Iji is an action-packed platform shooter that features a detailed story, large levels with multiple paths, powerful bosses, and lots of secrets. There are alternate gameplay events, dialogues, and scenes that change depending on your actions. Iji, the protagonist, has superhuman strength and abilities which she can upgrade. She can fight with Nanotechnology, crack systems, and even use her enemies' most devastating weapons against them.
from 138 ratings
Date of Release:
|Also try:||Cave Story, Knytt Stories|
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|Windows:||zip 27.2 MB|
3 of 3 people found
this review helpful.
Unfortunately, your mode of expression is pretty much limited to killing aliens, so it’s not very clear where the choice-points in the story are.
As far as killing aliens goes, there’s a wide variety of upgrades you can get, which kept me interested in exploring upgrade paths. The fact that you can combine weapon proficiency and cracking skill to create new weapons is a nice touch.
The part that struck me as weirdest about the combat is that you can’t attack while in mid-air. No jump kicks, no shooting at aliens while you jump from platform to platform. This felt like a strange limitation, but I eventually got used to it.
I didn’t have the patience to get to much of the unlockable content. Some of it depends on things which you only have a few tries at before you need to restart the level. Some depends on very specific weapons which I tended to not have on-hand.
But, as I mentioned, there’s plenty of content without going for every last bit of it hidden away, and I played through the game twice.
Linux users will be happy to know this plays well under Wine. See Iji in the Wine AppDB.
1 of 1 people found
this review helpful.
As to why it is so exceptional,that lies mainly in the morals it explores, especially that of killing. Usually killing enemies in videogames brings no thought, no remorse in the player’s mind. In this case, however, the more you kill, the more consequences you see. It can sometimes be tearjerking, especially if you read all of the alien journals (such a brilliant story-telling technique).
The main plot itself, although a seemingly normal sci-fi plot at first, is well written and has plot twists that will definitely surprise most gamers. In addition, it always gives the player emotions for the characters, whether you come to love them or come to love-to-hate them.
The gameplay is well designed, with organized weapon and upgrade systems that, depending on how you use them, open and close paths. This, paired with the numerous well-hidden secrets give this game incredible replay value.
The music in this game always sets the mood, abd is also one of the best videogame soundtracks I’ve heard (especially due to the boss and final boss themes). If I ever finish a game, I need to get Hyperduck Studios (the ones who composed Iji’s music) to write the music.
Oh, and the final boss is the most epic final boss I’ve seen to date. No big deal (That was sarcasm. It IS a big deal).
A few animations are rough and sometimes the characters and the scenery just don’t seem to belong together. However, It earns points for making some scenes so dramatic.
The music is definitely sci-fi, as well as epic as indie game music gets *cough*final boss track*cough*.
The weapon and upgrade systems are well thought out and the secrets are fun to search for. However, the controls seem a bit stiff (you can only walk, not run).
Probably the most cinema-worthy plot I’ve seen in a videogame in years.
I just couldn’t help but make this something to rate the game by. It is just too epic and too replayable…I think I’m gonna cry!
Despite stiff controls and some roughness in the graphics, this game is epic in nearly every category. Don’t miss it.
1 of 1 people found
this review helpful.
1 of 2 people found
this review helpful.
- A cross between system shock and a platformer
- Unusual choice of visuals which may remind some people about Another World and Impossible Mission
- Story is mostly linear, but the individual levels are large and you are in many ways free in how to go through them
- in total, the gameworld is quite big – perhaps not as big as Aquaria, but big enough.
- many secrets and specials to uncover
- combat feels more tactical than is usual in a platformer
- interesting and unique boss-battles.
- the soundtrack is well composed, though mixing wise it was mastered a bit too hot
With all the awesomeness of this game adressed, i’ll talk about something which hasn’t been mentioned much, and which to me is the only significant flaw in the game.
And that is the naive dualistic theme of moral choice in the game. To summarize it, the moral point of this game is “either you are a bad bloodthirsty massmurder, or you are a masochistic pacifist which enjoys being blasted through the levels by enemy rockets without even thinking of returning fire”. Sanity? Not an option.
Let me get the scenario clear: You get thrown into a world, in which everyone fires at you on sight, with no questions asked – and your character feels guilty for defending herself. The only other option which you are given – which is supposed to be the “good” option, is to run and jump through the levels, with bullets and rockets everywhere. Since that simply isn’t possible to do cleanly, what this translates to is that you literarly will get sent flying through corridors regularly – you are basically simply doing a speedrun, try not to get hit too often, and thats it. Its a masochist-trip. Thats what according to the moral of the game, is “good”.
