Bugs and I have an uneasy friendship. On the one hand I can appreciate the beauty of creation in their skeletons, the elegance of their societies, and the important role they play in our ecosystem. On the other hand, should one drop down the back of my shirt or start burrowing in to the Reese's Puffs, talks are going to break down pretty quickly. It is to the latter part of my psyche that Insectonator, the new topdown shooter from Denis Kukushkin and family, John and Alex, is aimed. It might not be too nice to all things great and small, but if you have a hankerin' for some arthropod blastin', it'll be sure to catch you in its web.
Using the mouse, you take aim and squish various varieties of spiders, roaches, mantis and other crawlies, starting with chucking rocks, then moving on to knives, fire-arms and others. You may also use the [arrow] keys for more pinpoint accuracy. Weapons can be switched with a a click of the mouse, the [Z], [X] and [C] keys, or by setting the options to switch randomly after a clip has been unloaded. Bonus points are awarded for quick kills, head-shots, and consistent accuracy. Between each round There are three basic types of selectable gameplay rounds: ones where you must clear the area of all the insects, ones where you have to shoot a certain amount of specific varieties, and ones where you must shoot certain bugs in a certain order. Over time, various conditions will be met and new and crazier weapons will be unlocked.
Analysis: Insectonator is seriously creepy, and I mean that as a compliment. Anyone with the slightest hint of entomophobia should stay far away, but the game is so atmospheric that it almost borders on parody: it seems that you should be blasting zombies or demons rather than termites. The game's tone is over-the-top and it totally works. Complementing this tone is the game's comprehensiveness: I counted at least 20 different bug types crawling around, and the menu promises 26 different weapons to use against them, and each combination thereof is gorgeously and gorily animated. After each round, the playing field will be a mess, and it's fun as heck to make it like that.
The biggest drawback to Insectonator is its sense of aimlessness. It's a game about killing bugs and nothing more. Certainly there are achievements to earn and a completeness percentage to fill up, but no larger goal at play. This is fine... this is more than fine, and it's quite good at relieving the stress. However it does meant your enjoyment of the game will be entirely proportional to how intrigued you are in finding out what it looks like when you use napalm or a nuclear bomb on scurrying critters. Certainly most of them do seem to contain more guts than their size would imply. Undoubtedly the shade of sadism inherent in the premise will, quite justifiably, turn some away. On the other hand... they're just bugs, fictional ones, and they make a quite satisfying noise when they are squooshed.
Overall, Insectonator reminds me of a shooting game you'd find at the kind of arcade where you trade tickets for prizes: Something whose graphics and sounds beckon you in, that doesn't have much overall depth in its mechanics, but will happily keep you entertained token after spent token. After a couple of minutes play, even your ant mite bee able to spy-der amazing charms of Insectonator, and mayfly to it over and over again to slug out another cathartic session. Playing it is an absolute moth, as its shooting action is hard to beetle, and it's likely to worm it's way into your heart, grasshopper. Now, if you excuse me, I need to pick up my check from the International Insect Pun Committee.
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Warning: The game does not seem to autosave, so close the window at your peril.
Insectornator Acheivment Guide
The first achievement Reward: Rock. Simply start the game.
Disinsector Reward: Smith & Wesson. Kill 5 insects. You'll get this in the first introductory level.
Disinsector II Reward: Pineapple. Kill 500 insects. You'll get this in the normal course of playing the game.
Disinsector III Reward: M-16. Kill 1500 insects. Again, this will come as you play the game and get the other acheivements.
Melee Weapon Master Reward: Axe. Kill 100 insects with melee weapons. Pick a melee weapon and use it exclusively until you get this. Melee weapons are: Rock, Fish, Risk, Jackboot, Axe, Anvil.
Sniper Rifle Master Reward: Gever. Kill 200 insects with sniper rifles. Sniper rifles are: Mauser, Dragunov, Gever.
Grenade Master Reward: RPG-7. Kill 1000 insects with grenades. Grenades are: Pineapple, Pipe Bomb, Napalm.
Machine Gun Master Reward: Minigun. Kill 1500 insects with rifles. Rifles are: Heckler & Koch, AK-47, M-16, M-60.
Pistol Master Reward: Uzi. Kill 150 insects with pistols. Pistols are: Smith & Wesson, Hellsing.
Bazooka Master Reward: Stinger. Kill 300 insects with rocket launchers. Rocket launchers are: Bazooka, Stinger, RPG-7.
Still Here? Reward: Heckler & Koch. Play the game for 4 minutes, and then finish a level to receive the reward.
Slam-dunk Reward: Risk. Kill 3 grasshoppers while they are jumping. Play levels with grasshoppers in, and use explosives. Eventually you'll get this. Grasshoppers are very unpredictable so it's almost impossible to get them this way intentionally.
Industrious Reward: Pipe Bomb. Complete 3 levels of each type. Exactly what it says on the tin. Remember you can pick what level you play between missions, you don't have to take the random choice.
Flippant I Reward: Mauser. Miss 200 times. If you don't get this naturally, pick a rapid fire gun (e.g. minigun) and fire it into the ground.
Flippant II Reward: Anvil. Miss 500 times. See Flippant I.
Head Hunter I Reward: Jackboot. Get 30 headshots. To intentionally get headshots, pick a sniper rifle and aim at insect with large heads. Grasshoppers are good for this, and stand still for good amounts of time as well.
Head Hunter II Reward: M-60. Get 60 headshots. See Head Hunter I.
Head Hunter III Reward: Nuke. Get 80 headshots. See Head Hunter I.
Railgun Shot Reward: Napalm. Kill 7 insects in one shot. Note you cannot use explosives. Pick a gun which fires a large single shot, like a pistol, and wait for insects to congregate. Remember that segmented insects count for more than one kill if you can hit multiple segments at once. Just take a lot of luck.
Multikill Reward: Bazooka. Kill 20 insects in 4 seconds. Pick a rapid fire weapon (ideally the minigun), and unload into a level full of bugs until you hit 20 fast enough.
Collector Reward: Lightning. Destroy an insect of each type. Just play the game, especially the second 2 modes (Killer and Selectioner[sic]).
Anvilator Reward: Brauning. Get 10 headshots with the anvil. Get the anvil (Flippant II) and use it until you get the headshots.
Accurate Marksman Reward: AK-47. Kill 30 insects without missing. Pick a single shot weapon (pistol or sniper rifle) and be careful with your shots. Alternatively pick something that can't miss (e.g. explosives).
Hunter Reward: Fish. Kill 20 insects of the same type in succession. Play an Annihilator level.
Selective Reward: Hellsing. Kill 5 insectsof different types in succession. Pick a controllable weapon, and select different insects for 5 shots. Don't play an Annihilator level.
Veteran Reward: Dragunov. Finish 10 levels. Do Industrious, then one more level.
Weapon-Bearer Get every other acheivement, and make sure you've killed with every weapon.
Staunch You'll probably get this if you get Weapon-Bearer.
Posted by: Max | March 31, 2011 2:50 PM