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 Post subject: I, AI (XBOX One - Series X|S - Nintendo Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:08 am 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 352
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
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Another shoot out in the void of space.

Looks like Satur Entertainment and Sometimes You are back at it. This time is the vertical shooter I, AI.



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Things to do today: Get out of the computer, find Specia wherever the hell she is and fight your way out to Virtuapulco's server.
Even if that everlasting virutal summer vacation is on the other side of the galaxy.


As a sentient Artificial Intelligence who've realizes its purpose, the first thing to do before to fight your way out of the star system you're confined is to get out of the computer you're born by moving across the wires and take over a starfighter. Apparently, the technicians of the space station are suckers who made either a terrible or lazy job (or maybe both) 'cos there's burning wires on your path.



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Guess what? You got it for free.
Are you proud of yourself?


You've got your ride. There's no need of hacking, escaping the base or something like that. Your ship does that for you.



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The "Runaway Tour" featuring a one-in-a-lifetime visit of 20 sectors.

The game is the shortest of all Satur's shmups since is only 20 stages long, the half of Aircraft Evolution and not less than a third from Stellatum. Like in both games, you can revisit any level if you need to pick credits to upgrade your ship.



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Extra-atmospherical Action, suitable for Non-human fighters.

Time to talk about the core gameplay of I, AI. The game itself is self-explanatory since we have a "Textbook" basic vertical shooter where the main priority is to destroy each and every single enemy on screen or at least most of them. At first it might be difficult to get rid of all of them and you'll require to go evasive since you're not gonna have enough power until you upgrade your ship and weapons until you buy them. Yeah, there's special weapons you can use as unique "bombs" with their assigned buttons and a force field which I'll explain later.

Unfortunately, there's some problems in the game that range from minimal to critical. First of all, the controls feel a little awkward since the ship doesn't move unless you fully move the Analog Stick to the desired direction, also there's no D-Pad support for the ship controls despite you can use the D-Pad to move the cursor in the Options and Hangar screens, this is troublesome in the mine-crossing segments in some stages. Those are the minimal flaws, now let's go for the critical ones. The game itself features bullet hell elements in the later levels. This is not too much of a problem except for one small detail: The hit detection. The ship's hitbox is too big 'cos is the whole damn ship, making the mission very, very, very prone to fail since the game sends you with no extra lives, and to add insult to injury there's enemy attacks that will take you down with one hit most of the times unless you keep upgrading your ship's armor, and there's some traps that result on instant death like the mines. There's also the dreadful "Turridamage" no-recovery problem where you can get your life drained very fast with a "Beam and bullets" combo from enemy ships and turrets, making the bullet hell premise a very few steps closer of unplayablility for most shmuppers. To finish the list of flaws there's boss battles where the fires at you without warning, killing you before appearing, resulting in a mission failure if you don't have extra ships. But still the game improves over Stellatum since they got rid of the weapon overheat, so after all the flaws we're starting to see a game that has to fix a few mistakes to become more playable, so, at least Satur gets an idea of how to make a shooter, but still comitted a few mistakes which can be corrected with an update. I hope.



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Who's afraid of the Big Bad Stealth Destroyer?

Some missions have boss battles with unique attack patterns, and there's a time you'll fight two bosses simultaneously, in this "Double boss fight", the bosses have their respective life bar represented by the same lone bar that changes its quantity depending on which boss you're hitting. Like Stellatum and Ginga Force, the bosses are "multi-part" which means you can destroy them by parts (missile launcher, laser cannons, etc) or hit the main body. Although destroying their parts is more convenient since they drop energy cubes which you can use later.



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Rewarding the perfect players.

Remember what I've said about the core gameplay of this game?, This is the reason why, clearing a score with 100% of accuracy gives you an extra bonus, increasing the overall Cubes you've picked throughout the stage. For some reason, Missions 5 and 20 doesn't unlock the 100% since they get stucked at 99% despite you've destroyed every enemy on the level. I can assume this is a programming error of some sorts.



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The Megadeth Principle: "Peace Sells, but who's buying?"

Like in Aircraft Evolution, the game features a shop called "Hangar" where you can upgrade your ship and buy new weapons. You can also buy the extra lives you'll need to survive further in the game.

