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If you’re a fan of indie side-scrolling shooters, you’ve probably already heard of Intrusion 2, the project of one-man team Aleksey Abramenko, and you’d probably enjoy it as much as any other decent title of the genre. This game delivers some scrumptiously fun run-and-gun gameplay, for about 4 hours (provided you are playing on High difficulty), plus another hour of rage-inducing trial and error, though anyone holding out for any extras such as an interesting protagonist or innovative story may be disappointed. For me, the reliance on clichéd puzzles and challenges was the major disappointment that brought down the overall game experience.

Intrusion 2 has been promoted as a fast-paced action-packed adventure, with the player slaughtering a series of nameless people, robots and flying robot snakes (of course). This isn’t really the case, with baddies being plentiful enough to enjoy the experience, but not enough to feel truly satisfied with just shooting things. The most interesting gameplay feature is instead the physics engine, although this causes some issues in itself. Some very satisfying scenarios are set up for the protagonist, where a log or rock can be easily nudged onto some bad guys, and the way particular enemies interact with the environment engrosses the player much more effectively than any weapon possibly can.

They just had to include this “mash button to not die” scenario. It happens far more often than I’d like.

They just had to include this “mash button to not die” scenario. It happens far more often than I’d like.

For example–watching an enemy that just would not die finally explode into a collection of smaller hunks of metal, littering the area, is even more satisfying than the cases of death by rock-to-the-face, though this nice touch often backfires. These remnants of bad guy are likely to clog up the tight areas the protagonist is forced to go through, and you’ll be forced to reset to the last checkpoint just to progress. Despite this issue, though, it’s well worth it, with physics being the most exciting part of this game. In fact, the second stage of the final boss delivered the most fun I have ever experienced in a side-scrolling shooter, due entirely to the physics engine employed. I just wish Intrusion 2 took advantage of this engine to a fuller extent. I guess I’ll have to make do with ride-able wolves.

Yep, you can ride wolves, which can help you maul through all of the bad guys… in one level. That seems to be Intrusion 2’s largest issue; each of the exciting additions to the game (wolves, usable mechs, physics) receive such a small amount of screen time that they don’t feel like they’re really part of the game. The consistent core feature (“here is a bunch of guns, and this is the run button”) independently carries the game and although it truly is a lot of fun, it’s not a new, fresh feeling of fun. Each action sequence feels overwhelmingly familiar, and it doesn’t take long for them to become tedious, especially the boss battles.

Jump. Duck. Jump. Jump. Duck. Duc-YES OKAY I GET IT! Can we move on, game? Please?

The boss’ patterns are too easy to discern. Jump. Duck. Jump. Jump. Duck. Duc-YES OKAY I GET IT! Can we move on, game? Please?

The final boss in particular is a great disappointment. Despite the second stage being completely fantastic, as I mentioned, the first and third stages are riddled with clichéd mechanics that anyone who has ever played any game in their life has already experienced too many times. Each struggle faced in the final boss battle brings back memories of the Crash Bandicoot series; surely the games industry is at a stage where it is embarrassing to rely entirely on mechanics that were popular over a decade ago. I can’t say I was overly impressed.

One thing that absolutely deserves mention is the music of Intrusion 2. The intro screen suggests George Dziov is responsible for the sweet, edgy tunes of the game, and so it is he who will receive the praise! As soon as I was given a gun, I was exposed to some awesome, exciting music that immediately got me into the mood to slaughter some things, just because they were in the way. Three minutes later, though, after a few awkward seconds of silence, the same song repeated itself. Then again, and again, through the whole level. Three minutes of music is not enough to enjoy oneself while traversing a fifteen minute long level. Despite being the absolute perfect music for the job, it has been utilized poorly, and very soon becomes just another nuisance present in the game.

Someone is about to get a serious case of rock-to-face.

Someone is about to get a serious case of rock-to-face.

A true sign of a great game, in my eyes, is that after completely finishing it and moving on, I still like to think about what it showed me, how the characters acted, and how awesome “that moment” was. Apart from that one final boss stage (seriously, it was really good!), Intrusion 2 has none of these moments. Sure, it’s fun to hop into a mech and cause havoc, but these mechanical bodies of destruction don’t seem to have enough health to last long enough to be particularly more memorable than the simple firefights on foot.

Also, there is literally no plot or even any dialogue in Intrusion 2, at all. I only know the boss names from the achievement list! There seems to be a suggestion at the start that you are escaping a crashing spaceship, but upon defeating the final boss you are greeted with a large banner shouting “Mission Complete”. Was it a part of my mission to crash the ship? Surely I could have just been dropped off? Just some vague explanation would be appreciated. That said, I will admit I’m glad that Abramenko didn’t try to construe a poorly written plot to flimsily segue the missions together.

This is the only glimpse of story from the entire game. Deep.

This is the only glimpse of story from the entire game. Deep.

Aesthetically, Intrusion 2 is pleasant, with retro-style graphics, low resolution back drops, and minimalist HUD. It might not sound like much, but the HUD is really well designed, informing you of all the essentials without taking up valuable screen space. Intrusion 2 is a no-bull action adventure, and I can appreciate the basic, retro-style graphics and absence of any shockingly bad elements. I just want some reason to remember the game for longer than the next few days. It seems, at this time, that I do not have one.

6.9

Select Start Media was provided with a review copy of Intrusion 2 by VAP Games.