Tag Archives: Taito Corporation

Space Invaders Infinity Gene EVOLVES!!

The iPhone’s very best shooter — Space Invaders Infinity Gene — is now the best shooter on the iPhone 4 and iPad. TAITO today released version 4.0 of their masterfully remade classic, upgrading the game to include universal support for the iPhone and iPad, high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina display, and improved frame-rates on all devices. The update also adds a new Survival mode, Game Center support and achievements. If, for whatever INSANITY, you don’t already own it, you now have even more reasons to buy Space Invaders Infinity Gene. The full list of 4.0 improvements, as published by TAITO is:

1. Now optimized for iPhone 4 and iPad, featuring vibrant graphics and smoother framerate that surpass that of the previous version upscaled.

2. “SURVIVAL” has been added to the menu. SURVIVAL mode allows multiple Extra and Chimera stages to be played in sequence.
SURVIVAL mode now features DARIUS-style branching stages, with multiple endings prepared. Can you unlock every ending?!
* In SURVIVAL mode, new stages are unlocked via the Evolution Gauge.

3. Now Game Center compatible.

4. Now compatible with OpenFeint 3.7.4.

5. Achievements have been added.

Mikado Defenders Review: A Disappointing Tower Defense Game from Developers Who Ought to Know Better

Tower defense games are to the app store as porn sites are to search engines. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for; you’re going to find one. I’d say they’re a dime-a-dozen, but nothing on the app store sells for under ninety-nine cents. Mikado Defenders isn’t a completely terrible game, it’s just a mostly terrible one. And with so many better tower defense games on the app store, I wouldn’t buy this game if it were free. With a long legacy of games behind them, TAITO Corporation ought to know better than to release a game as shoddy as this one.

The premise is a combination of the PlayStation 2 games Onimusha and Samurai Warriors, tied up in the trappings of a tower defense game. In feudal Japan, players must defend their castles against demonic invaders by deploying various types of soldiers to fend off waves of enemies. Standard unit types may be bolstered by deploying heroes from Japanese history such as Hattori Hanzo, Oda Nobunaga, Sanada Yukimura and other likely suspects. As with most tower defense games, enemies come in various types. There are the standard light and heavy troops, aerial troops that can only be attacked by archers, etc. Your own soldiers can be upgraded by spending gold acquired during play, and your castle fortifications and defenses can also be improved. Slaying foes causes your castle to absorb souls, which can be used to unleash Guardian Spirits when your soul gauge is full. Guardian Spirits invoke massive attacks affecting the entire battlefield.


Feudal Japan: As an unabashed ninja fanatic, and having played through the entire Onimusha series and several Samurai Warriors games, Feudal Japan is obviously a setting that appeals to me. Based on these facts, Mikado Defenders immediately demanded my attention when first I encountered it, and it pretty well nails its atmosphere. The game wears Feudal Japan comfortably. I only wish it had more going for it.


Graphics: Pretty from afar, Mikado Defenders reveals itself to be fairly repulsive up-close. A game best played through beer-goggles, I suppose. Low-resolution backdrops, art pieces and sprites are the order of the day. The game seems almost as if it were designed to be played on an EGA monitor, and would have been beautiful in 1984 when 16-color displays were all the rage. Stylistically, the artwork is very cool, but it flops in technical execution.

Interface: The interface is just as ugly as everything else; just look at the pause button, will ya? But it’s the deployment locations I take real issue with here. On each map, green circles represent locations to which soldiers may be deployed. While it’s certainly not impossible to place your troops on the board, there is a certain feeling of imprecision involved. But it gets worse, because the green circles — which greatly resemble muddy, green blobs — are also used to denote the current level of the soldiers placed atop it. But with the level indicator usually covered by soldiers, and difficult to read even when your soldiers step off of it, it’s extremely difficult to keep your troop levels straight. The game speed button is also bizarre; it has four settings, but always shows the next state rather than the active state of the speed setting.

Loading: No fewer than five loading screens stand between your icon and actually playing the game. Between loads, you’ll be asked to make one or two selections from menus before being dumped into the next load. On my iPhone 3G, it took nearly a minute-and-a-half from executing the game from my home screen and sitting through the loading screens and menus, to finally getting to play the first stage. I know the game isn’t loading high-resolution artwork or CD-quality audio, so I’m quite at a loss to imagine what it’s doing for all that time. At the very least, you’ll be able to catch up on your magazine reading while you wait to play. There’s even an invisible load when you invoke your Guardian Spirits; you won’t see the word “Loading” on the screen, but you will have to wait for the game to launch its low-res attack.

Derivative: Derivative of Onimusha and Samurai Warriors, derivative of games that take forever to load, and derivative of every other tower defense game out there, Mikado Warriors does very little (perhaps nothing) to set itself apart from its competition.

Slow: Not only does the game take forever to get started, but you’ll swear it’s loading even as you play. Even with the speed cranked up, the game just feels sluggish.

With so many excellent tower defense games on the app store, I feel like an ass for spending my time and money on Mikado Defenders. Like a ripe fool, I was lured in by its feudal Japanese setting, only to be set upon by its atrocious gameplay and painfully low-resolution visuals. The game is one of the stodgiest, ugliest and poorest excuses for tower defense gaming I’ve yet seen. There are one-man indie developers making better games than this, and so it’s all the more baffling that Mikado Defenders comes from TAITO, a company that has been making games since 1973, the company responsible for Space Invaders, one of the most legendary titles in video game history, and a company wholly owned by Square Enix, developers of the legendary Final Fantasy franchise and the recent Chaos Rings on the iPhone. Coming from such pedigree, Mikado Defenders seems an inbred, genetic fluke.

