Reviews

Lumbarjack – A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda

A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda is yet another side-scrolling platformer – a staple in every indie bundle ever released. But how does it compare to Rochard or the revered (homophobic, right-wing power fantasy) Shadow Complex?

A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda is a 2.5D, sci-fi, action platformer, where you play as an advanced combat robot who is battling less-advanced combat robots who have come under a malevolent robo-influence. As well as battling robots, you’re tasked with rescuing the lead scientist at Junk Station.

I guess maybe dress codes are one of the things that humanity has evolved beyond needing in the future, but I would still think the head scientist would avoid exposing her midriff in the work place. If Dr. Carson were a man, then that might be an interesting point of discussion, but unfortunately she isn’t. She’s a clichéd, quasi-anime stereotype with giant eyes and an unnecessarily revealing wardrobe.

The game plays out from a slightly claustrophobic distance, keeping the action contained to close-in screens, with enemies all respawn needlessly once you’ve moved beyond their point of death. This is likely to encourage exploration of the semi-open levels, but the combat is clunky enough to make it an annoyance.

The music is a slightly modern reinterpretation of old-school arcade machine music. It’s all upbeat chiptunes with fake guitar layered over the top, and it’s fairly bad. I guess some people will love it, but it seems like that is the main problem with A.R.E.S. – it’s trying to appeal to people that love a certain style of game, and the devs have assumed that a rote rehash of the same old tropes is all it needs to earn a legion of fans.
As if to prove this distinct lack of originality, the first miniboss you face is a robotic rip-off of the Elite from Halo.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda, but there’s nothing particularly right with it either. It’s uninspired but functional. It’s repetitive and clunky, but it does everything it says on the tin. There’s an audience for it somewhere, but by making an action platformer by numbers, Extend has ensured that the people most likely to be interested in the game are the same ones that will see most clearly, how poorly it fares when compared to the genre staples.

Recommendations:

  • Gamepad – It’s a platformer, nuff said.

 

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