Want a twin-stick shooter on a budget? Look no further! Inferno 2 is one of the best budget twin-stick shooters I’ve played in recent memory. Whilst it borrows heavily from Geometry Wars, Inferno 2 plays and feels at a higher tier than its price tag and is a great entry point to the genre.
Very simply, Inferno 2 is a top-down twin-stick shooter that is a pure arcade thrill. Over 80 levels you’ll be working your way through mazes full of enemies, shooting your way to victory. Controls feel responsive and robust and the shooting is fast-paced. To get through these mazes you’ll often have to kill waves of enemies and whilst they are largely generic abstract shapes and colours, some require different tactics to kill. Enemies spawn from turrets which you can take down first, or you may be able to shift the walls in maze-like levels to block enemy paths. This will help stem the flow of enemies coming at you and keep you alive. Later on, shields and different bullet resistances may mean you need to swap your weapons around.
This introduces a light RPG upgrade system in the background of the game. You have four primary weapons to use, four special powers and upgradable energy storage for each. This means the more you use certain weapons, the more XP they gain and the more powerful they get. You can also discover secrets for bonus lives or health meter expansions. Some weapons definitely work better in tighter situations versus open spaces. Early on this didn’t make a difference to me but as the levels get harder and enemy numbers get larger, switching weapons made a much bigger difference.
There are a few nice touches to the game too. You can buy additional clones that follow you around like slaves to bolster your firepower. I also liked the fact that exits are usually surrounded by rings that show you how many keys, switches or enemy waves you need to unlock before you can clear the level. It also drops new enemy types frequently into the mix – thus keeping you entertained. It might be quite generic but Inferno 2 is never dull.
There is little wrong with Inferno 2 outside of it being largely all done before. Geometry Wars is a huge shadow for all these indie twin-stick shooters with abstract graphics. If you’ve played Geometry Wars, you’ve played most of this already. if you are unsure about twin-stick shooters though – this is a cheap but very cheerful entry point to the genre. There are three difficulty levels, a new game + mode and balances challenge and enjoyability perfectly. It is very playable without being flashy – hence the recommendation to grab it. Not all cheap games are built with this kind of decent quality behind them, so hats off to Radian Games for making a great shooter on a budget.
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