Intrusion 2 Review
Usually my reviews start with a little history of a developer and how they got to the release of whatever game I'm looking at. This one started with a Reddit post about a guy's Russian friend who spent three years making a game pretty much entirely by himself under the name Vap Games. A couple of emails back and forth, a quick 50MB download, and here I am, reviewing Intrusion 2, a PC action game made solely by a pretty badass Russian dude whose name is Aleksey Abramenko.
The visuals you'll see in the trailer immediately evoke thoughts of arcade games like Strider and Metal Slug, although the controls can be traced back fifteen years to a little freely released game called Abuse, where the perspective is of a side-scroller, the WASD keys move you around (although you can configure controls to an extent as well), and there's a mouse cursor on the screen that your little military badass will use to aim. In Intrusion 2, I suppose the story is that you're a friggin Russian badass intruding on some military chuckleheads, but you won't have much time to think about it because between the huge bosses, wacky physics-based movement, and weaponry at your disposal, this game turns out to be a lot more than you probably expect from something made by one guy that, until this point, very few people had ever heard of.
I haven't even gotten to the part where you ride a wolf yet.
Levels send you down slopes, across waters infested with hungry fish that are twice your size, hanging off of ropes above ravines, and down into tunnels to fight a boss that, well, okay, this one is actually pretty small, but the gun this boss is carrying... is something else. Throughout each level, you'll hit checkpoints that you respawn at if you die (ending a high score run that the game is always tracking, and it simply runs from when you spawn until you die, then it's reset back to zero), so while this is can be a challenging action-shootey-side-scroller, frustration is not usually a big deal with this. Although there is at least one part where forward movement is not the right choice, and instead you'll have to backtrack and find a different lower path, so keep that in mind as you're going - this is not a game where you are always running to the right.
Yes, I know. I'll get to the wolf in a bit. Just hold on.
Enemy bullet patterns resemble something like that of an old-school NES game and sometimes a bullet-hell shooter, where the shots are big and slow and it's up to you to dodge them. You've got plenty of life, but it's important to mention that unlike most games of this type, getting hit does not give you any kind of temporary flashing-type invincibility; you can take a ton of hits in a row and die in hilariously pathetic fashion in a flash, especially if you get cornered by a mech that has a massive gun in one mechanical arm and an eight-foot sword in the other.
Intrusion 2 is not a terribly long game, but the replay value can be extended out with a Hard mode, some achievement-like awards, and of course there's the high score bit I had mentioned where you can submit your last life's score to an online database. Oh, and surprisingly, the game is a Windows executable (with Mac version coming soon) but it's actually running on Flash, and it's definitely pushing the limits of what Adobe's poor little awful gaming platform can really do. Oh sure, The Binding of Isaac (also running in Flash) manages to put out a massive, er, thirty or forty sprites - yes, that was sarcasm - and on even high-end gaming PCs, Flash nearly crumples under that massive weight, but it seems like Intrusion 2 was coded a bit... differently. On my machine, it never hitched once in a 1920x1080 window, even with tons of physics objects and big explosions all over the screen. This might just be one of the best-looking Flash games ever made, although it might be tough to conclude that from the screenshots. Seeing it in action at 60fps, though, is an entirely different matter.
Ok, so, the wolf. You ride it, you can chomp the hell out of enemy soldiers, ride sideways up mountain walls (kinda), and pretty much be the coolest sum-um-a-bitch this side of Master Chief with your personal wolf. The levels where you get him early on wind up being a pretty sizable chunk of the game, and you'll need that time, as while riding a frigging wolf is the best thing you'll have done all day on whatever day it is you wind up playing Intrusion 2, wolves apparently aren't the most maneuverable, so it takes a little getting used to.
In summation, riding wolves. Huge, awesome guns. Shoot stuff and marvel at just how much Intrusion 2 makes Adobe Flash, arguably the worst gaming platform in the world, actually look good. The one major complaint I have is that the game is fairly steep at ten bucks with a rather short playtime. Do check out the demo if you're curious and aren't ready to drop ten bucks - but be aware that if you just fumble your way through this game once and put it away, then you will have probably only gotten an hour or two out of it.
But hey, even if the game's short, it will have had you firing a sci-fi assault rifle at a flying tentacle robot while riding on the back of a wolf. You can't put a price on that.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a PC copy of the game provided by the developer.