- Developer: Barnaque
- Publisher: Nakana.io
- Release Date: 03/07/2020
- Price: £10.80 / $12.00
- Review code provided by Nakana.io
INTRODUCING: INFINI SWITCH REVIEW
All too often in video games, we find ourselves comparing things. Mario to Sonic, Call of Duty to Battlefield, Dark Souls to Ninja Gaiden. This isn’t always a negative thing. After all, these franchises often learn from each other in what can feel like a never-ending battle to create the better experience.
But what happens when the unforeseeable occurs? What happens when a game comes out of nowhere, not to create a fandom, not to sell Funko Pops or amiibo, not to partake in the usual industry discourse, but to simply express itself?
Well, Infini happens.
Infini’s story is a little bit of a puzzle in and of itself. The game follows a being called Hope in its quest to escape the never ending void of infinity. This quest will take you through some of the most bizarre dreamscapes I’ve ever witnessed, introducing a host of other characters and entities along the way.
The levels take place in different time periods, with progression being non-chronological. Infini likes to jump around quite a lot, presenting its story around “The Incident” with time cards that evoke the beginning of a new day in Majora’s Mask or that funny “5 hours later” gag from SpongeBob Squarepants.
It’s a true testament to just how bizarre Infini’s story is when it’s evoking such a strange frame of reference from me, but let’s continue.
A PERPETUALLY PUZZLING PERSPECTIVE
Whilst Infini takes place in a bizarre world, the gameplay is rather straightforward with short puzzle scenarios that require the player to help navigate Hope around obstacles and enemies to reach a portal that will take you to the next stage.
Hope is perpetually falling down the screen, but will loop around the bottom and appear back at the top which in turn requires the player to play with the boundaries of the screen and observe the surrounding area to find their way to the end. There’s some basic control options with the ability to slow down or speed up Hope’s descent and at times the ability to fly upward which add a good amount of depth to this otherwise simple mechanic.
By far the most intriguing feature in the game is it’s “camera manipulation mechanic.” Put simply, if something is off screen, it doesn’t exist. The key to solving these puzzles is having the camera in the right place so you don’t bring any undesirable obstacles into existence that will stop you from reaching the goal. I found this mechanic confusing at first given the lack of any explanation or tutorial. But, the ingenuity in its simplicity shines through in a few moments and the challenge quickly becomes applying this mechanic to the level design rather than figuring out how it works.
AN ABSTRACT APPARITION
As I’m sure is more than evident by my previous comments and the screenshots littering this review, Infini has one of the most bizarre art styles I’ve ever seen in a game. Not only are we talking about bizarre character designs, but abstract dreamscapes and a psychedelic soundtrack filled with the calming background noises of birds and nature.
The visual design, whilst not my usual cup of tea, is what drew me toward Infini in the first place. There’s something genuinely curious about the way the game presents itself and that curiosity is never really satiated. Each dreamscape is more interesting than the last and the unique character design kept me poking forward in search of the next strange encounter.
A SAFE TRIP
One thing that never crossed my mind during my time with Infini is its technical performance. Throughout both docked and portable play I ran into no hiccups or issues at all, though I’m amused to admit that Infini could glitch out right in front of me and I’m not sure I’d even notice given its presentation.
Rest assured, you’re in for a good time with both Joy-Con and Pro Controllers working just as intended, portable or docked.
I struggle to see myself playing Infini again. In spite of its character and how I feel more games should celebrate their freedom, Infini is an experience first and a game second. This makes it hard to recommend based on its gameplay alone, as there are many other traditional puzzle titles already available on the Switch.
- Unique presentation
- Interesting mechanics
- Repetitive gameplay
- Too abstract?
Infini stands tall as a psychedelic experience, though that comes at the cost of replayability and gameplay.