I’m a bit partial to a good old-fashioned arcade shoot ’em up. A game I ploughed hours and hours into, chasing leaderboards and top accolades, was Geometry Wars. If Inferno 2+ can offer something even remotely similar to this, I’ll be a very happy chappy indeed.
Inferno 2+ is a twin-stick action RPG from Radiangames, the sequel to their well received Inferno+. Originally released as a mobile game, it has now made the leap to Xbox. You can play the game solo or with a friend in cooperative mode. As this is a classic style shooter, the left thumbstick is used to move and the right to fire. Your ship is equipped with weapons and missiles that vary in terms of range and blast radius, and there are four of each to collect and upgrade. You can cycle through these at any time with LB and RB, however RB switches missiles on the left of the screen and vice versa, so at first it can be a bit confusing selecting the weapon you want.
Inferno 2+’s RPG elements manifest themselves in terms of an upgrade system for your ship, in which you choose carefully how to spend your hard-earned points to boost your attributes. Points are earned as you complete levels according to how well you play – as you’d expect – and it is these which can be used to improve your ship’s weapons, missiles and powers. You can check these anytime from the ship status option in the pause menu.
Powers, however, allow you to really turn the tide against the enemy. The first you unlock – that of Overdrive – makes you faster and more powerful for a limited time. The refresh rate is quite lengthy for these, of which there are also four to acquire, so choosing when to use your powers is absolutely key.
Each level in Inferno 2+ is essentially a maze in which you’ll need to blast your way to the key(s) to unlock the exit portal. The beauty here is that you can explore for more gold and goodies if you like, but if you don’t fancy your chances you can just grab the key and get the hell outta’ there. You’ll start to familiarise yourself with each enemy’s behaviours as you explore the expansive neon labyrinth, and this will be key to surviving the later levels. Your ship has a substantial health bar and can take a fair few hits before it’s game over, but thankfully upon death you’ll only have to restart your current level as progress is automatically saved as you go.
If you can’t access an area at first, it may open as a result of you doing any number of things. It’s best to keep checking back, even if it seems impossible at first. Doing so will be worth it too, as small pink “treasure chests” will hold essential drops such as health, gold, ammo and more. Exploring is key and in some levels there is a bonus exit to find. This takes you to an extra area where, in a sort of futuristic Supermarket Sweep setup, you grab as many goodies as you can against the clock.
In most levels you’ll find the shop, where you can spend your hard earned gold on all sorts of things. This is also the place where you can swap which power you have equipped. Beware, however, as you can only visit once per level, so you will most certainly need to time it wisely.
Inferno 2+ has a gradual difficulty curve as things become slightly more challenging as you play the game. That said, you may well find yourself turning the difficulty up to “volcanic”, as on “Hot” (medium), it’s still pretty manageable. This can be changed at any time, but doing so will restart your current level.
There are over 80 levels to beat in Inferno 2+, and for £4.19 it’s an absolute bargain. On every fifth level you’ll get to play a slightly different style of stage, which includes survival and boss battles amongst others. It’s a simple but effective way to mix up the gameplay and keep things interesting. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a “New Game+” mode which you unlock when you complete the main game, to provide even more replayability.
Inferno 2+ has a striking neon style that’s incredibly colourful, especially when you’re swamped by numerous different explosive effects, and it is the visuals which really come into their own when things get frantic. Throughout, the experience remains smooth with no noticeable lag. It’s a game that’s pleasing on the eye, but also pretty straining if you’re playing in the dark.
In terms of the soundtrack, it’s pleasant enough if a little generic, but suits the action perfectly. The sound effects are brilliant though, and compliment the arcade shooter experience.
Inferno 2+ on Xbox One is a solid, thumping tribute to the twin-stick shooter genre. Its RPG elements provide some differentiation from the crowd and there’s loads to keep you busy. Make sure to *ahem* ‘shoot over’ to the Xbox Store and pick this one up.