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Antipole (Xbox 360) artwork

Antipole (Xbox 360) review

"Antipole is like a blast from the past, except it came out recently. It's loaded with simple 2D platforming and basic gunplay, but the game is far from easy. Your character's motions are fast and intense, poignantly loose to add challenge to the platforming aspect. Timing your jumps and maneuvering is the key, but it's not all that will save your red-coated butt. "

With his long red trench coat flapping in the draft, a man in a fedora lowers himself into the research facility via wire. No one knows who he is or what he's after, but they take him for a thief and intruder. As he hits the floor he shoots down a long shaft, deftly weaving around a series of raised platforms. The mechanical guards have awoken, the traps have been activated--spikes raise from their nests, gallons of acid fill pits, and electrical wires spark to life. The interloper's chances look grim.

Antipole [XBLI] asset
But he's not dead yet, and neither is the 2D platformer. Antipole lives.

Antipole is like a blast from the past, except it came out recently. It's loaded with simple 2D platforming and basic gunplay, but the game is far from easy. Your character's motions are fast and intense, poignantly loose to add challenge to the platforming aspect. Timing your jumps and maneuvering is the key, but it's not all that will save your red-coated butt.

The robotic guards are on a rampage, wanting to pound you into bloody pulp. That's where your plasma gun comes in handy. The first few levels are basic run-'n-gun situations, but later enemies will lay in inconvenient places. Some of them prefer indents in the floor or platforms high above. Timing your shots is key since your weapon shoots slowly. Other enemies take multiple shots to disable, and some even fire back or drop bombs on you. Many of these jokers rest on even higher platforms, and basic jumping isn't going to get you to them.

Hell, basic jumping isn't going to get you past the long beds of spikes or lakes of acid.

Antipole [XBLI] screenshotAntipole's coup de grace comes when you snag an anti-gravity device in the first stage. Using this device flips you upside down and sends you up toward the ceiling to allow you to run over the miles of traps and hazards on the floor. It can only be used a short time, but recharges when not in use. With this, your swift motions and your plasma gun taken into account, levels become intricate works of perils, robots, and death. Football-field-length beds of spikes wait to impale you, with interspersed moving platforms as your only protection; vertical shafts filled with spikes, Mega Man-style, also wait to taste your flesh. Some places even feature hazards on the ceiling and floor and require you to use the anti-gravity for only a split second, at just the right time, to get you to safety.

When in use, the anti-gravity also effects various enemies and metal boxes within a certain radius. This can work to your advantage by allowing you to draw out some of the robots that hide in indents or allowing you to solve puzzles. One puzzle requires you to use the anti-gravity to guide a robot across a long hallway of exposed electrical wire and floating platforms so the thing can push a floor plate for you to open a door. Let it drop and it will explode, leaving you to start the process over again.

Then comes the acid.

Acid also obeys gravity--and conversely, anti-gravity. You'll need the anti-gravity to get by it, but doing so causes the acid to leap up at the ceiling towards you. Make one misstep or start your run too late and you will burn. You won't suffer damage from the acid as you would from spikes or wires, you'll outright die. Thankfully the lives are infinite.

Infinite lives don't diminish the challenge. You can take every level cautiously, but what's the fun in that? Use your character's speed and your skill and timing to blast to the very end as quickly as possible to beat your best time, or even the level's target time to earn some medals. What platformer is complete without some aspect of collecting? Every level has three green coins, some very well hidden, that can unlock bonus challenges at the title screen.

Antipole is everything a basic 2D platformer, a flash game, and an indie game should be. It's simple, loaded with content, inexpensive, challenging, inventive, and it's a major blast! It really puts your timing and skill to the test and requires you to think as well as act. It's only 240 MSP, and it's worth every point.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (July 26, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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fleinn posted August 07, 2011:

:) neat. Really like the narrative in the text. "Lay in inconvenient places" sounds like a bad porn-flick. "Blast to the past" is overworked as well. But other than that it's a really neat and easily read review.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 08, 2011:

It does kinda sound like a porno, but more like a badly translated Asian one. Thanks, fleinn!
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fleinn posted August 09, 2011:

..actually, I was thinking the movie was about having sex on the back of a truck driving on a bumpy road.. or on a small towel on a beach, or something like that. At least until now >_< ..thanks a lot Joe..

What's the animation like in the game, by the way? Do you get sprites with some leap on the transitions. So the cape falls a bit and the objects drop, etc. Or is it simulated context-dependent animation, so that, say, the drop animation for the cape starts even if you're currently falling upwards, etc..?

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