Auto scrolling shooters are something that I fondly remember from my childhood. I wasn’t very good at them, but I used to love to watch my brothers and dad play them continuously. The bright colours and fast-paced mayhem that would unfold on the screen, and almost impossibly difficult gameplay used to fascinate me. Roll on 30 years, and my gaming ability has improved somewhat. I have ventured little into the classic scrolling shooter world, but when I’m given the chance to review one, I usually jump at the chance. I, AI has been developed by Satur Entertainment, and is published by Sometimes You. It’s a classic game with a modern day aesthetic, and it’s ridiculously addictive.
The aim of the game is to break out of a lab that is creating deadly weapons, where you must then conquer your own freedom. You must shoot your way through 20 different missions, and overcome epic boss fights, all while you aim to achieve your goal. You begin as an orb of light; you board your basic ship, and begin your journey. You are given options about what element of your vehicle you want to upgrade, and you have the freedom to decide how you wish to tackle each problem. Will you go out fighting and forget about health? Or will you increase your shields and weather each bullet storm.
The world that you are attempting to escape is a futuristic maze of; enemy ships, asteroids, and minefields. Patience and fast reactions are a must if you wish to succeed. No one likes to fail when they play a game, but in I, AI it’s almost guaranteed, so the sooner you accept your fate, the better it will be for you.
The game structure is straightforward; choose your mission, fight your way past waves of robots, and overcome the boss at the end. If you are successful, you will be scored between 1 and 3 stars. Your score depends on how many enemies you have destroyed, and how many blue credits you have collected. Your score matters as it multiplies the amount of blue credits you have collected. If you fail your mission, you may keep 50% of the loot you have gained as compensation. “Why are these blue credits so important?” You may think! Upgrades, that’s why!
Progress in I, AI depends on you upgrading your ship, and boy is it a long-winded and painful process. The costs soon mount up and unlocking those key improvements soon becomes an epic task all in its own right. If you mix this with the increasingly difficult opponents, and the ever increasing pace, then you have a recipe for a tough, but addictive title.
What I love about Satur Entertainment’s work is their ability to retain the heart and soul of this classic genre, but adding a modern day twist. The crisp, clean, and buttery smooth action allows you to enjoy every element of the world that has been created, while still feeling in complete control of what is happening. The dark tones and neon effects give this the perfect futuristic setting. The robots and ships that you encounter all vary in look and size, and very little feels like a simple rinse and repeat of existing assets.
The audio supports the visual aspect of the game brilliantly. Deafening crashes and explosions, the high-pitched shrill of lasers being fired, and the thud of bullets hitting your opponent’s armour all helped to paint a futuristic picture. When a game is fast-paced, you want an audio to match this, and the upbeat synthesised sounds worked a treat. It kept the adrenaline pumping while giving a nod to its predecessors. This all helped to bolster the retro feel.
When I look at controls, I’m usually a reviewer who seeks out issues with mapping, or layout, but you get none of that here. What you are treated to instead is a title that requires skill, and good reactions. I, AI will punish you if you are lacking either of these, and you will experience death more than you will success.
With a tough achievement list, 3 stars to obtain on each mission, and plenty of upgrades to purchase, there is plenty to make you want to keep playing. Each stage plays out exactly the same way, so speedrunners, and gamers with ungodly muscle memory will love to test their ability and resolve within this game. I reckon you will need to invest 10 to 15 hours to complete this 100%, so at its current price, that represents fantastic value for money.
This retro genre will not be for everyone, the requirement to repeat levels, and the high level of accuracy and reaction time will rule out several players. But, if you give this a go, you will experience a hectic, fast-paced game that will suck you win, and won’t let you go until you finish it. Do I recommend you play this? Yes, it’s great, a modern take on an old school classic. Can you escape the lab and conquer your freedom? 20 missions stand between you and victory.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I, AI Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
An old school scroller with a modern day aesthetic. Addictive gameplay with 20 missions to complete.
- Excellent graphics.
- Wonderful audio.
- Fast-paced, and crisp gameplay.
- Smooth controls.
- Plenty of replay value.
- The upgrades are too expensive.
- The required skill level will be too much for some.