Gun? Check. Gravity manipulator? Check. Zoot suit? Double check.
Antipole is a pretty awesome DSiWare game. It’s a platformer that’s pretty basic on its surface: you run through a series of platforming stages destroying evil robots and using a gravity item to manipulate your concepts of up and down. There’s a lot of walking on ceilings, bobbing yourself away from spikes, and generally acting like a badass who interprets the laws of physics as mere suggestions. But the game constantly throws new challenges at you throughout the main game, and after the last robot has exploded, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Despite its simplistic look, Antipole is a surprisingly deep, content-heavy game that’s a steal for $5.
I can’t say there’s much of a story. You star as a dude in a bright-red zoot suit who is trying to prevent a robot invasion by somehow getting into the robot’s city. You instantly find a gun and a gravity manipulator that allows you to toggle your concept of up and down with the R button. While the manipulator’s effect doesn’t last very long, it gains more time for each boss you defeat. The game has you tackling stage after stage of avoiding hazards and shooting toaster-shaped robots. This never gets old, although it does become very challenging very quickly. Antipole constantly throws new wrinkles into the formula, like increasing or decreasing the ambient gravity in certain stages or implementing electricity-framed hallways and making you deal with instant-death pools, which are also affected by your gravity tricks. The game’s final stages are real gauntlets, forcing you to use every trick you’ve learned to survive while also tossing in an added challenge. The four boss battles rarely amount to anything other than “shoot the red eye” while avoiding lasers and missiles, but one interesting fight has you using your gravity skills to toss bombs back up at your attacker.
The production values are fine. The graphics are simplistic (most enemies don’t really animate) but charming and colorful, the music is understated and a little spooky at times, and most importantly, the controls are tight and responsive—a necessity in a game like this. I actually would have appreciated more still images, because I really like the title screen’s art!
There is a wealth of challenges in the game. Each stage has three green tokens to find, and while none of them are particularly difficult to locate, actually getting to them can be risky business. Green tokens unlock challenge stages, which are short but difficult “bonus areas” featuring a single environmental gimmick that you’ve encountered in the main game, but taken to its logical end-point. Both the main game’s stages and the challenge stages have goal times for you to try and make (good freakin’ luck), and after the credits roll, you can try hard mode. Oh, one more thing: Antipole features a number of achievements—additional challenges—for you to torture yourself with. One of them—get through a particular stage without destroying any droids—is certainly doable, but another—beat a boss without firing a single shot—might take some effort.
Antipole is a very fun, imaginative platformer with lots of content and a great premise. DSi and 3DS owners would be silly to pass it up.