Insecticide Review

Insecticide starts off by dunking players into a noir city with ample crime to be fought and able yet begrudging cops to provide a jaded backdrop. What the game lacks in any aspect, though, is motivation. From the first moment the player takes control of the game any form of forward momentum seems to disappear from the environment, leaving only the vague question of "why?" emanating. This is broken up by randomly witty spots of dialog, but never enough to really warrant the drive to the next spot of enjoyment.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that Insecticide tries to do too many things at once. One minute the player is thrown into a below average third person adventure game built out of overused set designs, the next they are trying to solve crimes in a point and click adventure where only the most bizarre solutions seem to be even remotely plausible. In either case the sequence lasts just long enough to be utterly annoying and disappointing.

The terrible visuals do not help any elements of the game either. Repeatedly during the investigation sections of the games it is hard to figure out what exactly is happening due to the blurry, low resolution images. Often enough, this results in simply clicking on everything that is in anyway plausible to see if anything sticks. While the art is meant to be stylized in an odd Tim Burton way, that only goes so far in helping correct the blurry mess that is Insecticide.

The investigation sequences of the game are the most damaged by the games graphics, mainly because half of the real play is done on the touch screen by dragging discolored, bland items found in the environment onto obscure, disfigured still screens that pop up every time the player investigates one of the few places the game allows. While this may sound simple, it is hindered by the fact that every item must be dragged and dropped on the exact spot to garner a response, thereby making it difficult to sort out some of the more sideways logic problems.

The action sections of the game feel like they have been thrown together from elements of a beginner’s game design book. Floating platforms are a common site, as are randomly strewn about crates and health packs, which take on the form of a soda can. At no point did any of the levels feel like the action was taking place in anything more than a rather large box using set pieces borrowed from similar games. If one area ever proved to be too challenging several cans of soda were readily strewn about to push the player through the level instead of promoting any depth.

When sections of the game where spoken it was always in some muddled voice so hard to understand that repeated listening was needed to simply follow the dialogue. Sadly nothing that was ever said that was important and most conversations were more confusing than helpful.

Nothing terrible can really be said about the music of the game, but in the same breath it is nothing that any sane person would ever actively seek to listen to outside of the experience of Insecticide. At best the music is completely forgettable and merely fills the void of silence.

The major problem with Insecticide is that it never really seems to provide any back story on why anything is happening. The first time the player is given the controls they are encouraged to chase down a criminal who is shooting at them. Other insects join in the chaos and jump out and start shooting as well. None of this is ever explained in any way. Sadly, this is the standard method of the game; something happens and it is the player’s responsibility to fix it. No attempt is ever made to explain why anything is the way it is. The entire game is simply a wading pool that hopes to fool someone into thinking that it is really an Olympic-sized pool.

It is hard to hate Insecticide for trying to do more than it was able to do, but it is hard to find any amount of enjoyment in it as well. From the moment the game starts things are blurry and nothing ever comes into focus. While the game might have been geared towards a younger audience, it isn’t likely that anyone could ignore half of the flaws that the game presents in the first 15 minutes of play to warrant playing any more. 

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