If you’re desperate to indulge in the feudal Japanese setting, then Mikado Defenders may be well enough to hold your interest. But if you’re looking for a good tower defense game, there are probably a hundred better options on the app store, and many of them available as free downloads. Play something else; this one’s a stinker. Or, if you don’t believe me, at the very least, play the lite version before throwing cash down on this one.

Mikado Defenders ($2.99 / Free) is inconceivably born from TAITO Corporation, and was reviewed at version 1.0 on an iPhone 3G.

Taito’s Classic Brick-Breaker Arkanoid Out Now, $4.99

The name Arkanoid will stir up fond memories for many.  You have a paddle, a ball, and it’s your job to clear all the bricks above you. With many brick breaker clones on the iPod and iPhones, it’s about time we saw one of the originals step up to the plate.

In this version, Taito promises 100 available levels.  There are also boss battles thrown into the mix, and multiplayer shared over a single device to break up the gameplay.

While $4.99 isn’t cheap, it looks like Taito’s betting on nostalgic fans to take the bait and buy this one.  Check it out on the app store now, or wait for our full review.



Bust-A-Move Review: Far From Extinct

Taito Corporation has been an up and down developer, releasing watered down ports like Cooking Mama, yet delivering jaw-dropping experiences like Space Invaders Infinity Gene.  Bust-A-Move seems to fall in right between those two categories, but it’s definitely not something you shouldn’t consider.


Controls: With around 2 different control methods, Bust-A-Move doesn’t fail to deliver solid controls.  A problem with Snood were the controls that would block your view of the screen, but Bust-A-Move’s controls don’t seem to block the screen at all, and you’ll be able to see pretty much the whole screen.

Gameplay Modes: Bust-A-Move has an extensive amount of gameplay modes: Vs. Mode, Challenge Mode, and Story Mode.  The story mode alone will take around 3-5 hours to finish, maybe even longer as I’m not exactly sure how many levels there are.  Challenge mode is a mode in where the game never ends, and the vs. mode consists of bluetooth multiplayer against a friend or foe.

Sounds: The sounds in this game actually sounds like a 21st century game even though it doesn’t look like one.  The cute voiceovers and bubble popping sound effects are very well done, and they will definitely appeal to little children and others of that nature.  It’s a cute game, and the sound effects just make the whole experience even cuter.


Graphics: Ehh, not sure if Taito was going for the retro look, but Bust-A-Move seems to be a mix of retro and modern.  It’s just not really my style, and while Space Invaders Infinity Gene was clearly retro, Bust-A-Move is hard to tell.  It would have been nice if Taito made the game look a little better especially the bubbles, but presentation is not too bad.

Expensive: Bubble Bash from Gameloft will offer pretty much the same things as Bust-A-Move.  Bust-A-Move is just includes a vs. mode and whatnot, but it really doesn’t justify the $4.99 price tag.  The game is fun and all, but it is pretty expensive compared to alternatives.

Bust-A-Move isn’t everything I dreamed it would be, but it wasn’t a disappointment at all.  The game is old and I’m sure some of you want it to just die, but Bust-A-Move seems to survive all the modern games on the iPhone and deliver an enjoyable experience.  Bust-A-Move was actually pretty fun to play, and while it is expensive, it did have me playing for quite a while.


Bust-A-Move was developed by Taito Corporation, and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $4.99.



Space Invaders Infinity Gene Review: Long Live Retro

Taito Corporation, the developers of the iPhone version of Cooking Mama, released an improved version of Space Invaders not too long ago, and it seems to improve the original Space Invaders quite a lot.  This game is a port of a Japanese mobile game, and it is quite similar in look and gameplay.  Game can be described as a top-down shooter, but what makes this one special is something that you would never expect.


Content: The game isn’t called infinity gene with no reason.  Theoretically, the game contains an infinite amount of levels unless of course, you possess every single song known to man.  Along with music-generated levels, there are a huge amount of levels in the campaign mode each with their own special design.

Design: The retro in this game is so retro that it’s unbelievably beautiful.  I was never really a fan of retro graphics, and 8-bit games always bothered me.  The design in Space Invaders Infinity Gene is especially designed to look retro, yet modern at the same time.  I really love the looks in Space Invaders, and the geometric shapes and explosions is extremely well done.

A New Experience: After releasing the original Space Invaders, Taito didn’t release another Space Invaders with the same concept and look.  I love how Taito worked on a wholly new experience that’s not a new concept altogether, but a concept that’s been upgraded and improved greatly.

Music-Generated Levels: The game includes an interesting feature that works, but something that’s a mystery.  The game generates levels based on (what seems like) the sounds and pitches of your music, then generates enemies and designs for the level.  I’ve tested the game mode with different songs, and each song plays different designed levels, but a song plays the same looking level.


Controls: This is a common problem among all top-down shooters, and it’s that your finger tends to block your view of your ship.  Although this hasn’t been a problem with other top-down shooters, Space Invaders Infinity Gene plays using a small spaceship for the ship and it tends to be a little smaller than usual.  Different control options would have been nice, but the current ones aren’t enough to ruin the gameplay.

Small: The whole game feels so… small.  The buttons, ships, options, etc. are all very small and sometimes hard to read (i.e. the exit button).  Although larger font would make the game look awkward, I found the buttons to be a little on the small side.  For those people with ham hands, the miniscule buttons and UI interface will bother you.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene is an especially unique retro game that takes the top-down shooter genre to a new level.  Graphics are very unique and very retro, and some may not enjoy that aspect.  Other than that, the game is a wonderful addition to the App Store.  Music-generated levels, tons of campaign levels, and beautiful geometry make this game totally worth your purchase.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene was developed by TAITO Corporation, and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $4.99.