If you ever wanted to know why police wear sunglasses, look no further than AIPD – Artificial
Intelligence Police Department. The game throws you into the maelstrom in a top down twin stick shooter in a vibrant, neon-filled world.
AIPD does, however, attempt something new in an already crowded genre. When starting a new game, you’re given a few choices on your starting weapons – from Gatling guns to shotguns and then selecting how you want to play with your defences. Gaining power-ups as you destroy enemies is a game formula that hasn’t changed much over the years. Balancing shields with an equal amount of charge, low but high recharge, AIPD does try it’s best to bring some customisation to proceedings.
Each wave consists of multiple enemies homing in on you, and the idea is to kill everything before it kills you. At the end of each round, you can select a multiplier, which not only increases the score but also increases the difficulty of each wave. Each multiplier selected stacks, so as you progress you choose your own difficulty. The higher the multiplier, the harder the choice.
This is a game all about high scores. You’ll be pitted against the community in trying to reach the top of the leaderboard. I ended on a score of about 6,000,000 or so after my first playthrough. The high score at the time was 62,000,000, so it’s obvious that there are some really good players out there already!
There are several modes to plough through – you can select your own difficulty settings and saving up to three of them to replay over and over. A little bit of customisation always goes a long way. Whilst the game itself is competent at what it does, there are some issues that need to be addressed. The gameplay never really changes, and after ten or so waves you notice it. There’s no real variety in the gameplay.
The shotgun, for example, has some issues. A very powerful weapon, but some nasty recoil. Not recoil in the sense that it’ll send you flying across the screen, but it does make the whole screen shake. I understand it’s to add balance to the game, but when firing constant shots across the screen, with beautifully enhanced oranges and blues, it can be a headache-inducing experience – more so in extended sittings.
Another problem is the arena itself. It’s just too large. Geometry Wars worked because you could see everything on the screen. Being able to see everything helps you to plan your movement, but in AIPD this works against you sometimes. There are a lot of enemies that come at you and having the ability to see all around you would really help you to strategise your movements. AIPD does compensate, having orange arrows that point in the direction of enemies, but this can get lost in the amount of noise on the screen.
The last issue I had was with the rules of play. While the game is quite easy to understand, there’s no instruction or guide to help you. The in-built guide only gives you the control scheme – left stick to move, the right to aim and the trigger to unleash hell on all those perps – and while there are certain power-ups you can collect throughout gameplay, it’s up to you to work out what they do. In a game as face paced as AIPD, you need to know what everything does so you can choose the best power up for the moment.
That’s not to say AIPD is a bad game at all. It looks stylish, the gameplay is smooth and I found myself jumping back into game after game. Personally, I feel there are a few decisions that could have been a little bit tighter.