Today I fought a giant centipede for control of a garden.
Centipede is pretty much what you would call a classic. The game has been around forever and has existed in almost as many forms as there are legs on a giant centipede. So a “true reboot” of the franchise sounded interesting, and the bright colorful graphics of this 3DS title maintained that interest. Centipede: Infestation is, at its core, a twin stick shooter. Of course, being the 3DS, there isn’t a twin stick so it is really more of a unistick/button combo shooter (but that doesn’t have the same ring to it). Combined with a sort of tower-defense gameplay, it makes for a simple but ultimately enjoyable experience.
In Centipede: Infestation you play as a troubled kid making his way through the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic earth populated by giant bugs. You are an outsider that specializes in killing bugs, but Maisey comes from the nearest town and specializes in growing gardens (which are some of the last vestiges of green in the world). The two cross paths and you spend most of the rest of the game trying to help Maisey protect her gardens, protect herself and ultimately fighting off hoards of giant insects.
Enemies drop power-ups (like most traditional twin-stick shooters), and you get towers to help fend off attacks (like most tower-defense games) but your towers come in the form of seeds carried by enemy bugs with little control of where they go or what type you get. You must use all of these to fend off the swarms of insects for each level. Levels are typically fairly short with a few waves of insects and one or two centipedes but boss battles occasionally break up the formula. The levels also vary from relatively static single areas you must defend, to larger ongoing levels you make your way through. Level design has a fair amount of variance, and there are quite a few bug types but few enough that you’ll learn what to expect from them all.
In between each relatively short level there is a short animated cut scene of the two main characters exchanging bits of story to each other. Most of these cut scenes are very simply animated (though they look great), and mostly contain nothing more than a few frames and some dialogue. Occasionally there are the more animated, action filled scenes as well, but the overwhelming majority of the game’s story comes from these conversations.
Overall the gameplay of Centipede: Infestation is very simple and immediately recognizable for pretty much anyone who has played a game in the last decade. There isn’t much innovation going on here, but there also doesn’t seem to be much need for it. The combat works well on the 3DS controls, even if it isn’t always exciting, and the short but beautifully designed levels work great for mobile gaming (and really pop in the 3D mode). The biggest gripe to be made is that the game gets rather repetitive if played for a long period of time. Each level basically offers the same as the last, only with a slightly increased level of difficulty (and usually a larger level).
The most notable thing about Centipede: Infestation is the little ways that the game pays tribute to the franchise history but still feels like a notably different game than the classic. In the end, shooting giant bugs is almost always fun to do, and Centipede: Infestation doesn’t in any way shape or form ruin that; even if it never really manages to do anything particularly new or exciting along the way. Fun visuals and gameplay make up for the game’s simplicity and lack of replay value.
Tomorrow I shall hunt (or be hunted by?) dinosaurs in Jurassic: The Hunted.
Final Rating: 6/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: 3DS
Time to completion: 3 hours 49 minutes
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: $6
Current Price: $11.50 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $10 or under is a fair price for this.
Why you should buy it: You have unfulfilled dreams of being an insect exterminator.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You still have nightmares from the last time you watched Arachnophobia.