Developer: Codex Worlds | Publisher: 1C Company || Overall: 6.0
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Freedom Strike. Its continuing mission: to not really explore anything, to seek out the Wrog, and to boldly blow the buh-Jesus out of them.
What do you get when you combine Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, and a tower defense game? Infinium Strike ::echo::. Infinium Strike sounds like one of those random cool names you’d expect a sci-fi game to be. One part “Infinity” and the other part “-ium.” Don’t ask me what an Infinium is, but its the resource you gather in the game. Thinking about it, I’m not entirely sure why the game isn’t just called Freedom Strike, since that’s the name of the ship you actually commandeer. Freedom Strike’s goal is to hunt down a bio-mechanical race of aliens that have all but pushed back human civilization and space exploration back to its last line of defense. Freedom Strike dives right into the thick of it and seems to be a magnet for humongous portals that the Wrog come through in endless droves. That’s your cue to start lasering everything you can see.
Infinium Strike’s hook is its 360 degree tower defense layout. Albeit, very unique from a tower defense standpoint where enemies typically follow a predetermined path and get laid into by tactfully-placed towers, enemies in Infinium Strike just barrel towards your ship and try to blow it up. You have four platforms to build towers on, each with a limited amount of spots. Depending on the enemies that spawn you’ll have to be aware of what sort of towers should be placed in each quadrant. Each tower has the capability of shooting things within a certain range, known as Sectors. There are three sectors total, and each tower can shoot one, two, or all three sectors in different combinations. Some enemies will start way back in Sector 3 and make their way to Sector 1, while others always stay in Sector 3. There are about as many different combos of enemies as there are towers to build, and if they begin to overwhelm your defenses, you’ll begin to lose Shield and Armor. When Armor gets down to zero, you’ve lost.
Infinium Strike’s unique feature is also its greatest flaw. Once you have to maintain all four quadrants there can be way too many things happening at the same time. Monitoring one or two quadrants is not that challenging but when all four begin to have enemies spawning like crazy you’re going to be going a little bit out of your mind. You will suddenly realize your Shield is taking a pounding because Quandrant 2 didn’t have enough towers that shot into Sectors 2 and 3, while Quadrant 1 has enough for all Sectors, but not for shooting projectiles… etc etc. Its very hard to keep track of your capabilities due to the fact there are four different tower defense games going on and none of the platforms help each other while they are idle.
A large part of the challenge in a tower defense game usually comes in placement of towers, which can inspire you to replay or retry learning what you failed at. Infinium Strike unfortunately rips out a large part of what makes tower defense fun by only having about eight spots in a horizontal line. Most of the towers you’re going to want to rely on are laser-based, since they are the cheapest to place and upgrade, which lessens variety. Towers upgrade their damage only by paying an increasingly exorbitant cost, but while you may opt to do that, you have to upgrade your base several times to get some vital buffs that allow you to live longer when the going gets tough. Upgrading your base is kind of a no-brainer but at the same time you’re going to have to spend millions of Infinium to get it to its max level.
A fun mechanic that helps you reinforce one of your quadrants temporarily is the use of your drone Fleet. There are three types of drones to use, all doing different things, and have a life span of about 30 seconds unless you upgrade. You can summon a few here and there, but they cost a portion of a bar that maxes out at 250; the bar recharges at one unit per second. Using your Fleet effectively is a must as you’ll always have at least one quadrant being overrun and you want to make sure they are all in a manageable state as much as possible.
Unfortunately despite turning the genre around on its head a bit, Infinium Strike is dull. The actual action of things blowing up isn’t very satisfying and kind of gets downgraded to a fireworks show. The graphics are fine, but the alien designs aren’t that great. The ship you are in charge of is an okay design but the tower defense platforms are kind of an eye-sore on the design of the thing. It could remind you of the ship Battlestar Galactica, but only if they glued some rectangular boards on top of it. Through the 10 missions, you’ll be treated to a little Captain’s log voice over that gives more info about the Wrog (the aliens) and the conflict that is going on between them and humanity. There are also different difficulty levels and extra objectives to meet if you are particularly inclined to complete them. Another itchy point is that despite going through the motions of upgrading your base over and over and building towers, you always start the next mission with nothing. There is no explanation about why you lost all of the progress you made in developing your ship in the last fight. Considering there is no meta game where you are upgrading your ship through the campaign, it of course makes sense gameplay-wise why you start with a clean slate each mission.
Infinium Strike doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. Other than its interesting tower defense scenario and a light sci-fi story to go along with it, there won’t be much enjoyment to find in the dredges of space. I guess we know now why the Wrog want to destroy all of humanity, and its because one of them played Infinium Strike.