By: Justin Redmon
Wales Interactive doesn’t really waste much time getting the main point of their game across, spelling it out blatantly in the name itself, Infinity Runner, an infinite runner if you couldn’t quite guess. Infinite runners tend to get a bad rap, as most seem to be nothing more than halfhearted timewasters, but that doesn’t stop them from being enjoyable experiences.
That’s something Infinity Runner thankfully achieves, combining its running feats with a space aesthetic as well as werewolves of all things, but its main problems sadly lie with its adherence to its chosen genre and little variety to make it different from the rest.
Being an infinite runner, quick controls are an absolute necessity for finesse, but Infinity Runner does a few things oddly to say the least. Needless to say, all the genre staples you’d expect from any other runner are here as well with sliding, jumping and the odd wall run making an appearance within your repertoire. Really, Infinity Runner wouldn’t seem all that different if not for one major difference: it’s completely first person.
This change actually ends up hurting it a bit in some areas, as turning corners is controlled by mouse movement, which sort of jerks you around turns instead of transitioning smooth. After turning your view doesn’t return to center either, so you’re stuck staring at a wall instead of directly ahead, and since you’ll be moving quite quickly, this can cause time between obstacles to all but disappear as you rush to reposition your view.
In looks, Infinity Runner is a mixed bag. The game takes place exclusively on the spaceship Infinity, the largest ship ever built, which coincidentally seems to be made up largely of hallways. Now while running around hallways leaves a lot to be desired, Infinity Runner occasionally impresses with set piece moments where you’ll have to slide or dodge somewhat spectacularly, or other moments where the ship opens up giving you a view of the Earth. Overall though, textures are somewhat bland, and even though you move between different sections of the ship, things don’t really change enough to keep the game feeling fresh.
Things are decidedly better in regards to its soundtrack, which, although lacking on some fronts, boasts pumping tracks that definitely fuel the runner gameplay. That, when taken in conjunction with some of the more explosive set pieces, definitely make for an enjoyable experience. There’s voice acting as well, and although lines can sometimes be pretty odd, it’s adequate for the experience at hand, and ends up being surprisingly solid all around.
Now most wouldn’t expect an infinite runner to try and have a story beside its gameplay, but Infinity Runner stands somewhat alone in this regard. Unfortunately, while it could have been an interesting bit to the game if handled better it ends up being nothing to really write home about, even going so far as to end rather unceremoniously.
At least the story mode itself serves as a good starting ground for the game, slowly introducing obstacles and game mechanics, with each level setting you up with three lives to conquer it before moving on to the next section.
That being said, you’ve probably experienced a lot of what Infinity Runner has to offer in other places besides small fight sections where the games slows down and throws up some QTEs to have you take down a group of enemies. These sections are thankfully brief and quite easy. There are also other sections where you turn into a werewolf, making you mostly invincible while also granting the ability to absorb collectables without having to really try to collect them — there are even wall running segments that pop up during these moments. It’s sad to say, though, that even turning into a werewolf is somewhat of a triviality and would have been great as a larger part of the game instead of what amounts to a glorified power up.
Beyond story, there’s the expected Arcade mode, which lets you do high score runs against friends or speed run story levels. This is probably where you’ll get the most enjoyment out of Infinity Runner, and when everything clicks it’s definitely fun. The two other interesting bits of Infinity Runner are something that I sadly couldn’t experience, mainly the multiplayer and Oculus Rift support. The multiplayer boasts up to 32-player matches, but I just was unable to find others looking for a match.
As far as Oculus Rift support goes, I honestly wouldn’t recommend it, as the speed of the game combined with the constant head bobbing of your view doesn’t seem like it would make for anything other than an extremely disorienting experience. Then again, it also ends up being one of the only real reasons to try this over other runners on the market, so for those lucky enough to actually own one, maybe it’ll be worth it to try out. Ultimately, though, it just doesn’t offer up enough gameplay wise to stand out from its nearly endless crowd of competitors.
As a runner, Infinity Runner is an enjoyable experience, but nothing past Oculus Rift support really warrants mention. Unfortunately, it ends up being something that’s probably not worth your time otherwise.