AIPD is a top-down twin-stick shooter with tron inspired neon visuals as you aim kill the artificial intelligence enemies and get high scores across different modes and difficulties.
There are 5 modes to choose from: standard mode which increases in difficulty with every round, “tough transporters” where super weapon transporters are fully upgraded, “hostile space” where environmental dangers are all present, “high-tech armada” which has enemies start with all abilities and finally a “design” mode where you can customise your rule set and gain a higher starting multiplier bonus.
The player can choose from 6 different weapons (gatling, shotgun etc) so they can pick the weapon that suits their play style and can also give you a boost in co-op as you can have a good variety of weapons across your friends and there are also 6 modifications to choose from which have different benefits (and limitations) around various aspects of your ship like the shields and weapon cooling.
Aside from your main weapon you can also collect super weapons and pick-ups which can also help you stay alive and increase your score.
Enemies come at you in waves with 15 in total and a “boss” at the end and at the end of each round you go to a new screen where you choose between two challenges which strengthen your enemies but also give you extra multiplier (the amount depends on what you choose), there are also boss waves where you fight against a more powerful enemy which can have multiple parts to beating it.
So whats good?
The game is build with Unreal Engine 4 and looks really great, the visuals immediately stand out and are sharp with lots of effects and has a really nice glow to it as you are fighting against the different varieties of enemies, the art style which makes it look like Geometry Wars 2 with the effects comes across really well.
It has 4 difficulty options which you can select before you start playing: easy, normal, hard and “blazing” so it really depends which one meets your skill level, blazing is great fun in co-op play with a bunch of modifiers on, if you have two reasonably well skilled players it’s a lot of fun. Choosing a difficulty is nice because rather than suffering at a similar point every time in other games if you hit your skill limit you can keep going and even move up to the next one as you improve.
The gameplay is general has a lot going for it and is really enjoyable, the overheating of the main weapon means you can’t just hold down right trigger to shoot so you need to be skilful and carefully choose where you are aiming to clear enemies so you can give your weapons a very short rest to avoid overheating. If you do overheat you eject a heat bomb which can inflict damage on the ship if you are within the radius. Collect special weapons and pick-ups to assist you is nice and if used correctly can really help overcome the overheating problem.
I liked trying out the different weapon choices (which need to be unlocked) as well as the modifications which will suit players differently depending on what their skills and weaknesses are but the customisation options are a nice touch. My favourite weapon is the laser which gets really powerful
Local co-op with a friend is a lot of fun and is better for the higher difficulties as blazing in particular can be extremely difficult and up to 4 players can give you a real good challenge against it. All the different options for weapons etc I mentioned above can also give you a well-rounded group of weapons as well.
Whats not so good?
The menus are a bit annoying, having a cursor you move across the screen like you are using a mouse seems like a strange decision and doesn’t really add anything, it’s particularly unintuitive when you are customising the design mode, snapped the cursor choices just works better on consoles.
It lacks a continuous mode which is a bit disappointing. After you finish a wave it breaks up the play with the challenge screens to choose a new ability for enemies but also gives you extra multiplier, I didn’t really like it that much. I was hoping it would just constantly respawn enemies and let me fight against them.
As well as that if you design a custom game and choose all the challenges available from the beginning it still takes you to the challenge screen except there’s nothing there and the ship just zooms into the distance before taking you back to the area which seems a bit pointless. I also would have preferred it if when I did a custom game it didn’t force the options I didn’t choose on me anyway as they will appear on the challenge screen if you didn’t select any before hand.
The local co-op multiplayer is nice but its a bit of a shame it doesn’t have online multiplayer even if it was limited to 2 players, I would like to see someone do this properly sometime and let me see how well it actually works.
How it runs?
The technical side of it is very impressive, I wouldn’t necessarily write about this sort of thing for a game like AIPD but the 60 frames per second mixed in with the incredible visuals mean it looks really great and runs smooth as butter as well which would you would expect and want.
Overall they aren’t too difficult, reaching a lifetime score of 1 billion will take a little while as will completing 15 stages in a row without overheating but there aren’t any that aren’t achievable without some time, practise and possibly a bit of luck, the modifications to your ship can certainly be more useful with some of the achievements in mind.
AIPD is a really fun game with some nice mechanics and despite the few things I didn’t like all that much they didn’t put me off enjoying the game. It’s great to look at and has some nice differences to other games in this genre, I would still like some changes to be made with a proper continuous mode in mind but if not I will still keep playing it.
As I said though, the game is fun with some nice features which make it a good package with plenty of options for $10 which isn’t really very much, I think the game has a very low barrier to entry because of the difficulty modes which was a nice inclusion as those who want to play it without feeling they are out of their depth can still progress. For the entry price it’s definitely worth a shot if you like the genre and are on the fence.
- Developer: Blazing Badger
- Publisher: Mamor Games
- Release Date: January 29th 2016
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One (Played), Playstation 4
- Steam Page – Website