Intake: Be Aggressive Review (iOS)
Taking pills in the magnitude that Intake: Be Aggressive presents can result in a few adverse effects mixed in with its original therapeutic intent. Intake seems like a breakneck blend of the polarity-swapping, fast-paced action of Ikaruga mixed with the capsule-based medical regime of Dr. Mario. Instead of using medication for sake of destroying monstrous viruses, Intake throws a multitude of pills in your direction at lightspeed in order to create chaos, encouraging you to sort out its pharmaceutical waterfall of colors. So let's fill out this prescription and see if its worth the experience to pop this many colorful pills.
The standout feature of Intake is its presentation. Like The Splatters, Fluidity, A Boy and his Blob and Lumines, Intake: Be Aggressive's presentation is heavy on mixing its colorful visuals to its addictive sounds. Similar to Lumines, the further you get throughout Intake, Intake's graphics become even more colorful and its tunes evolve after every few level changes. By the time you reach level 10, Intake will look and feel like a completely different game compared to when you first start, mainly due to its showering of colorful effects and growing electronic soundtrack, but that's if you can get there.
The fluidity and colorful range of Intake: Be Aggressive's graphics are hindered by some major frame rate issues when playing from an iPad, which is a shame considering there isn't even an iPhone version of the game available. The more pills that appear on the screen, the lower the frame rate drops. In terms of Intake being a game of speed, reflexes and hand-eye coordination, this is nearly a game-breaking effect. Even after closing all of my apps, I still found myself trying to aim ahead of every descending pill I was going to tap in order to compensate for the game’s input lag and choppy motions.
Making it close to level 10 was extremely difficult on an iPad, which is a shame when knowing that the stages of this game go into the 40s and beyond. This frame rate issue gets even worse when a level is clear and you must partake in a challenge stage where there are a multitude of coins on the screen for you to tap. The appearance of these coins nearly cripples the game with each challenge segment as its timer would mysteriously reach zero from all of the freezes, rendering these bonus portions useless. It's even worse knowing that the points you are supposed to gain from these challenge stages are used in unlocking items and special features for the main game.
In terms of audio, Intake sounds absolutely wonderful. I wasn't a fan of the first level's EDM-esque song in the beginning, but once finding out each pill-tap would actually add a beat or sound effect to the song, the audio became mesmerizing. After you start clearing more levels, the pill-popping noises combined with the ever-changing background music start to create some really catchy combinations.
The controls of Intake: Be Aggressive are simple, effective and addictive. Pills will fall down the screen as you have a colored shield on the bottom that is one of two colors. Tapping this shield will alternate the shields color. You can't let any pills fall to the bottom of the screen that don't match the shield's color (which results in a game over), which means you must either tap each non-matching capsule or tap the shield itself if it doesn't match the incoming pill. Chaining together matching pill color pops will eventually make a bar rise from the shield to the top of the screen, which activates the next level. The enjoyment gained from this is both frenzied and fun as you try to keep track of your shield while trying to raise the bar for the next stage. Similar to Ikaruga, the colors on the screen matter and you must keep track of what shield color you have activated at all times while trying to maintain a pattern of picking off similarly colored pills.
Given Intake: Be Aggressive's price, it really should have had its frame rate issues ironed out prior to its release. When it works, it is absolutely spectacular and warranted its payment, but Intake's mechanics will always result in more and more pills falling on the screen leading to a heavy drop in frame rate every time. There should be some way to perhaps pare down some of Intake's gorgeous graphics for the sake of maintaining a constant frame rate in the future, but until then, popping pills is more frustrating than it is fun.
This review was completed using a purchased download of Intake: Be Aggressive for iOS.