App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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The world is in danger. Aliens are invading. It’s up to us to fight off the blah, blah, blah. The reasons why for games like Meatspace Invasion never really matter; it’s the actual doing that really counts. At its core, it’s essentially a simple little shooter. However, this simple little shooter is sporting a feature that makes it quite a bit more interesting. And special. The good kind of special.
While Meatspace Invasion’s emphasis on blasting aliens into goo and staying alive long enough to blast more aliens into goo isn’t ground-breaking, its use of the iPhone’s internal GPS makes it feel like something altogether different. Game sessions take place wherever the player is located, with monsters and power-ups spawning in the surrounding area. Grabbing energy and health boosts will require actually walking (or running) to them, and the same goes for avoiding the hostile invaders. A number of weapons and other gear can be unlocked and purchased in the Armory, as well. Some weapons have a set attack radius that allows players to zap anything that gets close enough while others have to be “aimed” by facing in the appropriate direction. Completing assigned tasks earns stars that will lead to rank increases, unlocking more kit and tougher enemies.
The incorporation of the GPS makes all the difference for Meatspace Invasion. It could have come off as just another shooter, but having to wander around in the real world in order to dispatch hostiles and avoid doom make it much more compelling. Especially when other players can join in the fight; offering up support or acting as a decoy when the situation calls for it.
The only thing that potentially gets in the way of enjoying Meatspace Invasion is an unfortunate byproduct of the concept itself. I’m talking about the GPS functionality. It works, and works well, but this is a game that has to be played in the real world. This means lots of walking and running, as well as the potential risk of colliding with people on the street or getting caught at a crosswalk at an inopportune moment. It’s an unavoidable issue that is made less of a bother by a more casual pace for the gameplay, but it’s still very much something to keep in mind. People living in major urban centers will most likely have a harder time with it than, say, someone with access to more open (and less occupied) areas. Like a big park.
Meatspace Invasion is a fun location-based shooter that features some great ideas but ultimately can’t overcome the typical issues associated with the use of the iPhone’s GPS. It’s still very much worth a look for those who enjoy this kind of thing, but potential players need to understand that it’s not something that can be played effectively while sitting in one spot.