Well, okay you may think: “If i can opt out of that and just do what i think makes sense, then thats no problem, right?”. Depends – a significant part of the game is the story… and the story as well is full with that naive idea of “morals”. What is most perplexing is that when you see the endgame dialogue, you will notice that the author is well capable of writing dialogue which is very interesting and refreshing – almost philosophical… but unfortunatelly, he just didn’t do that in the rest of the game.
In summary, this game simply wasn’t designed from the ground up for such a “moral choice”. It was designed as a platform shooter in which you can act more or less aggressive. The unnecessary moral choice seems to have been forced in, as if it was afterthought.
Don’t get the wrong impression here: This game is very enjoyable and has a lot to offer – just don’t expect wonders from the story.
2 of 4 people found
this review helpful.
But in order to show how good it is, I need to start with its weakest aspect: the graphics. Even the trailer, as amazingly well cut and edited as it is, screams ‘programmer art’, which is pretty accurate. Though the animations for the characters and objects are very fluid, the character designs themselves are, admittedly, uninspired at times, as well as somewhat ugly, although the sheer range of both size and appearance do impress. The MS-Paint-ish sprites are little more than roughly-drawn, solid-colored geometric shapes stuck together and made to move in unison, though sometimes they even fail at that. The only time detail makes an appearance is in the presence of gunfire, when the characters gain some semblance of gradated textures and light source – although, in all likelihood, you’ll be too busy laughing at the cheesy one-frame gunfire animations to notice.
Even more likely, you won’t care the slightest, since the rest is so good; I certainly didn’t, and I’m a goddamn pixel artist for these things. That’s a great thing about this game: it can take itself seriously, without trying too hard. So let’s move on to the most fundamental variable, the gameplay. In terms of mechanics, Iji is pretty formulaic, giving you a standard assortment of shotguns, assault rifles, and heavy artillery, with occasional opportunities to mix and match various weapon types to augment their capabilities (for example, combining the Nano Shotgun with the Machine Gun, gives the former a higher rate of fire). These new options eat up ammo at an alarming rate, however, so save for a few select boss battles, you’ll find yourself sticking with the traditional versions for most enemies (unless you’re going for faster completion times, though I don’t understand why you would). This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if hacking ammunition from enemies wasn’t so difficult, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I’m sad to say that this is a bit of a wasted opportunity, since each gun has only one compatible combination, leading to minutes of frustrating trial-and-error number crunching. More importantly, though, it makes the whole thing feel very scripted; though the story stresses that such add-ons are clearly unsafe and unorthodox, it feels like exactly the opposite, failing to give the player a feeling of truly crafting their own custom weapons.
As with most weapons, of course, everything except your starting shotgun and the defensive Resonance Detonator require ammunition, which can be found in storage areas, or by hacking cargo crates or enemy weapons. Much like in the System Shock series, the hacking (or ‘cracking’, to use in-game terminology) mini-game takes only a few seconds, and the crates are easy enough to open if you have a steady hand; tampering with enemy equipment, however, requires as much luck as skill. As mentioned, cracked enemies will drop ammunition when they are killed – which, by the way, hacking has a humorous tendency of doing – but the problem is that you have no way of preserving stealth, since you can’t move forward while crouched (actually, I don’t even think Iji is capable of crouching; she sort of just bends over) and can be detected even when hidden behind objects or lower elevation. Moreover, you have to physically touch enemies in order to crack them, and since they have frustratingly unpredictable patrol patterns, if they happen to turn around or you fail to complete the hack, you will instantly receive a forceful alien appendage to the face, causing considerable damage, knocking you to the ground, and alerting all enemies in the vicinity. It’s not the difficulty of hacking them so much as the consequences of failing at it, which make it seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
This is, however, borne from a much more apparent frustration: the limited movement. While the game gives Iji a full range of normal jumping and walking motions, it forbids her from firing her weapons while in midair or when crouching (I could not wrap my head around that last one; I thought crouch-firing was supposed to make you more accurate?). It also prohibits you from firing up, diagonally, or in any general direction other than straight in front of you. While fans of the genre will learn to cope with not being able to snipe out enemies from below or unleash death from above, it does feel awkward in some boss battles, where you have to stop firing to dodge incoming projectiles by way of crouch or jump (interestingly enough, a lot of harder enemies can’t hit you if you crouch), especially since you fight most bosses on flat terrain, without environmental cover or platforms. Still, periodic upgrades to your jumping ability eventually let you leap to such ridiculous heights that, when you play it over again from the beginning, you’ll be cursing at your comparative lack of vertical capability.
