The endless runner genre of games has become incredibly popular on mobile and hand held devices due to their addictive nature and quick and simple game play. Until recently, the primary focus of these games has been on the game play, seeing how far your skill and reflexes will take you. Indie developer Wales Interactive seeks to change the way we view the genre with Infinity Runner, a sci-fi based endless runner title with a more story driven approach.
Imprisoned on the Infinity, the largest space ship ever built by mankind, you are set free by a mysterious woman who has taken it upon herself to guide you on your escape for unknown reasons. As you make your way deeper and deeper into the ship, you’ll slowly learn more about the Infinity’s purpose and where you fit in amongst all the chaos. Not only is revealing a bit of the story a nice way to reward the player for completing a stage, but you also get to learn a lot about the character you’re playing as; and they just so happen to be a werewolf.
While I’m tempted to give Infinity Runner a perfect score just for featuring a werewolf in space, we should take a moment to go over the game play first. Like all endless runners, this title gives you a great sense of speed as your character tears down the corridors of the space ship at a full sprint. It’s then up to you to reach the end of the stage by reacting quickly enough to your changing environment. You’ll have to turn down other hallways, jump over gaps, and slide under obstacles just to name a few of the moves at your disposal. You’ll also encounter enemy guards who can be dispatched with a sequence of button presses in the form of a quick time event. These events are pretty forgiving, and they add some variety to the game play rather than subtract from it.
Infinity Runner does a nice job introducing new hazards as you progress through the game, and this keeps you on your toes. The werewolf section of later stages is also entertaining to play, as you move much quicker, allowing you to run along walls, smash through weak points to open new pathways, and completely decimate any guards that are unfortunate enough to find you. The werewolf form is fun to play and does a great job of giving you a sense of primal power.
The controls are fairly simple to master, the left stick allows you to move in the hallway you’re running in, the right stick lets you turn down another corridor, and the left and right Z buttons let you slide and jump respectively. It might take a few seconds to know what button to press on instinct, but you’ll be up in running in no time.
While most endless runners simply have you see how long you can survive in order to achieve a high score, Infinity Runner has your player running toward an end goal for each stage. You are given a set amount of lives to reach the end of the level, and collecting checkpoints will allow you to continue where you left off should you meet your demise. There are also data packets strewn across the ship, and collecting enough of these will grant you an extra life. Lose all your lives before reaching the end of the stage, and you’ll have to start the whole thing over. You’ll most likely find yourself dying quite a bit as you enter a new area, and at times the game has a very “trial and error” feel to it. While it does feel satisfying to learn from your mistakes and make it further and further through the stage each time, one stage I encountered placed a new hazard near the end of a four-minute level; and having the new obstacle eat through my lives and force me to start over was frustrating. There are also times where the game spawns you too close to a hazard if you die, and you’ll splat against it before the black screen fades away, allowing you to properly see.
Infinity Runner is an interesting take on the endless runner genre that has been so popular amongst the mobile gaming crowd. For an Indie title, it’s nice to see some decent, 3D visuals in a Sci-Fi environment, and the voice acting and pieces of the story are great treats to reward the player for successfully navigating a level. While the story mode only has 14 levels, there is an arcade mode for you to see how high of a score you can rack up, and the unlockable art and achievements will give you a little more time with this game. While the controls are simple to master, learning how to dodge some of the obstacles later in the game will become very trial and error based. This can cause frustration, especially when a new hazard is at the end of a level, forcing you to replay a stage to have another attempt at it if you ran out of lives. Smacking into an obstacle before the black revive screen completely fades away can also be an annoyance. Despite this, at $6.99 if you enjoy the endless runner genre of games, then you could find some fun with this title, just expect a short game. If you’re curious about the game but aren’t sold on the running mechanic, then it might be best to pass this one up, as the game will most likely frustrate you.
Review: Infinity Runner (Wii U)
While Infinity Runner does shake up the endless runner genre by creating a more story driven experience, the game can feel like a trial and error excercise which can become frustrating when new obstacles eat through all your lives.