MAIN WEAPON: Like the name says, it's the default weapon of your ship. It fires a spread shot that increases its strength and width with each upgrade.
MISSILES: Backup Sub-weapon, fires two homing missiles that lock on targets. Upgrading them increases their strength.
PLASMA GUN: Another Back-up artillery, shots energy bullets of slow speed, yet considerable power. Upgrading it will increase the strength and number of bullets fired to a maximum of five.
ARMOR: Increases the ship's Hit Points, upgrading this is a must if you want to survive and complete the game.
RESURRECTION: Adds 1 life to your life count. You can buy two of them.
LIGHTNING ("X" Button): Wrongly named "Lighting", this is one of the Special Weapons, fires lightning bolts in random directions, adding some wide fire. This is the only special weapon with a "Controlled blast" since the bolts are fired as long as you hold the "X" button. Upgrading it increases their strength and the number of lightning bolts fired.
RAY ("Y" Button): The "Murder beam" of the game. Fires an energy beam that cuts trough enemies and bosses damaging them, but slowly pushes you back. Upgrading it increases the strength and width of the beam, but also increases its recoil effect.
ENERGY BOMB ("B" Button): This one is the screen clearing bomb that damages enemies and destroys any bullet in sight within the blast radius. Upgrading it increases its power.
MINES ("A" Button): Drops mines in front of the ship and they remain there until an enemy or boss hits them. Upgrading this weapon will increase the number of mines dropped.
ENERGY SHIELD (Left Bumper): Creates a spheric force field that provides you protection from any attack, even death beams and mines for a time. Upgrading the shield increases the duration time.

Upgrading all the weapons and armor is a must if you're going for the achievements. Yeah, like the rest of their catalogue, I, AI is a Gamerscore Milker that provides you 20 achievements for a quick 1,000 Gamerscore point boost.


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*Insert Base theme from Contra*

The graphics is the most positive aspect of this game, for 2D, is not good, its suprisingly good as it reaches professional levels way beyond the typical Indie game artist. It looks like Satur Entertainment's speciality is the super-detailing in the scenery, something they've learned in Stellatum and improvised in this game, because even if all the 20 stages are space based, the stations add variety and an intrincaded realism to the whole thing and make the outer space scenario less boring, also, the artists bothered to change the space clouds in order to make it a little more colorful, giving us more colors than the traditional black background, and without needing to place planets to add more "life" to the background. Something like that is what I can call an accomplishment.



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Better quality drawing, still lifeless monochrome.

Like in Stellatum, the cutscenes are semi-animated drawings that add the sense of being animated, but with lesser movement, like a low budget cartoon, but it is worth of applause how they've improved over Stellatum as they look like finished illustration rather than the rough drawings from Stellatum's cutscenes. Unfortunately, they suffer the same problem: Everything's in black and white, making it look lifeless, dull and depressing. ┬┐Does having things on full color is too much to ask?

The music is another point in favor as it relies on a combination of Hard Rock and Industrial-Electronic elements that feels like the music score of a sci-fi movie, breaking with the techno-electronic styles we've heard in most shmups, there's also the use of Tribal drums that adds more variety to the game. Satur this time pulled some voice acting for the AI character, a new feature on their games which adds more "life" to the game. If there's an annyoing thing it has to be your Main Weapon "Kla!-kla!-kla!-kla!" firing sound. Sounds like if it was made by a hyperactive kid with an old typing machine right after having a dose of 12 Pepsi's and 30 sugar bags at once.



I, FUNFACTS

- The title game makes a nod to I, Robot, a collection of science fiction short stories by Isaac Asimov from 1950.
- This is the first game by Satur to feature voiced dialogues.
- The AI character's ship possesing idea mirrors that of Khaos in Thunder Force IV who possesed Rynex after its destruction.




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Keep than in mind, Satur Entertainment and Sometimes you.

Overall, despite being a Gamerscore Milker, and there's critical flaws to be improved, it's good to see how Satur Entertainment and Sometimes You are starting to learn from the mistakes they've made on Stellatum bringing a more complete and solid work that will make you forget the trash game Aircraft Evolution was. I, AI is good enough to keep it in your shmup collection once you've unlocked everything as we have a quite decent and playable shmup. Good Luck and Have Fun on your Achievement Hunting.



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...as a facility for research into Vasteel Technology.

In case you've gave up on getting the achievements due to the expensive price climbing and the difficulty, here's the ending for you: The AI manages to escape through the Stargate and find a lifeless planet to settle himself. Realizing that life wasn't meant to be destroyed he settles a civilization in the new planet and a new life, starting with a plant.



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"Attack of the Plant-Borg"
Ian Malcolm's "Chaos Theory" also applies on AI-created life.


...but the first life form shows signs of going wrong, hinting a sequel about fighting mutated plants like in Aleste or Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.
┬┐Does Satur will continue the story?, Only time will tell...
_________________
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki


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