And I assure you, you will play it over again, if only on ‘Sector Playthrough’ to find some ridiculously hidden posters, ‘supercharge’ power-ups (no idea what these do, as of yet), or ribbons left behind by Iji’s dead sister, Mia. Collecting all the posters give you access to the hidden level, Sector Z, though its entrance is as difficult to find as the posters themselves without a strategy guide. Seeing that, as of this writing, none have been made, good luck.
A stronger motivation to play again, perhaps, is the extreme amount of control the player has over Iji’s abilities; ‘blue nanofields’, which represent experience, can be found scattered about the levels or found on dead enemies. With them, Iji can augment a variety of abilities, including her health cap, regeneration rate, weapon power, weapon skill (i.e. what weapons she can use), cracking skill, and door-kicking capabilities. The large number of choices guarantees that specialization will be necessary, and means that players will inevitably miss out on parts of the game on the first playthrough. Which would be fine, except that the game limits the amount of levels Iji can gain in each sector; this is probably to encourage players to come back to the game, but it seems a bit unfair to prohibit the player from using experience they earned with their own blood and bullets.
In an unusual part of a review for a 2D shooter, I want to highlight the game’s story. Eschewing throwaway ‘stop the alien apocalypse’ plots from other sci-fi shooters, used mainly as excuses for insane amounts of violence, Daniel Remar has clearly spent quality time penning the game’s narrative, throwing the player into a world where the aforementioned ’apocalypse’ has already come and gone, forcing them to question why they’re slaughtering aliens when humanity is already extinct. This doesn’t stop the extraterrestrial Tasen from hunting you down, making the first three levels a pure run-and-gun affair. You soon discover, however, that the Tasen, too, are a dying race (cleverly compacted into brief logbooks scattered around the levels, making it possible to bypass the back-story), fleeing from the wrath of the militaristic and technologically superior Komato empire, and forced to annihilate Earth more out of desperation than malice. No sooner does that happen, however, when the Komato themselves appear on Earth, and continue their long-standing grudge against the Tasen; besides a clever plot twist, this also makes for an intriguing gameplay experience, as intense AI battles are played out between the two factions while the player watches on, or, if they so choose, help out either side (not that the winning one will be very grateful to the player after they finish the job). Having better weapons and being much harder to kill, the Komato almost always win; compounded with the heroic (and sometimes comical) logbook exposition, the player begins to develop a strange sense of pity for the Tasen as they fight a defiant but hopeless battle for survival, even though they DESTROYED EARTH AND KILLED YOUR FAMILY. That right, it’s that good of a game. My only gripe is (SPOILERS) that the Tasen are wiped out even if you save them on every occasion, but I guess that’s a true testament to how well the game lets you sympathize with the enemies beyond target practice; in hindsight, it’s nothing short of brilliant.This is where the deep ‘morality-based narrative’ comes into play, as dialogue and conversations change depending on your playing style; indeed, as I progressed into the later levels of the game on a homicidal, four-hundred-kill rampage, I began to notice her increasingly provoking attitude during cut-scenes, more frequent scoldings by others for her hypocritically violent tendencies (nothing is more disturbing than having an AI-controlled boss paint you as the bad guy, yet be absolutely right in doing so), and loud cries of, “die!” during battle. Consequently, boss battles become much more difficult (possibly to counteract the massive amounts of experience you gain from slaughtering enemies), and Iji becomes increasingly delusional as she struggles to justify her homicidal ways. This game had me questioning my morality and feeling guilt for my actions way more than big-budget titles like Haze or Mass Effect, which touted such features right on the box, but failed to deliver. Alternatively, if the player chooses the ‘pacifist’ approach (which a lot of them will be guilted into doing, after taking the traditional kill-everything approach that resulted in one of the most tragic endings I’ve seen) and refrains from killing anyone, the Tasen will propose a truce, a reflection of the game’s true replay value and true power the player has over the story (though it’s often more trouble than it’s worth, since you can’t even touch enemies without breaking the deal, even when they’re blocking your access to the end of the level). The only problem is that the game defines any number of kills beyond six as a sign of irreproachable brutality, even counting the demise of bosses that:
A.) Attacked you first
B.) You have to kill to finish the level.
That’s an iffy bit of game design right there.
