Infinite – Beyond the Mind has a simple premise. It’s retro, that’s for sure. You’re slapped around the chops with that early on. Whether it’s the visuals, chiptune soundtrack or simple control setup, there’s no escaping it. So you’ll immediately know if this is your thing or not.
You can play Infinite – Beyond the Mind on your own, or locally through co-op mode. There is also a tutorial, which is a quick five-minute segment of play which is worth doing to get to grips with things. Essentially it’s a retro 2D platformer where you can jump, dodge, attack and call for support whilst on your travels. You’ll get the hang of it in no time.
In terms of setting the scene, and in Infinite an evil queen is determined to achieve her goal of world domination, and it falls to you to stop her. You can play as Tanya or Olga as both girls attempt to dethrone the tyrannical Evangelyn Bramann once and for all.
Both girls are blessed with a power, which the leader of the Beljantaur Kingdom wants to snuff out, deeming them both as a threat. And so one girl is kidnapped and the other must set out to save her.
The combat in Infinite – Beyond the Mind is very basic, and essentially consists of hacking away with your melee fist attack, and dodging towards enemies as they fire, to then give them a good pasting too. Every now and then you’ll be able to jump into a mounted turret, but you’ll be quickly overrun and have to jump out again before it explodes. You can also call for support, which brings in some allied drones to deal big damage, but you can only do this a set number of times.
The girls are also able to wall jump, which feels a bit hit and miss to whether you actually pull it off. The controls, although simple, aren’t as tight as they ought to be.
A lot of the enemies also look very similar, often only differing by the type of weapon they are using. When playing, I couldn’t help but think that they reminded me of Terence and Phillip from South Park. Just in terms of looks however, not all the other stuff. Still, each area is set in a different place which adds some variation to the action, at least.
The third area mixes things up a bit, and temporarily turns the entire experience into an on-rails shooter. It’s fun for a short while, but quickly turns into a grind. Moving around with the thumbstick is also a bit of a mess, with the directional inputs seemingly getting confused, meaning you’ll move with a horrendous amount of drag. It is certainly best to use the D-Pad for this one.
Arguably the only real variation in Infinite comes with the boss battles. On the surface this seems to be the case, but in the end they just come down to the usual dodge and slash formula the game has adopted. This is mainly because each one has a flaw where you can just hack away to a quick victory.
At the end of Area 4, and a royal encounter (no spoilers here), you have an “epiphany”, which gives you a cool-looking upgraded suit to wear. Sadly though it just means you unlock a pretty standard mid-air attack. That’s pretty much it. It’s a lot of fuss for not much reward. It’s also a while before you have your second one. Each is a fancy demonstration of you unlocking a new skill, basically.
Unfortunately, despite the gameplay in Infinite – Beyond the Mind being simple, it’s very repetitive. There’s a real lack of variation, even down to the pickups. For a platformer you’d normally expect some secrets to find, maybe collectables. There’s nothing like that here. Granted, there are different routes through each level, but apart from extra lives, health bar extensions, health packs and extra support drones, there’s nothing to go looking for. There isn’t even a points meter to keep track of as you play, with this only popping up at the end of the area. It’s very stripped back stuff. Your health bar is also so generous that you’ll probably have no need for pickups in the first half of the game.
The game is also very easy, with little incentive to play through a second time. There are the usual three difficulty levels, but it never becomes a real challenge and, aside from a couple of tricky boss battles, it’s a simple enough play. This is mainly because you can just run through large segments of each level, effortlessly dodging enemies and only needing to fight when your screen fixes for a battle. Your stamina meter depletes when you dodge, but when empty it will recharge in seconds, so it hardly slows you down.
Infinite – Beyond the Mind does do a good job of capturing the essence of a retro 2D platformer however. Its looks are spot on, even down to the flashing “Go” message when you’ve cleared an area, which is reminiscent of Final Fight or Streets of Rage. The soundtrack, although repetitive, does the job too.
Unfortunately, everything about Infinite – Beyond the Mind on Xbox One screams average. It’s lacking ambition and gets repetitive quickly. Even at a modest £7.99 it’s hard to recommend, as beyond the lovely retro skin it’s not got a lot else going for it.