Old school gamers who loved the Contra series may finally be able to unplug their original Nintendo: GlitchSoft has released their version of a run-and-gun space adventure, called Star Marine: Infinite Ammo. Both Contra and Star Marine: Infinite Ammo have a very similar feel to them, both by the way they control, as well as the way they look. Despite the similarities, it doesn’t take away from what Star Marine is trying to do: entertain gamers.
This single-player mode gives gamers two different options for game play. The first mode is the story mode, which follows Arc, a vagabond marine who has been caught by an alien race in the depths of space. Rather than being enslaved by these non-human creatures, Arc attempts to escape their clutches and blast his way through the entire race of alien scum. Arc is equipped with one machine gun and an infinite amount of ammo. The object of the game is to eradicate all the aliens and set our hero free. Along the way, you will fight your way through blast doors, aliens, and difficult bosses to achieve your freedom.
The second mode of game play is called “Extras”, a survival mode where the player must battle through a never-ending horde of aliens. You also have the option to take on all the toughest bosses for a greater challenge. These additional levels really add a significant amount of depth to the game, and it gives players a reason to play the game past completing the campaign mode.
Whether you play the game in the campaign mode or the survival mode, the goal is the same: to earn as many gems as possible. These gems allow a player to purchase upgrades that power-up Arc. These power-ups help make Arc more effective in combat through various ways: upgrading your armor, acquiring more health packs, damage and weapon upgrades, etcetera. Any way you go, these power-ups help increase the player’s ability to kill aliens and last longer in combat, which is always a good thing. Gamers can also purchase specialized weapons, namely nuclear weapons, which will clear the level of enemies.
Gems can be earned the traditional way or, for those who want an edge, purchased at the online store. If you choose to earn gems the traditional way, the challenges menu shows you what you need to do to earn gems. For example, firing 2500 bullets will earn you a gem; it doesn’t always take a lot to earn gems. Though I don’t always agree with the ability to purchase your progress in games, it’s ultimately unnecessary, as there are plenty of opportunities to earn them.
Controlling Arc takes some time and effort to master. The first level is essentially a tutorial, and you will need that time to get used to the control scheme. Though the game is a little difficult to get used to at first, you will quickly master the controls and be killing aliens before you know it. Though the control scheme requires a certain amount of dexterity, the simplicity will allow gamers to enjoy their experience, whether a newcomer or a veteran.
Finally, the game allows for up to five profiles to be saved. This is great for players who want to try different combinations of weapons. Figuring out what combinations work best is a lot of fun, and it can lead to a more efficient domination of the alien race. This is just another great example of how this game really tried to encourage its audience to replay this game as often as possible.
While Star Marine has numerous positive aspects, there are a few areas of missed opportunity. The starting sequence of the game introduces players to Arc, explaining his situation and setting to the player. While this introduction is a nice touch, it leaves something to be desired; the storyboard is not narrated, which would have greatly improved this intro.
Additionally, while the controls are easy to master, a player has to fire at a very specific angle to properly kill the aliens. It is a minor point of contention, but it does provide some frustration from time to time. Finally, the soundtrack of the game is below average. It gets lost in the gameplay and misses the opportunity to really immerse the player in the universe of Star Marine. Most gamers will not stop and listen to what is playing in the background, but it really would have added a lot of atmosphere to the gameplay.
Overall, the positives of the game outweigh the negatives. Contra and non-Contra fans alike will enjoy playing this game. With all the variety this game offers, gamers will appreciate the effort that went into creating it. GlitchSoft has certainly left their mark on the run-and-gun genre. I will be sure to take a look at their other three releases, and you should too; for now, though, Star Marine: Infinite Ammo deserves 7 out of 10 aliens destroyed.
This review is based off of a review copy of the iOS version of Star Marine: Infinite Ammo by GlitchSoft