The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
There was a time when developer Retro Dreamer was all over the App Store. They had a breakout hit with their chain-popping game Sneezies WAY back in 2008, and in fact that was one of the first games I ever obsessed over on my first iPod touch well before I began working at TouchArcade. But they had a penchant for fantastic pixel art and a love of classic gaming (their name is Retro Dreamer after all) and so that led to the release of some fantastic but much less casual mobile games like Velocispider, SlamBots, and Duckers. All excellent games that all pretty much tanked in a mobile market that was more interested in casual and free to play. They actually obliged by releasing a string of almost ironically casual games that ended up doing quite well, but ultimately they wanted to make cool games they were proud of and so instead of negotiating the mobile market minefield they spent the next several years focusing on their ambitious desktop shooter Monsters and Monacles.
Recently though, Retro Dreamer has been getting back into the mobile game. A couple of months back they released Dungeon Drop, a simple but challenging twitch arcade game. This week they’ve one-upped that release with something that harkens back to their previous games like SlamBots and Velocispiders. It’s called InfiniBugs, and the best way to explain it is that it’s a riff on the classic Centipede. You control a ship at the bottom of the screen and blast away at a centipede-like enemy that snakes its way down towards you. Shooting the centipede in the middle of its body splits it into two, and every segment of it you shoot becomes an obstacle in the play area. Other forms of enemy will pop in from time to time and you can collect a number of power-ups to help you take down your foes. There are some more nuances to it than that, but if you understand Centipede in any capacity you get the gist of InfiniBugs.
What Retro Dreamer has done so well here is adapting it to be a modern mobile game. The play area is a lot smaller than Centipede making for much more frantic action. You also have the ability to move up and down in addition to side to side in about the bottom third of the screen, similar to Centipede’s less famous sequel Millipede. There’s also a huge selection of unlockable ships to choose from as well as multiple game modes. A lot of this is actually tied to a premium unlock in InfiniBugs, and the way it goes about monetization is another thing I love about it. Free players get the Standard game mode where you’ll die in one hit and have the opportunity to revive yourself once by watching an ad. You’ll collect tickets based on your performance for each game you play, and once you’ve collected enough tickets you can spend them on a random chance of unlocking one of the fleet of playable ships. It’s overall super fair and offers quite a bit for never spending a dime.
If you pay $2.99 to unlock the premium version, then you’ll double your ticket earnings and you’ll be able to perform your single revive in the Standard mode instantly without needing to watch an ad. But the real benefit of premium is unlocking the Arcade mode and its harder variant. Here you have 3 lives but no continues, and obviously Arcade Hard is a more difficult version of the regular Arcade mode. You’ll also gain access to a number of premium-exclusive ships, and I like that even the premium version retains the ticket unlocking system for the rest of the ships as it adds a nice sense of progression to the game. InfiniBugs just does everything exactly as you’d want it to whether you favor free to play games or paid games. It’s a fantastic shoot ’em up with killer pixel art and really great relative touch controls, complete with a sensitivity slider. It has become my go-to one-handed game since it launched this week, and if you’re a fan of frantic shooters you’d be wise to give this one a look.