Review – In Extremis – A Challenging and Provocative Shoot-’em-Up

Review – In Extremis – A Challenging and Provocative Shoot-’em-Up
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Steam

Game Name:

In Extremis

Publisher(s):

LNDFRR

Developer(s):

LNDFRR

Genre(s):

Action

Release Date:

November 16th, 2016

In Extremis from LNDFRR

In Extremis is a great homage to space shooters like Space Invaders and Galaga, while incorporating modern game mechanics at the same time. From a top-down perspective, the player blasts through encroaching enemies, while navigating their ship around projectiles.

This classic framework is expanded using upgrades and branching pathways to new levels, each with their own highly polished visual flair. It resists hand-holding at all costs and encourages players to survive and advance by any means necessary, a refreshing take on modern Space Invaders clones.

Knowing Where You’ve Been

Made by LNDFRR, In Extremis has a lot of care and influences poured into it. The levels each have a distinct style, and iterate on this style in a variety of ways throughout the 2-4 minute stage. There are knowing nods to other pop culture and nostalgia outside of the obvious, like anime-style enemies and Matrix-esque glitches. Each level has its own song, unique to fit the mood of the visuals. It makes each new encounter feel unique and fresh while helping players hone their flying and shooting skills.

Strong Aesthetic Choices

The opening cinematic is very Akira or Stranger Things-like, and prepares players for the sci-fi style present throughout the game. To sum it up, there’s a child with powers that is tasked with destroying incoming fleets of invading aliens, a la The Last Starfighter. Ultimately, what sets the mood the best is the different visual and musical flair in each level.

All of the aesthetic flair is icing on top of a well-crafted cake. The controls are spot on and responsive, and each maneuver feels intentional. Ships can fire each weapon in two separate ways, by tapping or holding the button to produce different effects. This gives attacking a subtle yet substantial variation, making the player feel more in control of how they plow through their opponents.

Don’t Get Cocky, Kid

My one criticism of the overall encounter system is that it sometimes feels random or unfair, which can get quite frustrating in a high-intensity game like this one. In games like Spelunky, every death or injury feels like it was the player’s fault, whereas, at times in In Extremis, it feels like the game spams enemy projectiles to ensure that the player doesn’t escape unharmed. Even if I was constantly in motion, it felt as though the game would spawn lasers in every conceivable section of the screen, making nowhere safe.

It taught me to get better about every move I made, but it was still frustrating to feel like there was no way to win.

Solid Base and Great Modifications

Ultimately, In Extremis offers a great successor to classic space shooters. Choosing my own adventure reminded me of Starfox but with greater variation between levels. Upgrades felt rewarding to earn and encouraged me to keep playing. I’m not typically someone who is open to twitch-based combat, but In Extremis was easy to catch on to with its great visuals and clear progression path.

If players are able to get engaged with the style and tight controls (which wasn’t hard for me to do), they can expect to sink a lot of energy into the quick sessions each level offers. It’s not what I would call a relaxing game, but there is definitely a zen that can be reached after spending a bit of time with it.

This zen has its payoffs and is an incredible feeling to fall into to expertly careen around lasers and bombs while firing perfectly synced projectiles of your own. I can’t wait to dive back in and see what each level offers that I might have missed the first time around.

In Extremis is available via Steam.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Watch the official trailer for In Extremis below:

Chris Townley

I was born in Calgary, Alberta, moved to Toronto, Ontario when I was seven, and was raised by Nintendo the whole time. Through elementary and secondary schools, I played Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, and Smash almost every day. At Queen's University, where I was supposed to be studying English and Film, I mostly learned from Valve, Rockstar, Team Meat, Fullbright, and thatgamecompany. Currently, you can find me wandering the wasteland, online in Destiny, or working my way through my Steam library.

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