Intrusion 2 – Steam Indie Game Review

As part of a Humble Bundle I found Intrusion 2 in my Steam game list. Here is a quick review/critique of what was good and what was bad in the game. Intrusion 2 was developed by Aleksey Abramenko and the Intrusion 2 metacritic score is 80/100. The Intrusion 2 game is a 2D platformer shootem-up, similar to Metal Slug on the old Neo-geo console.

This is a random critique, just spilling out my thoughts on the game.

The graphics are…dated. I don’t mind that they are retro 2D, but here they’re slightly worse than Metal slug graphics. Getting the graphics right for a 2D platformer is a core feature. Metal slug has 2.5D graphics art and the art fits the game perfectly. Intrusion 2’s graphics are nice…but not Metal slug 3 nice. The screen also feels “empty” when compared to Metal Slug 3. I would recommend adding more floating papers and general junk to the scenes, nice weather effects would be an easy feature to add to increase the immersion and atmosphere of the game.

Animations/motion in Intrusion 2 is slightly jerky, again I compare it with the butter smooth Metal Slug. Gravity is floaty and the damping is off. Because of this the controls don’t feel “tight”, which is something hard to get right but it pays of big because it’s something that is always in the game (and once you get the controls right you can copy and paste into sequels).

Bullets collisions are not accurate, which ruins immersion. Sometimes they vanish when hitting the middle of a sprite, sometimes the side. They feel like something pulled out of gamemaker.

Music is good and follows the game well but lacks the “rock of action” needed in 2D shooting platformers. Sounds effects are acceptable, but sound muffled and lack punch and excitement like streets of rage. I want my speakers popping. Lack of big explosions.

Enemy variety is great, there are many cool enemies with unusual attack patterns. The Box-2d physics used makes for some cool fighting. For example, when you take out a jetpack man he will spin out of control (in 2D). Imagine how cool it would be if he spun out in 3D…flying towards the screen or back into the background with some sprite scaling? Something to think about for Intrusion 3.

Shooting enemies is also not as “tight” as Metal slug. In metal slug, you shoot an enemy and you KNOW you’ve shot them. In Intrusion 2, there is no or very little feedback that your shots are even hitting. For feedback I would have liked visual + sound effects. This lack of appropriate feedback when hitting is the same flaw found in Gears of War 3 and Crysis 2. Without feedback or instakill when shooting bad guys it ruins the experience and immersion of the game. In metal slug, 1 or 2 shots are enough for most enemies and you get instant graphical and sound feedback. I’d like to see the same in Intrusion 2.

A tiny intro story would be a nice feature. Nothing long or expeditionary, just a simple paragraph of text to explain why I’m shooting at aliens. A good story adds context to a game and is valuable for very little extra work.

Overall, I LOVED metal gear solid and finished every game in the series, but I’m sad to say I didn’t like Intrusion 2. It just felt like the game was not polished enough. This is a shame because the content is there, just waiting to be played, and it’s great. Awesome variety of enemies, interesting puzzles and great 2D physics. But Intrusion 2 is let down by…lack of polish or lack of playtesting.

Final verdict – I would pay $1 for Intrusion 2 out of a maximum of $5 for 2D shooting platformers. This score comes from metal slug already existing as a perfect example in the 2D platformer market and being available practically free and in multiple versions. Although the value of 2D platformers is low the impulse buyness of games like Intrusion 2 is high. If it looks nice I’ll easily drop $3 without thinking on a game with Metal Slug 3 style graphics.

I would drop $10 on a Mirrors edge 2D clone or a clone of the scarecrow steps 2.5D scene from Batman Arkham Asylum. I think using modern, more realistic graphics is a big area that 2D platformers could move into and win big. The core gameplay in these games is already proven, looking nicer is a great way to get an extra unique selling point.

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