Thursday 27 February 2014

Intake (PC/Mac)

Cipher Prime Studios has really carved a niche for themselves with their games that heavily incorporate bright, colorful neon-tinged design with smartly blended musical elements. For example, I'm a huge fan of Fractal, an exquisitely crafted, intense puzzler. The studio has really upped their game with their newest release, Intake, which hearkens back to the sweaty days of score attacking in the local arcade machine, if the local arcade machine housed a blend of heavy dubstep fused to a shooter on acid dressed up as Dr. Mario.

So Intake, as such, is not as simple as it first appears, adding layers of depth to what is essentially only one goal - to avoid a fatal 'overdose' of cascading colored pills, tumbling down from an unknown dispenser beyond the top of the screen. Players accomplish this by shooting the capsules with the mouse, alternating between two different colors, Ikagura-style. Shooting a pill when the wrong color is selected is bad news, as is allowing a pill to slip below the play area. Too many mishaps and the player is rushed to game over.

This may sound simple enough, but as the game progresses lightning reflexes and smart strategy must be employed to avoid a fatal intake. My mouse pointer darting across the screen, my eyes narrowed like a hawk, I attempted again and again to best my high score. Pills crumble, the display sparkles with light, the soundtrack insists that I play more aggressively, and ultimately I end up cursing when my 73 hit combo is ruined by pressing the space bar to switch colors just a fraction of a second too late.

This fast paced arcade action in addition to a series of performance enhancing unlocks (earned by 'mg' destroyed during play), two other music tracks to discover, multiple color schemes, laser-sharp play control and a thick layer of polish make Intake a superb arcade experience; it's sure to transport players with a love of classic, frenetic action back to the good ol' days. For what it is, I cannot find fault with Intake, other than the stiff challenge it provides - which may turn off gamers with a weak constitution.

P.S. If you're sensitive to flashing sparkly lights, don't play this.
P.P.S. Turn up your headphones.

Buy the game here (from the Steam page).
4.5 out of 5

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