Developer: Cipher Prime
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Without context, it would be easy to think that Intake was designed from the ground up for the iPad. It’s the portrait orientation, and the game being so multitouch-friendly, being about frantically eliminating pills that drop from the sky by tapping on them, with the ability to pop multiple at a time by using multiple fingers. It actually wasn’t made specifically for iPad, though; it started as a PC game that used the mouse. Now that Intake is on the iPad, it’s at home and is a must-have for iPad owners who love fast-paced intense experiences.

Intake-6Intake-1The best way to play the game is by laying it down flat on a table, using one’s thumb on each hand to switch pill colors in an Ikaruga-esque fashion, and then using other fingers to pop pills up and down the screen as necessary. It’s worth popping the same color pill as what is selected in order to extend out combos – not only for more points, but to get the power-ups that can help keep the board under control. This is especially necessary during the challenging levels that appear every five stages: they will often be the end of a run, but completing them means it will be even more lucrative. Checkpoints that new games can be started from are available every 25 stages.

Intake strikes a rare balance: it’s great for short play sessions, but it’s at its most rewarding when sitting back and playing it for long periods of time. Getting into the game, shutting out all else, can be quite intense. But yet, it’s still pretty entertaining when just playing for a few minutes at a time.

Intake-5Intake-2The issue I have with the progression of the game is that there’s a huge hill to climb early on: only having one life for a while means that players are punished by making one mistake, and must struggle to earn MGs (the game’s currency) in order to get the 5000 necessary to unlock a second life. Once this is obtained though, the game opens up dramatically. Suddenly one mistake isn’t the end, and the feel of the game changes. Getting better truly becomes possible. As well, since the rate of MG earning increases over time, it becomes possible to unlock more of the power-ups and the later ones more easily. It just takes getting over that first hump for Intake‘s potential to be realized. On a similar note, the game could really use having another music track unlocked early on: the initial track is catchy, but it gets a bit grating after awhile.

Intake is exhilirating, and a must-have for anyone who loves fast-paced iPad games.


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