At times innovation is all about combining already existing products into a completely new one. For example taking orange juice, and carbonating it turned it into a quite popular fuzzy drink. At other times it doesn’t work at all, for example the N-Gage that took a good phone, and combined it with a quite alright gaming system. Into the Blue is a game that combines line drawing gameplay with a turret defense shooter, and at times it feels like soda and at other times like a clunky N-Gage.
In Into the Blue you control a turret with the task of protecting a base, and a crystal mining operation. You are simultaneously responsible for harvesting crystals by drawing paths for your harvesters. The slow harvester has to stand around quite unprotected while loading crystals, and you have to blast the pink robotic enemies to protect it. The controls are really straightforward with line drawing for the harvesters, and tap and hold anywhere on the screen to fire the turret. The controls tend to get tangled at times if you don’t lift your finger off the screen between controlling the turret, and the harvesters. It is also hard to separate the harvester from the turret when they are close to each other. At times I have fired the turret when I have had the harvester in mind. This has meant that the harvester has been vulnerable, and attacked unnecessarily.
The graphics feels washed out, and I am not fond of the hue of the color palette. It feels like the results of my first attempts at using a washing machine as a young student. Too much heat, and too much detergent quickly turned my cheap t-shirts whitish. Upon first look at the screenshots I thought into the blue was developed by John Kooistra of Blue Defense!, Blue Attack! and Red Conquest based on the colors waging war. In Into the Blue the red is pink instead, and quite frankly pink isn’t as menacing at all. Having studied psychology I know that there are large differences in how we interpret threats based on colors, and by social conditioning we have learnt that pink is cuddly. This is an effect that for example Battle Bears 1.5 makes fun of when you are hugged to death by pink bears.
The music in Into the Blue is really nice adding a nice spacy atmosphere to the game. Ambient techno drone music, and a turret blasting pink death is a nice setting for Into the Blue. You can play your own music as well when playing.
There are only five missions, and this is a serious limitation to the game. Even with the inclusion of two levels of difficulty the game feels limited, and it would have been easy to create more missions with just minor variations to the objectives. It has got two different survival modes letting you play Flight Control style for as long as you can survive the onslaught. You have to complete the ordinary missions to unlock the survival modes. OpenFeint is integrated with online leaderboards and achievements. A nice addition to the game is the fact that you can upgrade your turrets, as well as buying extra turrets. This adds a bit of strategy to the game. A drawback is the fact that the game doesn’t save in the middle of the action if you get a call. A future update promises to remedy this.
Into the Blue does quite a good job of combining the genres of turret defense, and line drawing. To me it lacks the urgency found in either of the genres though. I don’t get the “gotta land that damn chopper now!” urgency of Flight Control or the “kill that pink bear now!” sweaty palms of Battle Bears 1.5. I don’t know if it is because of the washed out colors used, or the fact that I feel that it doesn’t matter if the base gets destroyed. Still Into the Blue is an enjoyable game, and if you are into both killing, and line drawing it might be perfect for you. In the end Into the Blue is definately more soda than N-Gage.
Into The Blue $0.99
Seller: 2D Rockers Limited