Another problem with avoiding bloodshed is that, if you think creatively and use the Resonance Reflector under the theoretically sound assumption that, ‘if I deflect someone’s attacks back at them, they’d technically be shooting themselves, and I would gain experience while keeping my hands clean’, you’d be wrong. The game counts these as kills, and furthermore, powers up the projectiles to make it virtually the same as if you’d used your own weapons. This kind of defeats the purpose of having the Reflector at all, since it’s very hard to time correctly and finicky to select from your inventory (as is the case with switching any weapon in the game). Not that it breaks the game, but it certainly doesn’t reward the player for thinking outside the box (again, the ‘scripted’ feeling). Then again, maybe I’m just trying too hard to beat the system…
All in all, Iji is certainly likely to become a classic, despite faults that could have been easily corrected; in a recent interview, Daniel Remar remarked that he would never again make a game as big as Iji, and I sincerely hope this isn’t true, because the world needs more games like it. While Garden Gnome Carnage was certainly fun, I’d take an Iji every three years over a Hero 3D every month. Play it now, love it forever.
The game has been polished to a mirror shine. The sector maps are well balanced and show foresight into not just how the maps will appear, but how they will be played and experienced. While there are some situations that do not work perfectly, they are barely noticeable and given the open map design, you may not ever even encounter them. The maps, in conjunction with the well spaced plot development give the game the appropriate feeling of flow through the industrial complex.
Gameplay-wise, Iji is a spiritual partner to Deus Ex and System Shock 2. A concise selection of stats are available to boost as you power up and while you can’t pump all stats to the max, the game gives you multiple routes to pick based on the direction you’ve taken. You are never punished for picking the “wrong” stats, but you are rewarded for having the foresight to pick the right stats.
The story shows a great deal of work. While the overall story arc is more or less static, there are many point where the game offers a contextual tweak in the dialogue based on your actions, and a handful of scenarios that change entirely based on your actions. The plot offers a few significant branches that merit multiple playthroughs, each of which put a decidedly different spin on the plot.
The game is not without it’s problems, however. An inexplicable lack of mid-air attacks is unusual, but does not detract from the game as it was clearly designed around this fact. The sprite graphics could also stand to benefit from the same level of detail the background received, as they don’t feel like they fit in.
The end game product is probably what can only be described as the bastard child of Cave Story and System Shock. A multitude of weapons (each with distinctly different uses), accommodating character development system, crisp indie graphics, fitting music, and a driving plot. Iji has everything it needs to reel you in and keep you playing. Occasionally, you play a game where you can sense that the developer puts their work on a pedestal. It’s a rare occurrence, but Iji is a work of art and Daniel Remar’s development passion shines through the end product.
The controls can be summed up as “arrow keys to move and jump” and “one button for melee, and one button to shoot, plus one button for activating things” This actually works quite well, and adds breakable terrain, and a decently size list of weapons one can switch through. It has its own set of stats which are upgraded when one “levels up” by collecting nanites and spend the point you get for leveling up a certain devices. You can also hack some doors and boxes.
The last two aspects are blatantly deritive of system shock 2, and is coupled with the the consistant finding of personal logs of other people. There is also a costantly unseen guide. The stats in this case almost all directly effect combat, and the hacking game while fun, is extremely easy, and serves as a further reminder of system shock graphically speaking.
Oddly enough, the storyline actually most closely matches Halo(3) with aliens taking over the earth, and the voice acting (there is in game voice acting, though it is unfortunetly absent throughout the cut scenes, unless its only there with the music on.) of the cannon fodder reminisce of Halo as well.
When it comes to text-story driven side-scroller, the best in my opinion is yahtzee’s 1213. Unfortunetly, David Remar doesn’t seem to have yahtzee’s knack for a good story, though its game engine I would consider to be better.
Over all, I’d say that this is a good game. I’d go as far to say its a very good, maybe even a “really really good” game, but I can’t bring myself to call it “great” or “excellent.” It is in fact, a game that you will enjoy considerably, and that you may wish to play multiple times. However, the game has constant reminders of imperfection.
1 of 2 people found
this review helpful.
1 of 2 people found
this review helpful.
- Plenty of replay value due to the wealth of things to do.
- Combat is well done and very fun.
- Some weapons are overpowered. In a good way.
- The sounds and music are very good.
- It’s free.
- Story is a little cliche.
- Graphics could use a little more polish.
- Your only allowed to level up about 5 times in each “sector” (a sector is basically a level in this game).
- A little bit of lag in some areas but nothing show stopping.
0 of 1 people found
this review helpful.
The next huge feature of this game is the content. The vastness of this game alone makes me feel bad for not paying at least 20$ for this game. Nearly everything you do in this game effects what is to come. From dialog, to logbooks, to character portraits, everything is potentially something else. As well as story options there is also numerous enticing weapons and upgrades to unlock.
If I had to point out two flaws in this game one would have to be that the soundtrack can get a little repetitive every once and a while. As well as that the graphics may seem a little dull at times but the action in this game is so fluid you get lost in the beautifully animated explosions and unique enemies.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I would have gladly paid 50$ for this masterpiece.