accumulate the rest throughout the beginning levels. Throughout the game you also earn experience by defeating enemies, completing levels, and opening item boxes. After a certain threshold, you gain an upgrade point that can be used to power up weapons, ship, and powers.
As far as exploration goes, it is very basic without any complexity. Most levels feature gates that require keys to get through, so the main focus is traversing around the environment in order to progress. Another aspect are fake and destructible walls that bar many of the game’s secrets. These usually contain item boxes, 2X EXP multiplier, or even shortcut passes through gates to save keys for future levels. Occasionally, there is an alternative exit that leads to a bonus level. These levels mainly contain gold and supplies where you gather as much as you can within the time limit.
For every five levels, you are greeted with a level type that ranges from survival, destroying all cores, or defeating a boss. Unfortunately, I feel most levels in this game lack any momentum. One of the biggest offenders about this is the excessive use of enemy spawners. These spawn enemies to such a large degree and the way they are littered across levels bogs the pace of any level down if you try to play remotely carefully. On the other hand, once you get large amounts of missiles, as well as the power to delete enemy projectiles around you for a given time, you can then blast through levels with reckless abandon.
This leads to the other issue on how the game’s balance is relatively poor. Out of the shot types, there is little point in not using the shot type that ricochets off walls, the power that deletes projectiles, or the two missile types that go through walls or explode into smaller explosive pieces. Using anything else I felt like I was making the game much harder than I should. As such, these are the weapons that make the pace of the game remotely decent.
Enemy variety as a whole is actually pretty good, despite this. There are many different enemies the game throws at you and they all have different methods to approach you. The real problem occurs when, outside of a few instances, the game does not seem to try and mix enemy types with purpose. Sometimes the composition of enemies have a haphazard feeling, rather than to try and make sure you approach the game in a variety of ways.
As for Inferno 2’s presentation, it’s rather decent. It has good sound and visual effects that give the game some flair. However, levels rarely switch color-wise, so everything begins to blend in together. There is also rarely any standout level design choices, so levels tend to lack personality. It doesn’t help that exploration is rarely engaging. Combined with a lackluster soundtrack, the game has a dull atmosphere and style.
As a whole, Inferno 2 was an exceptionally lackluster experience with hardly any highlights. For a twin-stick shooter RPG hybrid, I believe Radiangames perhaps should’ve made sure the level design and balance was more spot-on. For $4.99 and a roughly 4-6 hour experience, it is a fine enough purchase for fans of the genre, especially if played on co-op. However, if you are looking for something more exceptional, either wait for the game to go on sale or look elsewhere. For a sequel to a critically acclaimed title, I was woefully disappointed with the package delivered.
Review copy provided by the publisher
2Awesome StudioiosPCPS4RadiangamesSwitchTwin stick shooterXbox One