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Star Marine: Infinite Ammo Review

By , on January 17, 2012


Star Marine: Infinite Ammo
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Throwback gameplay that may appeal to the classic gamer in you.
  • Big guns, big enemies, big bosses.
  • Unlockables ramp up the madness; when you can afford them.

CONS

  • No choice in using power-ups (icarus, stims); feels like a forced cash-grab when combined with the gem system.
  • No quick restarts; forced to quit to menu first.
  • Counter-intuitive jumping mechanics; novel at first, but quickly becomes frustrating thanks to limited control system.

VERDICT

Star Marine: Infinite Ammo is a 'classic' shooter in almost ever sense of the phrase; its design philosophy may bring back the challenging and fun over the top insanity of the days of old, but it also brings back an Arcade-like brutality that rewards memorization over skill.


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Some games walk a fine edge between success and failure - sometimes it's hard to know the precipice is even there at times, which makes it all the more surprising when you plunge right over it. Star Marine: Infinite Ammo by GlitchSoft doesn't quite fall in to that extreme category, but its handful of minor bugaboos and oh-so-easy to mess up upgrade system can leave you experiencing an almost entirely different game to what others might describe to you.

Star Marine places you in the combat boots of a typically paper-thin brick-headed action hero intent on mass destruction of an entire race of robots because he can. You know, the usual motivation of a classic shooter from the 80s and early 90s. Speaking of which the first impression you'll have of the game is exactly that of a classic platformer, notably Contra with its basic left/right/duck controls and jump/fire buttons and 8-direction firing.

At this point the cracks start to appear and the level designs (though resplendent in their 16-bit pixel-art style) don't ever seem to take this method of firing in to account. Enemy position, ramps and other level features seem to be designed specifically to counter the marine's 45 degree shooting angles, though weapon pick-ups (unlocked via earned gems) can make up for this shortcoming. Rote practice and memorization of levels also helps (allowing you to spawn enemies or shoot at them before they appear), but this removes an element of skill from the equation.

Unfortunately the gem system itself is yet another point of contention, with weapons and upgrades being restricted to those who have farmed earlier levels (or completed various achievements) and it's all too easy to find yourself starved for gems if you choose the wrong upgrades early on. Players are further crippled by the game's system of stockpiled 'lives' that come in limited supply and require gems to replenish (run out of lives and you're stuck with 1 per level until you cough up more gems).

However, when things go right, Star Marine: Infinite Ammo comes off as the perfect throwback to a bygone era of mindless, brutal and highly rewarding platformers that made you feel like a badass. Big guns, big bosses and plenty of enemies to slaughter - it's testosterone fueled mayhem and it's hard not to be pulled in.

Sadly the darker side of Star Marine lurks in the shadows, ready to take over and flip the fun and turn it in to something frustrating.

Screenshots

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Comments

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Charpang 2 years, 7 months ago

This game reminds me of Contra. Actually it looks very similar in ways like blasting aliens and the whole controle scheme.