While I was browsing around Indiegames.com (because I’m hip and cool) I saw an article on Radiangames Inferno. I’m not really a fan of Geometry Wars and I’ll admit that games like Tilt to Live and Radiangames’ own JoyJoy strike a little close to that for me to really get into. Now I love shooters (Ikaruga, Deathsmiles, and the like) because they are the tried and true soul of the video game, and they’re just energetic pulse pumping fun. The Geometry Wars archetype on the other hand “you can’t win.” You can see how far you can get, but you’ll never win and it bugs me a little (although that never stopped me from loving Canabalt so I’m bit of a hypocrite). Inferno on the other hand is like JoyJoy or Geometry Wars but divided into levels a la Gauntlet.
If you’re not familiar with the style, these kinds of games are called dual stick shooters. The left stick is what you use to maneuver and the right is to aim your attacks. In Inferno you are also given a short-lived shield with the right trigger and bombs with the left. Enemies become increasingly difficult and numerous as you progress and the levels become a little tougher to navigate. There are also some very useful RPG elements tossed in for good measure.
Is there a lot of substance in Inferno? God yes! One reason why I love the shooter formula is because it is entirely skill-based. In a shooter the brain is constantly working, tactical and alert. Is there story? God no! Story has always served to bog down good shooters with uninteresting melodrama (see Deathsmiles). Inferno is great fun within its plotless pretensions and will keep you having fun for a good few hours.
Coupled with the satisfying gameplay Inferno bleeds neon-infused style and is a joy to look at. If you enjoyed JoyJoy and Geometry Wars or are a solid shooter or Gauntlet fan then this is a game you need to grab. If you aren't then you might still want to look into it. For 1 dollar on Xbox Live Indie Games there is way too much content to ignore: 30+ levels and 1-4 person co-op. I would love to see as many people playing this gem as possible.