Game Reviews

Inferno 2

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| Inferno 2
Inferno 2
| Inferno 2

Inferno 2 is the net result of smashing dungeon-crawler Diablo into neon twin-stick shooter Geometry Wars (or, if you're a crusty arcade veteran, Gauntlet into Robotron: 2084).

Your little ship scoots about scrolling neon mazes, looking for neon keys to open neon doors, and blowing anything else it happens to come across into neon smithereens.

For the most part, the maze's other inhabitants are pretty dumb, but what they lack in smarts they make up for in numbers, ferocity and, as the game progresses, bullets.

Ships are often churned out by static generators and then relentlessly zero-in on your position. You have to blast your way through the crowd to shut down the miniature factories before you're overwhelmed.

Elsewhere, free agents zip about, also trying very hard to introduce you to a face-full of projectiles.

Flame on

For a few levels, the going's relatively easy, as Inferno 2 acquaints you with its core concepts. Before long though you find yourself immersed in a kind of juggling act. New weapons are rapidly introduced, alongside a diverse range of enemy types, each with its own attack pattern.

Even the playfield lurches between friend and foe. The most basic walls are soon joined by barriers you can handily shoot through but enemies can't cross, and then ones that - less handily - do the exact opposite.

Success, you soon realise, requires more than just blundering headlong into a screen full of spaceships and spinning round while firing your weapon.

This becomes particularly apparent when encountering red ships that are immune to even the most concentrated of laser fire, meaning you need to use your missiles.

These projectiles are limited in number and, awkwardly, fired by holding a button next to the virtual stick used for movement.

If you're now thinking "Well, how do you move and fire missiles?", that's a very good point, and the answer is you don't.

Duck and cover

In fact, the controls are more complicated still, because there are four types of missile and primary weapon, along with a kind of special attack. So you end up with two virtual sticks and four on-screen buttons.

It's too easy to accidentally prod the wrong thing and suddenly find yourself spraying bullets all around when you at that moment desperately needed to be laser-ing a generator to death.

That you're rendered immobile when firing missiles also feels oddly rigid in an otherwise fluid game, and the developer has said alternate control methods are imminent.

In the meantime, perceived control shortcomings oddly benefit Inferno 2. Tactics become more important, and you need to take a more surgical approach to defeating each level.

Instead of an all-out high-octane blaster, Inferno 2 frequently morphs into a kind of cover-shooter, differentiating the title from most of its contemporaries. You'll strafe a generator, and then lurk behind a wall to pick off any ships that are still being churned out.

If you know you're going to fire missiles, you have to find a spot to stand your ground. (That all said, any measured approach is dismantled entirely in boss battles, which largely comprise yelling "ARGH! RUN AWAY!" while trying to shoot a neon behemoth in its stupid neon face.)

So Inferno 2's slightly overcomplicated and maybe a touch unwieldy, which stops it short of winning a higher accolade than the original Inferno+.

But it still leaves you with a very satisfying and challenging shooter that's smarter than most.

Inferno 2

Prettier, shootier, and bigger than its predecessor, but also a touch awkward at times. Still very much recommended though