Makers of last year’s sleeper hit Dementium: The Ward, Gamecock has already established themselves for the creation of unique DS titles. But while Insectide is a different approach to adventure games, it fails to hit the mark and stumbles trying to be too many things at once.
In a world where insects are now the dominate species, detective Chrys Listz joins her partner Roachy on an adventure to solve murder mysteries. But taking a unique note to gameplay, Insectide is one part point-and-click adventure, one part shooter, and one part platformer. Despite having three major style elements, all categories have some significant gameplay issues.
When the game is first booted up, the player must chase after a renegade bug using platforming and basic combat techniques. Unfortunately, jumping and combat are not as fluid as you would like them to be. Due to a wonky camera, the player can never really follow the old saying “look before you leap.” I died way too many times from what should have been a basic leap. Chrys’s stiff movements and weapon aiming do not help the play control either. If you play this game on an original DS (not a DS Lite), you will have a hell of time determining the difference between a wall, the background, or the platform directly in front of you thanks to a very dark color pallet. If you hope to have any type of success playing this game, you need to jack up the backlighting of your DS Lite to full blast.
Secondly, combat is reduced to a snail’s pace because all of Chrys’ weapons are simple peashooters. Waiting seconds between each shot means there will be plenty of slow and drawn out gun battles. Luckily, the player will never face too many enemies at one time.
Besides the action/platforming parts of the game, the other half of the title takes place with a simple point-and-click style of gameplay. Piecing together clues in this style of gameplay may be unique, but it just winds up being one big borefest. For example, the first time you enter your office building, the player must gather a bunch of clues then post them on a bulletin board. Using a mixture of the stylus and D-pad, the player must talk to characters and click on random parts of the stage to find clues. But why would any player want to serve coffee to a fellow co-worker, then search for hidden creamer in a random desk drawer, then mix it all together, causing your fellow employee to not sit on the photographic evidence that is needed to solve a case? These point-and-click segments of the game are filled with tedium and boredom. Why would I want to search for coffee when I could be out shooting bad guys? Or why is my stupid employee sitting on very important evidence? The game tries to induce a comical atmosphere, but it just doesn’t make much sense.
The audio quality of the game is also a mixed bag. Although nicely voice acted, the jazzy casual tunes in the background set the mood of the of mystery/detective atmosphere but almost play at a random pace. Music seems to cut in and out at awkward and inconsistent times…or perhaps it is just looped at the wrong spots. The full motion video that was created for the PC version of the game has been compressed to fit on a DS cartridge rather nicely, although it is still too dark.
It almost seems like Insectide couldn’t really make up its mind as to what type of game it wants to be. Instead of focusing on one major aspect of the game, the developers seemed to try and cram too much into this DS title, causing each style element to become watered down in the gameplay department. Although Insectide is a respectable DS title, it cannot deliver the same type of entertainment quality that other games can. While this game may come up a little short, I can still appreciate Gamecock’s creative side and I’ll still be looking forward to their next title.