Publisher Sometimes You have an impressive Xbox catalog of smaller games, most of them are worthy of your money and time too! Their last game for Xbox in 2020 is a vertical shooter from Satur Games, known for Stellatum. Testing your reaction times this time is I, AI, a basic but well-designed game that is far less complex compared to Stellatum. Do they end the year with a dud or with a proud porting achievement? You’ll know it fast enough in our I, AI review.
We played I, AI for six hours on Xbox Series X and destroyed countless ships.
What we liked!
- Basic but effective gameplay: In case you don’t know what to expect from a vertical shooter (or a Shmup). The concept is very easy, your ship flies up, enemies fly down and try to destroy you. Your main goal is to survive, your secondary goal is to destroy every enemy for bonus points. This is easier said than done, while I, AI is far from being the near-impossible Shmup game Ikaruga it gives the player some increasing challenge. Twenty levels are available to conquer, most of them with a tricky boss-fight. Satur Games clearly wanted to go old-school and didn’t go crazy with gameplay ideas, it all comes down to using your main automated blasters and rockets and using the limited powerful special moves in clever ways. Mines, an incredibly useful laser beam, shields, and more can only be used one or two times, depending if you collect more of them in the level. Every few levels new enemies want to explode your ship, fast and agile ships with powerful laser beams, huge and slow moving ships with guided missles or insta-death bullets. Knowing what enemies will do is important and keep the gameplay fun and engaging. The Shmup genre is known to be repetitive and this is even more so in I, AI, so keep that in mind.
- Impossible to clear without grinding previously completed levels: Big part of surviving in I, AI is with upgrading your ship. The ability to have an additional life is a must have for making it to the end. Improving the damage of your main blasters, increasing the amount of mines or duration of your shield is useful too. While I am a fan for upgrading my ship the ratio between rewards points that you get and how much these improvements cost isn’t balanced at all. You will have to constantly replay previous levels to get a decent amount of reward points before you have a chance to survive every level.
What we disliked
- Situations arise that enemy fire and reward points are hard to distinguish: There is one thing that a game in the shooter genre has to completely nail and that’s having a clear and fast responsive way to avoid dangers. Here lies an issue with I, AI as some enemy ships shoot out blue bullets that look very similar to the reward points you get from destroying enemy ships. This might be done on purpose to increase the challenge a bit but I am not a fan. Luckily these occasions don’t happen much but it remains frustrating nonetheless.
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