Space isn’t a friendly place, and if my years spent consuming sci-fi media has taught me anything then it’s fair to say the chances of you encountering an evil chest bursting Xenomorph is 99.99% assured. Infinity Runner lacks such a creature, but it makes up for this deficit with its own collection of strange denizens and futuristic quirks, like how you spend the entire game naked.
The game is best described as an endless runner akin to popular mobile titles like Temple Run, only with a storyline that’s broken down into several levels. You assume command of an amnesiac unfortunate enough to be at the epicentre of a calamity on a ship where everything is blowing up. A disembodied voice informs you that there’s no time to talk and that you must run for your life. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, shortly after escaping you also find out that you’re a werewolf. Yup.
Gameplay consists of an on-the-rails sprint through the bowels of the ship, with you taking control of our naked protagonist’s positioning. As you progress you’ll have to manoeuvre around the oncoming hazards by dodging or jumping over them, and any contact with a danger zone will cause you to fail and kick you back to your last checkpoint. You’re given a set number of lives to use up on each level, and once they’re all gone you have to start from the very beginning of the mission. The checkpoint system alleviates a lot of the stress that comes from an accidental death, and for the most part there are sufficient lives given to get through a level without having to restart much.
That is until you approach the final level, which has you engage in combat with an unsavoury individual. The game handles combat with a series of quick time events which aren’t too intense and can be completed fairly easily. The last fight, however, consists of a string of these sequences one after another. With such a small time frame to hit each key, there’s a good chance you’ll fail. The big issue with this segment is that once you’ve played through your extra lives, the game takes you back to the very beginning of the level, requiring you to sprint through a number of hazards to get back to the boss fight. It was infuriating, even on a normal difficulty level which rendered the rest of the game at a reasonable difficulty.
As a werewolf, you’re undoubtedly going to want to make use of your inhuman speed and strength, and the game is happy to oblige. There are sections dotted around some of the levels which will transform you into your wolf form, making you run much faster along the rails of the level. Whilst this may seem like a good thing, it soon became clear that speeding up your movement in a game that requires you to spot incoming dangers and react to them isn’t necessarily a positive. Hurtling towards a sharp turn already requires a good amount of focus and fast fingers when running in your human form, so when you’re supercharged things become more difficult. The very option of becoming this powerful beast becomes more of a burden than a gift, and as a result it feels like this power up flies in the face of what it was supposed to be.
What’s more, being a werewolf also changes the way the camera moves as you start to run on all fours. Naturally the camera follows the movement of a bounding were-man and bobs up and down to compliment the movement. It’s a nice touch, but the bounding feels excessive, sometimes to the point where you lose vision of any incoming hazards mid bounce. Again this becomes more of a hindrance to the player rather than a boost, making the werewolf form more of a curse than a blessing.
Infinity Runner does a great job in maintaining its momentum as the game progresses, feeding you new hazards regularly to keep you on your toes when you least expect them. There are enough explosions, neon strip lights, and sleek chrome surfaces present to make the futuristic space ship feel authentic despite never hanging around long enough to look at the finer details. The story of werewolves in space is weird enough to work well in the setting. Despite the heavily flawed werewolf controls, the game remains intense enough to keep you engaged throughout the story. However, people with slower reactions or a low tolerance to failure should tread carefully as there’s enough room for error to cause fits of rage worthy of a werewolf.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer for that purpose.
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