Review: Intrusion 2

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I still remember when Flash games blew up on sites like Newgrounds, opening the doors to all kinds of small-scale platformers, puzzlers, and more. The most popular ones were always those that took the animation system to its limits, creating smooth, detailed movements out of roughly-pixellated limbs and parts. Intrusion 2 is very much a game in that vein, with a lot of attention paid to its look, and not a lot paid to its balance.

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You play some Strider-looking fellow on an unarticulated crusade to kill lots and lots of of dudes on some snowy mountain. The controls are the common WASD to move and mouse to aim your hilariously flexible arms, but there’s solid controller support here that I found to work much better. You start with but a pistol but soon come across weapons like an SMG, beam cannon, and grenade launcher. You’ll need them, too, because the soldiers and robots of Intrusionland can take a lot of punishment.

What complicates this otherwise simple setup is the physics. Everything that isn’t part of the landscape is affected by physics, including crates, boulders, weapons, enemies, and you. Killing soldiers ragdolls them, sometimes in really funny ways like when jetpack guys limply careen off into space. Blowing up robots or crates leaves debris you can kick around or stack. And of course, there are heavy rocks and such to push onto your foes. Areas can be pretty dense with objects, leading to literal piles of corpses or mountains of scrap metal.

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I bet that sounds like fun, but sadly Intrusion 2 is not designed to make the most of the chaos you can sow. The physics system is one of the older, twitchier ones that can make objects explode off of each other just by intersecting the wrong way. While that can be funny, it isn’t when they trap you between crates, or launch you into tough enemies, or fail to work as platforms when crossing piranha-infested waters. Enemies can do tons of damage very quickly since there are no invincibility frames, and checkpoints are entirely too far apart. I had to repeat one section almost half a dozen times because I kept getting glitched into boulders or knocked into guys with machine guns who just lay on the triggers.

There’s so much cool stuff in here like riding wolves and fighting helicopters with arms, but the shoddy design of the encounters and the unpredictable physics make them more frustrating than anything. Your wolf, for example, is fully articulated which makes it look amazing in motion. However, its stride is dependent on its animation, so it can get stuck in platforms or take like eight tries to scale a wall because the limbs just aren’t hitting the right places. And enemies are more than happy to blow you clean off of it with rapid-fire or hitscan weapons if you get hung up on anything.

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It’s a game built on precision that doesn’t give you the control to be precise when you need it. Shootouts can be intense and rewarding, until you slip on a loose crate and your foes get a dozen free shots on you. Bosses are infuriating, with tight patterns that must be followed on top of whatever debris that has accumulated. I made it about halfway through the game before giving up, getting one-shotted by an unseen enemy with a grenade launcher after passing a platforming section over floating barrels that took me multiple tries. Intrusion 2 might look great but it feels terrible to play, and as we all know, looks only get you so far.

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