I, AI – Xbox One Review

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Our new writer Savvas writes his first review for Thumb Culture!

I, AI was initially released in July 2020 by Satur Entertainment. It is a single-player vertically scrolling shooter that has used the classic scrolling shooter formula and added modern graphics. Scrolling shooters are a genre I have always been fond of, playing 1942, Super Airwolf and Metal Slug as a kid got me hooked, and it’s a genre that I still gravitate to.

Going into the recently launched I, AI on the Xbox platform, I was pretty excited and hoping for that experience, so here are my thoughts.

I, AI – Ratatat-tat your way to freedom!

In I,AI you play as a self-aware AI who was created in a lab to develop weapons. Realizing this, they are now trying to make an escape. They escape the lab and take over a spaceship and using this they plan to fight any enemies that are in their way, in order to work towards a stargate and claim their freedom. Let’s get it on!

Pew, pew, pew, pew


I, AI plays as you would expect from a vertical scrolling shooter, you control your spaceship around the screen shooting various enemies, avoiding obstacles, and collecting power-ups as well as currency (chips). You start off with a basic gun that fires continuously and a health bar which at first allows you to only take a couple of hits. If you die you keep 50% of the chips that you have collected, so it doesn’t feel like a total waste when you do eventually succumb to the enemy fire. I felt like the game could have done with a bit of speeding up. While it was challenging and most of the time the screen was full of enemies and their attacks, sadly the overall gameplay felt sluggish.

In-between levels you can visit your hanger, where you are able to upgrade your ship. Here you can add rockets or a plasma gun to your main weapon which fire every few seconds. Once new weapons are added you can upgrade them for more power. You can also upgrade your health, add a shield as well as unlock an ability that gives you a second chance when you are taken out. Finally, you can add special attacks like mines which explode when enemies go near them or how about a lightning attack that hits random enemies around you? I did enjoy the upgrade system and it worked very well. I felt that the number of chips that you earn is about right and it meant that you aren’t going to spend an obscene amount of time on any one level.


As a default, your main weapon fires when you press or hold the right bumper button. There is the option to have your main weapon continuously fire without a button press, which I felt for accessibility reasons is a great idea. Your other weapons get mapped to A, B, Y and X.
From what I played I encountered several different enemy types, all with various attacks a movement patterns. My worry is that there aren’t enough variations to keep the game interesting as these are all introduced early in the game so it may start to get repetitive quickly.
You can change the difficulty level, I played on medium and found the game to be a good challenge. Turning down the difficulty removes some enemies and makes your weapons a bit more powerful, but it doesn’t make the game a walk in the park. Which isn’t a bad thing.

Graphics & Audio

The game looks aesthetically pleasing and has some nice pops of colour, mainly blue (your currency) and orange (most of the enemy’s bullets). This is great as it helps to really differentiate what you are collecting and what you are avoiding, especially as some of the enemy fire is a similar shape and size as your currency. There is a good amount of background activity that is interesting and sets the scene but isn’t distracting. There are parts of a space station moving around or space rocks floating below you, these are layered nicely so it adds some depth to the visuals, overall I like how this game looks.

More pew, pew, pew, pew

The sound in I, AI is generally decent, with the sounds that you would expect such as booming explosions when you blow up an enemy, a jingly noise when you pick up the currency, and nice spacey music that gets heavier when you get to a boss. Something that really bothered me though was the noise that is made when you fire your weapon, which is happening almost always. Your gun makes a clicking noise, not quite the noise you would expect from a spaceship, thankfully there is an option to turn down the noise your gun makes. However, I found that by turning it down took away from the overall experience, which was a shame.


With around 10 hours to complete the game, I, AI has a fair amount of game time given the genre that it is in. I do not think it is something I could grind through in one session as the aforementioned gun noise does get to you after a while.

Final Thoughts

While I, AI hasn’t done anything groundbreaking with the genre, it is a pretty solid scrolling shooter which looks pretty and plays well. While it was fun on the Xbox I can see the appeal of it being more on a handheld console such as the Switch, which I feel dipping in and out of this game would be more suited on.

I, AI receives the Thumb Culture Silver Award.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.


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