Day 1056: IC4

Posted: 2013/10/01 in Indie Games

Starting with the OG Xbox, I’ve been a big fan of mech games. Mech Assault, Steel Battalion, and more created a love affair with the genre. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that, despite a name that just screams it, “IC4” (AKA “Iron Core 4”) is *not* a mech game.

What it is, is a vertically-scrolling shoot-’em-up. And it lets you use the whole screen. That’s an interesting choice, given TVs are now much wider than they are tall, that some classic vertically-scrolling shmups actually had screens on their side to make the screen taller than wide, and that many modern vertically-scrolling shmups actually “pillar box” the screen to create a tall playfield.

But here it works, thanks to the game’s multiplayer focus (for up to four players). Oh, it’s still a good game solo, as it has attractive presentation, and it has increasingly impressive power-ups as you press through the game, and it has one of my favourite (and one of the rarest) shoot-’em-up features with enemies having a wide range of hit points. With regard to that last point, some enemies die with one shot, some with several, and some require being hit with a lot of lead; in this genre, in my experience, 99% of enemies (aside from level bosses, and the occasional bigger enemy) require one hit to kill, so that sets this (and a rare few others) apart. It’s worth your $1 (or thereabouts) because of some interesting design elements, and for its support of four players.

This is the sequel to the (rather pedestrian, and un-reviewed) “Iron Core”. Where is “Iron Core 2”, or “IC3”? Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess is that the name derives from the original “Iron Core” being a singleplayer experience, whereas “IC4” is a four-player game. That’s my only theory.

Still should’ve been a mech game. Just sayin’.

Here’s what the developer (Nathan Davis) has to say about the game:

“”Welcome to Iron Core 4 (IC4). Your space fleet is launching an all out attack against the enemy.Now play with up to 4 players locally. Your mission is to be the diversion. This is a suicide mission, last as long as you can to give your fleet the distraction needed to launch a surprise attack.” Updated graphics and sounds! Overhauled and Evolved!!”

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