If you, like myself, have been looking for new games to try out and play during this current time of isolation and social distancing, (which I hope you have all been doing! developer Emilie COYO have delivered with a cute chibi-style hack-and-slash platformer called Infinite – Beyond the Mind that should help scratch that itch of playing newer games to simply sit down and chill out with.
In Infinite, you are able to choose between one of two characters, Tanya or Olga, women who both share special powers and are the key to defeating Queen Evangelyn (ruler of the Beljantuar Kingdom) and her ever-growing army in efforts to stop the seemingly never-ending war. Both characters pretty much play identical to each other with jumping, wall jumping, cutting, and attacking everything in sight. Enemy soldiers, aircrafts and tan all stop you in your journey to prevent the Queen’s world domination.
The story is pretty light and is simply just there for context. The game’s bread and butter mainly lie in its gameplay, which is satisfying and fun for the most part. You can slash enemies, double jump, climb ladders, dash/air dash and wall jump to the end of each level, even getting upgrades and new ways to attack, the further you clear stages. Your character even has a stamina bar that allows you to have limited usages of dashing and stronger attacks that you will obtain later in the game, which only refills slowly after use. So think carefully before dashing and using special attacks without thought. I found that wall jumping, however, was a bit iffy and did not work too great. Jumping in quick succession from wall to wall seemed randomly unresponsive and I would find myself falling to an accidental death or straight back to the ground to attempt wall jumping again.
The level design in Infinite is fairly straight-forward. Continue to move ahead towards the end of each level to proceed to the next within the area. There are a total of 16 areas in full, featuring roughly 3 or 4 levels in each one with a boss fight awaiting you at the end. The difficulty spike ramps up by the time you obtain your first power-up after a quick cutscene plays out, so make sure you pay attention and plan your actions as things do become harder. While you can simply move forward and just avoid enemies if you’d like, every now and then you will be stopped from doing so and will need to defeat a batch of enemy soldiers or tanks, in order to proceed forward. These are the only things to stop you from just simply dashing your way to the end if you so wish to not attack your way to victory.
Exploring some higher up areas may result in finding some goodies such as health packs or even an extra life, so if you’re in a pinch, it may be best to explore around you when there are multiple platforms above or below instead. Infinite – Beyond the Mind is also nice-looking game, with its lovely pixel graphics and chibi-style characters that make you feel like you’re really playing a retro game, invoking some nostalgic vibes especially for those from the NES/SNES days due to its old school arcade style visuals, giving players a nostalgic time for older titles like Metal Slug or Ninja Gaiden. Even the 8-bit soundtrack, while not the most memorable, is pretty retro and funky.
As stated earlier, you can avoid enemies and go straight to the end as they do not hold power-ups or any special items. But defeating enemies help rack up points that are tallied and totalled for you to see after each area is completed. So, unless you enjoy getting a lot of points for a high score in games to show off to your friends, you can still avoid enemies altogether straight to the end and not miss out on anything.
Checkpoints only seem to exist once you clear a level and begin the next one within that area. I was not overly keen on this idea, as the game gets aggressively more difficult by the time you get your first upgrade and if you die during a level, it’s back to the beginning. I wasn’t enjoying having to redo the entire level again just because I was killed or fell to my inevitable death by wall jumping. I really wish there was some kind of halfway point checkpoint, so we don’t have to repeat the entire level all over again. While you can choose between three modes of difficulty (I chose normal mode on my playthrough), it’s advised that you make sure you plan your actions from area 5 onwards regardless.
Despite some hiccups and the icky wall-jumping mechanic that could have gotten a bit more love, Infinite – Beyond the Mind is still a damn good time for those who just want to relax and play, or those of you who are nostalgic for the old school pixel shooters.
Infinite – Beyond the Mind is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Steam. A copy of this game was provided by the publisher, Blowfish Studios.