Fear and loathing in las vacío.
Nancy Reagan made it quite clear in my youth that I’m supposed to “Just say no.” That was, therefore, my initial response to reviewing Infini. I’m glad I succumbed to peer pressure and gave it a try, however. This thematically bizarre and visually trippy game ended up winning me over as both a challenging puzzle platformer and as an inadvertent P.S.A. for my kids.
You need only look at the screenshots here to see that Infini is unlike anything you’ve experienced on the Switch. The mishmash of art styles is instantly unsettling. The audio serves the same purposes, with characters speaking via distorted nonsense sounds. I imagine Okami on acid, but I’ll have to defer to the Okami and acid experts on the accuracy of that comparison.
None of this is without intent, as the story is as bizarre as the game’s environment. You “play” as Hope, a character falling through time? Space? Life? Doesn’t matter, he’s just falling. The goal of each level is to guide Hope through a “maze” of objects to a portal that pushes him into another maze. Falling through the bottom of the screen sends him back to the top, and sliding past the left for right sends him to the other side.
The trouble is that the path to the portal is not always visible or even immediately possible. Zooming out allows you to see more of the maze, but that’s not always a good thing. Zooming out too far can bring a barrier onto the screen that prevents you from passing through. Touching any barrier objects immediately ends the level, but you can immediately start again by pressing A.
In many levels, the object is simply to arrange the screen in a manner that allows you to avoid the barriers and get to the portal. Although some are hard to reach, you can slow down your speed by pressing B.
Other levels, however, have moving objects that you have to avoid or stay in sync with to progress. Here, pressing Y helps you stay ahead of them.
Of course, the puzzles get much more complex as you progress through Infini’s 100+ levels, but you occasionally get new abilities to help you navigate your freefall. It helps that there’s no immediate rush to any of this. With infinite restarts, the game obviously expects you to fail repeatedly. It’s only by occasionally banging your head against a wall that you can eventually find your way through.
Is that the point? I don’t know. Infini frequently slows down to tell you a story about Hope’s struggle, but how this story is put together seems to be entirely up to the player. You’ll meet characters such as Time, Poetry, Technology, and War, all of whom have some kind of advice or assistance to offer. But do they have your best intentions in mind? Will they help you reach the end of your descent through the void, or do they mean to turn you into a reverse Sisyphus?
Thankfully, an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill isn’t required here. Infini can be completed in under 10 hours, and it’s certainly worth that amount of time. I imagine I would’ve grown bored if the puzzle mechanic was presented more traditionally, but the creepy visuals/audio and the unsettling story held my attention.
It’s also worth mentioning that Infini is a quality trip whether you’re letting it get into your head on a larger screen in docked mode or seeking a more personal, immersive experience via handheld mode and a good pair of headphones.
I’m not one to push games onto people, but I do encourage you to give Infini a try. A demo is available, and one hit will tell you pretty much everything you need to know.
Review: Infini (Nintendo Switch)
At its core, Infini is your basic puzzle/platformer. With its highly unique visuals/audio and absolutely bizarre storytelling, however, it becomes something much…deeper? Maybe. I guess that depends upon how you react to it, and I don’t think any two players will take it the same way.