Space Invaders is old but, through fresh distribution methods, Infinity Gene is in-line with modern day expectations. It's a visually stimulating sh'mup that's certain to please fans of the arcade genre.
Space Invaders may be over 30-years old, but Infinity Gene looks like it was made in 2010. Taito's done a brilliant job bringing the classic shooter's visual style in-line with that of modern-day expectations. Playing into the game's "evolution" theme, the title begins with Space Invader's original look, before morphing into 2D and 3D vector visuals. It's a disc0-like sensory treat, with a thumping techno soundtrack providing the back-drop to Space Invader's decidely retro gameplay.
Infinity Gene's key mechanic is derived from the concept of evolution. As points are earned, the game's default ship can be powered up. There are a number of different weapon types available, ranging from "lock-on" to "shockwave". Evolution also grants new abilities, such as movement on the Z-plane and increased firing rate. The evolution aspect - while overplayed by the game's references to Charles Darwin - gives the game an addictive progression quality that can make it hard to put down. It also gives the package a good difficulty curve. While the levels get frequently more challenging, the craft's abilities balance that — giving a sense of power and ensuring there's never a frustrating difficulty spike.
The main campaign can become a bit repetitive, as the game too frequently depends on the same boss fights and enemy types; but the visual style makes it an interesting endeavour, even though the formula's played out before the ending credits.
Aside from the game's standard campaign, Infinity Gene boasts a number of other modes. Both Challenge and Bonus Mode are fairly self-explanatory, while the game's Music Mode is a particularly delightful music visualiser that generates levels based on the audio that happens to accomodate your PlayStation 3's hard-drive.
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene does enough to reinvigorate a classic franchise, while staying true to its origins. Visually it's a fascinating ride, and the introduction of unique weapon-types and an RPG-esque progression system make it a worthwhile experience - even if it does fail to seriously build upon Space Invader's gameplay origins.