Game Review

Centipede: Infestation Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Covered with scorpions

Modernised versions of old school arcade games are quite common; we've already seen two on 3DS so far, Frogger 3D and Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, the latter comprising even more classic call-backs of yesteryear, but one game that hasn't seen much love in the remake department is Centipede. Bucking the trend, Centipede: Infestation puts a contemporary spin on the high-action shooter of old, and with WayForward at the helm it's no surprise that the result is quite positive.

Bugs have overrun the world, isolating civilisation to small, safe pockets within an uninhabitable wilderness. One goofy hero has made it his home, however: Max the Bug-Slayer, or so he calls himself, who spends his time living up to his name. Our adventure begins when he runs into Maisy, who tends to gardens scattered about the great unknown. Even with the clichéd hero story and the cocky protagonist who's obnoxiously confident in his own wit and cool but rude in a Raphael of the 90's Ninja Turtles sort of way, the plot that unfolds is surprisingly deep and emotional for a simple, explosion-heavy title that could easily get by without one. There's even a moving moment or two along the way, something that we certainly weren't expecting to find in a game that initially greets you with "Press A for Action!"

The gameplay is very simple and retains that classic Centipede feel, though the 3D perspective makes it feel closer to Robotron at times. You've got a gun, and you run around shooting marauding bugs. If your friend has a cart, they can join in for some co-op action, which can prove quite the fun time, though it's understandably multi-cart only. Some levels have you progress from one end to the other, some have you stand your ground and some see you protect Maisy from an onslaught. At different points, usually the end of each stage, you'll blast apart a centipede that moves just like its Atari forebears. Mushrooms make a similar reappearance, providing a barrier and a decoy that can work in your favour or against it. These grow from seeds dropped by bugs, as do sentry turrets that protect you until insects destroy them.

You collect upgrades along the way, including a varied arsenal that allows you to wield an improved version of each weapon by picking up two of the same power-up. We would have preferred a more advanced upgrade system, however, as your initial shooter remains the same throughout, and it's somewhat weak and slow for our tastes, though that helps add to the challenge. You can unlock other characters' initial weapons, but there's not much of a difference in the end.

Even though it's such a simple game, it avoids becoming too repetitive by deploying a satisfyingly diverse army of enemies in your direction, so while few drastic changes take place from one stage to the next, you should continue having fun throughout. The demanding health system also adds to the challenge in a satisfying way – it's not terribly hard to avoid getting hit for the most part, but even on the easiest difficulty settings, you can only take damage nine times until you're down for the count. If you were using a special weapon at the time, the game takes this away from you as well. The challenge ramps up at a pleasing pace as well, and once you're done, you can go back and play through again on Hard Mode or one of its even tougher unlockable counterparts.

It's a good thing that those extra difficulty settings, because the main game is fairly short – 40 generally small levels total. Because not much changes over the course of things, going back through on Hard or Insane really does feel like extending the game instead of reliving what you've already beaten before, so it's not without its longevity. Unlockable characters who play somewhat differently, collectible wardrobe alternatives, accomplishments and goodies like concept art also add to Infestation's staying power.

The controls work well: you move with the Circle Pad and shoot with the A, B, Y and X buttons, allowing you to hold two down at once to shoot at an angle. It's not as flexible as a dual stylus controller would allow – and makes a good case for Circle Pad Pro – but it's still fulfilling, and the rigidity makes it feel even more like an old arcade game, even if we would prefer a full 360 degree radius. You can stomp with L and tap icons on the touch screen to activate new weapons, which feels intuitive and doesn't get in the way.

The graphics aren't ugly, but nor are they terribly attractive or interesting, and the 3D effect plays a small role. The music, on the other hand, is quite good, featuring an impressive and exciting soundtrack that fits the action well.


Centipede: Infestation isn't terribly complex, nor does it pretend to be. It sports good, fast, simple arcade action with multiple difficulty levels and a satisfying variety of enemies to keep things from growing stale after extended play. It still chances becoming repetitive, and while going back through on a harder setting adds to the replay value, 40 levels is a pretty small count when they're generally fairly small and drastic changes are few from one to the next. It's still a lot of fun, however, and works well for on-the-go bug-squashing sessions, especially if you've got a friend by your side.

From the web

Game Trailer

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

User Comments (25)



alLabouTandroiD said:

Nice to see this one turned out to be as decent as i hoped.
If it comes to Europe i'll most likely only get it for a budget price since i think it would have been quite a bit better with online leaderboards and Circle Pad Pro support or touchscreen aiming.

@Zach: Under Feature Support Local Multiplayer, Play Coins, StreetPass are mentioned. Can you say how exactly these work here ? Is the Multiplayer coop ?



BenAV said:

I was a bit interested in this one but I'll probably pass.
Too many great games coming out soon so I can't waste my money on anything I'm not super excited for.



SuperSpank said:

Hmm..WayForward was also helping here? Hmm wonder why they didnt use good pixel art instead of bad Polygon Graphics.



Samholy said:

odd title...probably never will be in my library. or maybe if it comes to...5$ or 10$.
i would rather pay for a 3ds version of crimson land!



grumblebuzzz said:

My suspicions are confirmed: While this game did look nice in the trailers, I predicted it would suffer from a lack of content. When the price drops very significantly, I'll probably pick it up but that 40 dollar 3DS game price point isn't doing games like this any favors.



WolfRamHeart said:

Thanks for the review Zach. I was considering getting this game but I think that I will wait until it drops in price. As much as I love WayForward this game just doesn't sound like one of their better efforts. I think that I'll get WayForward's other Infestation game instead.

Oh and +10 for the Wolverine reference.



TheGreenSpiny said:

@11: What are you waiting for? Go buy Aliens now!

I'm more interested in the Wii version with proper controls. Whose dumb idea was it use button instead of the touch screen? Why is there no unlockable Centapede arcade game?



Popyman said:

Wow, WayForward made this? I'm out of touch with what they've been working on it seems...



Mattiator said:

Well, that sounds better than I was expecting from Atari. Might get it once I find a used copy or two, perhaps when I help out that GameStop with getting rid of the 12 used copies of Nostalgia they've been trying to get rid of for ages now.



grumblegrumble said:

Ok. I picked it up. Played it for about half an hour and so far, so good. Just got to level 3 but I'm liking it. I love how the Centipedes are the bosses of the stages so far.. I'm sure later on it gets a bit more hairy, tho. Can you move the tanks that you step into?



spamineggs said:

i just picked this up for $11! I couldn't pass up that deal. I wish there was classic centipede in it (why it's not is beyond me). The game is fun tho! I would have loved to see different camera angles to add to the variety of the gameplay (top-down, "regular view", and possibly first-person). all in all definitely a deal at $11!



atariman said:

This is My FAVORITE 3DS game I have ever played. If it weren't for Atari. this wouidn't be made. this was made by wayforward. But I give Atari alot of credit. a 9/10.



rjejr said:

Just picked this up yesterday at Target for $5 or $6 so came here to see how disappointed I was going to be. Surprisingly sounds like I may get my money's worth.

"though it's understandably multi-cart only"
Has there been a 3DS game that IS single cart? I keep looking but haven't found one yet. The graphics on the box seemed so lame I thought this might be the one. Guess not. Guess I'll stop looking as well.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...