The future looks bleak for Pete. Thanks to years spent shovelling junk food into his face in front of the TV, his body is a wreck and he’s on a fast track to an early grave. He does have one thing going for him though: a super genius great-uncle by the name of Doc. This brilliant boffin has devised a plan to reverse Pete’s failing health by sending a nanobot-carrying rocket up his, ahem, back passage and releasing an army of white blood cell clones to cleanse his innards of filth and pathogens.
Thus goes the premise of Sector 32’s Inside Pete (out now, $2.99), a delightfully bonkers action-strategy romp set entirely within its titular character’s disease-addled body. Gameplay centers around battles between two factions: the heroic white blood cell troops and the motley crew of malevolent microorganisms that have taken up residence in Pete’s internal organs. Each increasingly challenging stage sees you tasked with defending your clone-producing nanobot and defeating wave after wave of enemies.
Baddies march onto the screen from the right-hand side, and you’ve got to take them down before they reach a black and yellow line on the left. To command your troops to attack an approaching enemy, you simply touch and drag over group of clones to select them, then tap the target foe, and they’ll swarm and destroy that sucker. In addition to killing enemies, you’ve also got to juggle jobs like healing injured clones and growing new ones in the nanobot’s onboard cloning machine. If you feel like you are getting overwhelmed, you can always visit Doc’s lab between battles to exchange the DNA you collect from felled enemies for power-ups or upgrades to your clones’ defensive and offensive capabilities.
Inside Pete’s core gameplay is a ton of fast-paced, strategy-laden fun, but what elevates the game from “merely” great to exceptional is the gorgeous hand-animated graphics, witty writing (the opening cutscene and character descriptions had me howling with laughter), and a near-endless barrage of inspired pop culture parodies and visual gags (Star Wars, Angry Birds and Microsoft’s Clippy all get lampooned). This one comes highly recommended, especially to those who love inventive tower defense/strategy games and weird Rick and Morty-esque humor.
The only thing about Inside Pete that isn’t impeccably polished is its titular character. This action-strategy romp is fun, funny, and looks lovely to boot. Give it a try for Pete’s sake!