Never has a game had a more apt title than Infinity Runner. Hopping on the back of the success of recent mobile titles that urge the gamer to run forever more, Infinity Runner is the first of a kind on Xbox One. A first person action runner with huge Parkour influences, Infinity Runner sees you thrust into deepest space aboard The Infinity, the largest spaceship ever built. But it holds some dark secrets.
Playing as a prisoner desperately trying to escape The Infinity, you’ll need to use all your parkour skills and quick gaming fingers in order to flee down the corridors of the ship, defeat the end-game boss and eventually make your escape. From the moment your character emerges from his decrepit cell and starts running for his life, dodging the terrors of the ship and hurtling headfirst down the narrow confines of the Infinity, the adrenaline inside will pump vigorously through your veins. And it’s this adrenaline which will eventually turn out to be the key to both your success and your escape from the ship.
The Story mode should be your first port of call as this introduces you nicely to the running, jumping and dodging mechanics on offer. Constantly moving forward at a fast pace, a flick of the right stick at the end of each corridor keeps you going on your merry way, whilst the left stick ensures you get to dodge the destruction of the ship in front of you. With the triggers seeing you jumping and sliding like the very best of ninjas, it doesn’t take long before you’re running like the very best athletes. You’ll need to pick up as many ‘data packets’ as you can whilst on your escape and although the reasoning behind these is rather vague (other than point scorers, I’m not sure what they are for), I guess it gives you something extra to aim for other than just running aimlessly towards the nearest escape pod!
Every now and then you’ll find yourself confronted by the guards of the Infinity, and they’ll need to be dispatched swiftly via the medium of a quick time event. Hitting the correct button or bumper within the very short amount of time given takes a little getting used to and you may need a few attempts to complete each one precisely. Five lives (less on the higher difficulty levels), cleverly placed checkpoints and reasonably short levels ensure that any failure that does come your way – either whilst up against the guards or by being fried by the ships defense system – doesn’t cause too much heartache. There is however a point right at the end of the game when you’ll need to rid yourself of the game’s final boss and whilst boss fights should be hard, this one is tricky beyond belief. A combination of QTE’s that don’t ever seem to let up will very nearly see you throwing the controller in anger. Give it enough attempts though and you should just about make it through to the end credits.
After which, it’s all about rinsing, repeating and grinding the hell out of Infinity Runner.
The inclusion of a very solid arcade mode brings a slightly different take on things, with a comprehensive ‘Infinite’ mode being the most addictive section of the game. With the choice of numerous levels (albeitones that all play completely alike), the inclusion of some lovely powerups and the chance to show your worth on the numerous leaderboards, arcade mode should see you going back to Infinity Runner a good few times. Don’t expect to still be going at it with all guns blazing months down the line, but for the cheap price tag, Wales Interactive have done a sterling job.
Infinity Runner is an extremely fast paced game but it does a great job at easing you in slowly, ensuring that you are fully up to speed with what is required from you before hitting you hard in the face with the next step. You’ll need to master all the usual dodging and jumping before being thrown into the games unique twist…for underneath your prisoner skin is a werewolf just begging to be let out. Run through a suppressor gun on any of the levels and the wolf within will begin to break out, giving you super human powers and making you near on invincible. It’s during this mode that you’ll get a brief respite in the action as you make your way through the ship pretty much on auto-pilot. It soon transpires however that you aren’t the only wolf loose on the Infinity and you’ll eventually find yourself running to escape both the ship and the other space wolves around you!
It’s tense and it’s damn frantic, but it’s all good fun and will bring a few hours of something a little different to your normal gaming session, especially if you take a look at the multitude of in-game challenges that are set out before you.
At least for the most part anyways, because unfortunately there are a few issues that ruin the whole feel of the game; with a couple in particular being extremely sloppy.
Whilst a fair number of the corridors you find yourself running down will be duplicated over and over again, the visuals and areas you find yourself running through aren’t the biggest draw in the game. Infinity Runner is all about getting to the end as quickly and as ninja like as you can, and it does both those jobs well. However, at the beginning of each and every level, your sidekick and navigator, Riley will set a bit of background story for you. It is here that she repeats herself to such an extent that I seriously considered switching off the audio and contemplated attempting to take on the ship and its inhabitants in silence. Add in some subtitles that on occasion don’t replicate Riley’s narration and god forbid, have basic grammatical errors included, and the grammar police will be on to Wales Interactive like a shot.
These issues aren’t game killers, but it’s sloppiness which we could do without. But for a small studio with an low priced title, I’m more than prepared to turn a blind eye to those little problems.
Something that is a bit of a killer though are the sheer amounts of times you’ll find yourself dying due to an obstruction being thrust your way with little notice. I’ve already mentioned that Infinity Runner is fast paced, but for the game to hit you with so many trial and error sequences, just as you start to get a bit of a flow going, is a tad annoying to say the least. One minute you’ll be merrily skipping your way down a corridor, collecting data packets, dodging flames and QTEing the guards in front of you when bam, out of nowhere will be a flying drone, or a piece of the decaying ship thrown into your path. Reaction times of the very best Formula One drivers would be needed to ensure you don’t get walloped time and time again. Whilst you’ll eventually battle your way through it, the inclusion of one of the toughest challenges known to man, that of completing the game, on hard mode, without losing a life, really isn’t worth anyones time, effort or sanity. It’s even more disappointing when a game that so readily throws achievements at you for mastering the art of escape, holds just the one back for anyone able to hit this challenge. Those looking for the full bag of gamerscore will be disappointed to say the least.
Overall then and Infinity Runner does a decent job at drawing you in with its ‘just one more go’ attitude. The 14 levels and competitive price point is super tempting and if you’re looking for a ‘Temple Run’ type experience on your console, then you won’t find anything else worthy. However, after a few hours of entertainment, through some of the most high pressure of situations you can get yourself into on Xbox One, you’ll have exhausted near on everything that the game can throw at you.
Unless of course you want to go running for that big stupidly hard cheevo?