“Ya gotta have a gimmick,” as Sondheim said, and Infinium Strike has a really good gimmick. It’s a tower defense game, and the gimmick is that you’re commanding a spaceship—humanity’s last hope for survival—and that the enemy is coming at you from four sides. You pick your attacks, upgrade your base and defense, and collect resources. And at the next level, everything resets.
But it looks beautiful, and that just might be enough.
The backstory is straight out of Starblazers; humanity has expanded into the far reaches of space and Very Mean Aliens (without any explanation) have virtually wiped Us out. One ship, one last, hopeful ship, has been launched to defeat the invaders. The Freedom. Yes, that is actually its name. But it is Not Like Other Ships, the Freedom is made of Infinium, a “living titanium” that can upgrade and repair itself.
The Freedom has four quadrants, and the enemy can attack from all of them. You have between 4-5 active turrets, and the enemies attack in zones from range one to three.
You have to select which weapons to put in the turrets based on the ships attacking—which have very specific ranges—and you can upgrade the turrets and your ship, giving you power for more turrets.
This is all limited by “Infinium,” which you harvest from destroyed ships, and which all mysteriously disappears between levels. You always start back at level one. You can also use Infinium to launch fighters (which, again, attack at specific ranges), and you have special abilities that recharge your shields, armor, and launch mega-attacks.
The game looks gorgeous. The backgrounds are rendered as a colorful palette of nebulas and warp gates, and the game play keeps it lively as you have to switch from quadrant to quadrant. Each attack depletes your shields (for the entire ship). It’s one of those games that’s easy to play until it isn’t, going from tutorial to difficult in a single mission. Luckily this isn’t an iOS game which means you don’t have to Pay To Win, and it’s just a matter of learning how to manage the attacks.
Each level also has a single objective (survive) along with to alternate objectives (like maintain an armor level and accumulate Infinium) that rank your success. You can also select higher difficulties for better rank on the leaderboards.
Infinium Strike is maybe the best looking tower defense game I’ve seen in some time. Instead of confusing paths that the enemy has to follow for some reason, it has set ranges in which they have to stay. The added confusion of having to follow four quadrants adds a sense of urgency, and the multiple upgrade paths (both for the weapons and the ship) is another level of complexity. The resetting of the ship makes no sense, but what the hell? It’s like being in an ’80s anime series.
Genre: Tower Defense
Developer: Codex Worlds
Minimum Requirements: OS X 10.8, 2 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, Intel HD, Nvidia GeForce or ATI Radeon 1.5 GB VRAM or higher graphics card, 2.5 GB available hard disk space
Price: $14.99 (on sale for $12.74 at press time)
Availability: Now on Steam