Centipede: Origins review
When you think of the 80s, what comes to mind? Glam rock bands, Journey, Ghostbusters, Slimer Ecto Cooler Hi-C, Super Mario Bros., Bon Jovi, the Reebok Pump, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Trapper Keepers, and for a large number of gamers, Centipede. Apple has made a killing marketing products to people who are bringing the 80s back and making it mainstream. While it doesn't look like Slimer Ecto Cooler Hi-C is making a comeback any time soon, Atari has re-envisioned Centipede for iPhone owners for a dollar. The product: Centipede: Origins.
In Centipede: Origins, you play as a garden gnome that uses an array of weapons and power-ups to take out waves of bugs and a mushroom infestation. Some bugs move swiftly at you in a straight line, while others zig zag their way through the mushroom field, which acts as an obstacle and blocks your shots. It takes some skill and quick manuevering with your fingers to survive.
If you're a fan of the original game, you'll feel right at home and love Centipede: Origins. Controlling your gnome is handled through moving your finger around the bottom of the screen, and as long as your finger is touching the screen, your gnome will be firing his weapon. Boosts and special weapons, like making you shoot faster or placing a plant turret that eats bugs as they pass by, are activated by simply pressing on their symbol at the bottom of the screen. Once activated, they go on cooldown until they become available again. Before each game, you choose which boosts and upgrades you want to use by purchasing them with coins you get for leveling up through exp points, completing achievements, and collecting coins. You can also upgrade these boosts in the store.
While you won't earn coins fast enough to get to a godly state too quickly, you can purchase coins with real money — at no point is that ever needed, though. There are four different levels for you to tackle, and while they each play a little different, the basic mechanics of each are the same. My favorite in Bumpkinpatch Aerial. The level select screen will also keep track of your highest core, multiplier and number of waves defeated on each of the levels. The game also has leaderboards and achievements so you can easily see what other goals you have and how you stack up compared to other players.
The visuals are not spectacular, but they have some nice color and pop to them. The music is whimsical and cutesy, but after a while I had to turn the sound down because it was getting to me.
I did have some issues with responsiveness, both in the menus and in the game itself. Sometimes I would click to go into the store or play a game; it would show me tapping the correct area, but wouldn't respond how it should. After multiple tries it would bring me to my required screen. Also, in-game responsiveness was an issue at times. If I took my finger off the screen and placed it down again, the gnome wouldn't respond. He wouldn't shoot or move — he'd just sit there.
All in all, Centipede: Origins is a fun, little time killer, and fans of Centipedes games will have fun with it. It can be challenging, as well — even for more experienced bug killers. For only a buck, what do ya got to lose? And gnomes are proof that good things can come in small packages.
You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