Inflamous is a game in which dreams come true. Have you ever worked in an office with co workers who exist only to annoy you? Don’t you sometimes wish you could just set them all on fire? Inflamous lets you do just that, only without all that nasty jail time.
Inflamous is an insane puzzle game cleverly disguised as an insane action game. You play as a disgruntled office worker who’s finally snapped and had enough with all the office politics and decided it’s time for some good ‘ol fashioned revenge. So you run around the game’s 50 levels setting fire to your co workers and anyone else who happens to be in the way. Your hero, clearly taking cues from the wonderful Splosion Man, sets fire to people by running up to them and exploding and then having those people run around while on fire and spread the chaos. Most levels have a preferred strategy to get the best times, but that’s the gist of how the game plays.
This game is simple but fun and has just enough variety to keep you going. As you progress through Inflamous it will throw additional challenges at you that serve to make the game more interesting. You’ll eventually be greeted with objects such as sprinklers that will put out fires and stop you from exploding for a certain amount of time, elevators that continuously spawn enemies until you deactivate them, and some extra enemies that will either spread fire quicker or grind the inferno to a halt. The most interesting part, however, is the fuel mechanic. You can only explode so many times before you run out of gas and have to refill, which you can do in two ways. The first way is by standing to next to the fuel pump that exists on every level, which is a slow but safe way to rebuild your reserves. The second, and more interesting, way is to stand beside a burning enemy and fill up quickly but lose health in the process. This tradeoff of safety vs speed is where the real fun comes from and is what will keep you coming back to improve your times and climb the leaderboards.
Unlike many indie games, Inflamous looks and feels like it was made by professionals. The graphics may be simple, but they are consistent, and the soundtrack consists of a few wonderfully catchy tunes that perfectly match the insanity of the game. Additionally, Inflamous is packed to the gills with features. Not only does it feature online leaderboards for every single level, but it also includes it’s own achievement system (a rarity for indie games) and the ability to challenge anyone on your friends list. For the 80MSP this game will cost you, you’re getting a very robust and wonderfully crazy package.
While Inflamous may be good, it’s not perfect. Some levels don’t flow as well as they should, with the enemies spread wide and taking a lot of refuels to slowly set fire to them one at a time, but the worst part of the game is the uneven difficulty. The game starts off with simple levels that ease you into it and teach you the mechanics, but then around level 30 it takes a sharp turn towards frustrating. You’ll go from finishing levels in one go to taking 5-10 attempts per level. The challenge is certainly welcome but the difficulty curve could definitely use some fine tuning.
The Xbox Live Indie section gets a bad rap. Most people think of it as a place for quickly churned out garbage and about 4 million different massage apps and not as a place to find quality, worthwhile games. While this may be true to some extent, the entire service is justified by the existence of games like Inflamous. It may not be deep, but it sure is fun.
*Milkstone Studios provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.