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After the success of great casual games like Burn the Rope and Fling a Thing, developers Big Blue Bubble decided to expand their skills with more of a gamer’s game. Dark Incursion ditches the pick up and play sensibilities of most mobile apps in favor of a classic side scrolling hack and slash with retro art. Unfortunately, it’s riddled with bugs and glitches, and could really use some polish in the design area. It’s still fun to play, and likely worth checking out if this genre appeals to you.
The thing I love about retro games is the complete randomness of most of their concepts, and that idea has been preserved here, right alongside the old school art. You play as Anya, an agent or soldier who is out to stop the military’s development of massively dangerous biological weaponry, all set in an alternate late 1800’s steam-punk world in the middle of an industrial revolution and world war. While that all sounds very interesting, the story is not presented all that well. Factions are not clearly defined, there’s a shortage of characters, and nothing ever really hooks you into the plot.
The game plays out like a classic open world side-scroller, full of exploration and back tracking. The controls are simple. You run and duck with the left directional pad and jump, attack, and activate special powers with virtual buttons on the right. All the controls are customizable as well. You’ll attack enemies with both a gun and a sword. Both are mapped to the same button, and which one is used all depends on your distance from the enemy.
Weapons are upgraded through special bio-engineered capsules, which add special properties to your attacks, such as electricity or ice. These capsules drain as you use them, like batteries, and you’ll constantly have to replace old ones with new ones that are constantly found through play. Unfortunately, the elemental capsules also give you special abilities that are required for solving puzzles, such as ice that creates an extra platform, or electricity that restores power to an elevator. It’s very frustrating when you get to one of these sections and you don’t have the capsule you need, and I really wish they went with a more permanent means.
The retro art brings the steam punk styled world to life, and everything looks great. The music and sound effects are also well done. The game is rather buggy, though. Sometimes, sound effects cut out entirely, leaving you only with music. The controls can also be very unresponsive, which can just kill the game after it leads to several deaths. The clunky controls aren’t all that game breaking, but they are quite annoying. Still, this is a pretty fun action game that many people can probably enjoy, despite its flaws. If it sounds worth playing to you, then you can give it a download for three dollars. Oh yeah! If you happen to have a pair of red and blue 3D glasses sitting around, you can even enjoy this game in stereoscopic 3D. It’s a completely random feature to include, but whatever, it’s there.