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Gene Effect

For: Android   Also on: iPhone, iPad

Boldly going

Product: Gene Effect | Developer: Lightstorm 3D | Format: Android | Genre: Action, Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Gene Effect Android, thumbnail 1
Fans of arcade-style shooters such as R-Type, DoDonPachi Resurrection, and Shogun: Bullet Hell Shooter will tell you that futuristic spacecraft are faster than a Ford Escort with go-faster stripes, and move with the kind of grace that would put the Red Arrows to shame.

However, the reality is that moving a large hunk of metal through zero-gravity is a difficult affair, requiring precision and patience - two attributes which will stand you in very good stead with Gene Effect.

Spaced out

Placed in command of the mining ship Triton, it's your job to fly into the bowels of the planet Kratoss on a perilous search-and-rescue mission.

The Triton isn't a top-of-the-range fighting craft like R-Type's iconic R-9 Arrowhead - it's a heavy, unwieldy piece of technology that requires careful handling, especially in the narrow passageways which make up Kratoss's cavernous interior.

During your mission you'll need to perform a wide range of objectives in order to warp to the next stage. These include opening a series of doors, or collecting a certain type of resource. You'll also have to deal with hostiles left behind by the long-dead Na'Rul, the alien beings that used to inhabit Kratoss.

I don't like confrontation

The Triton isn't built for combat, which is one of the things that makes Gene Effect so challenging.

Confrontation isn't actually a major part of the gameplay, but when you are faced with unfriendly forces you'll need to rely on your repulsor - which takes a while to charge up and sends out a shockwave from your ship - or drone-like missiles that can lock onto a specific target.

Again, there's a massive delay in launching these, making quick response almost impossible.

Gene Effect doesn't make your life easy. It calls to mind some of the toughest action titles of the 16-bit era, rewarding methodical players and punishing those who simply cannot wait to get to the next level.

In fact, the level design sometimes borders on the downright sadistic. Environmental threats often creep up on you with little warning, and you'll lose count of the number of times the Triton's tinfoil hull is breached by a rocky outcrop, causing you to restart the mission from the beginning.

Earn your stripes

For those willing to stay the course, the game offers plenty of enjoyment. The atmosphere is excellent - accentuated by some lovely visuals and excellent audio - although it does tend to chug a little on high-end hardware. We reviewed the game on the Google Nexus 4 and noticed a somewhat unsteady frame-rate at times.

Despite its moments of tense action, Gene Effect isn't going to appeal to shooter fans. It's more of an exploration experience than anything else. Discovering the sinister history of the planet Kratoss becomes a thrilling obsession, and the amount of stuff to uncover is striking.

Gene Effect has more than its fair share of frustrating moments, but the rewards on offer just about balance this out.

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Gene Effect
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 7 February 2013
Gene Effect is a challenging and often annoying experience, but it's worth sticking with and offers a gripping sci-fi storyline which is unique on the Google Play market
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