Day 166: Infinity Danger

Posted: 2011/04/24 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #166, and today’s game is “Infinity Danger”.

Infinity Danger is one of the best shoot-’em-ups I’ve played (at 37, I’m old enough to still call them that by default rather than the modern affectation of “shmup”). This game’s most compelling feature (but far from its only innovation) is how enemies evolve to the player’s style, rather than re-executing the same patterns that got their comrades killed the previous time, forcing you to evolve along with them. With tremendous presentation and innovation abounding, this is a no-brainer purchase for shoot-’em-up fans at only 80 Microsoft Points. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, from the developer (Milkstone Studios S.L.):

“Fight against an almighty enemy that evolves to exploit your weak points! Inspired on the 2003 computer game “Warning Forever””

One common element of the genre, thanks to “bullet hell” games where death is meant to be near impossible to avoid, is to give your ship a tiny “hit box” in the centre of the ship. That’s not the way I played it growing up, though, with games like SWIV, Delta, Uridium, and many others being far less forgiving. Infinity Danger harkens back to those times, and I’m personally quite OK with that. It’s always made sense to me that it be that way, though be warned it does make the game more difficult in later levels as bosses keep getting bigger and crowding out more of the screen.

Infinity Danger is inspired by “Warning Forever”, a game I did not play but is apparently considered in relatively high regard. Whatever the inspiration, Infinity Danger is a blast to play and has a lot of things going for it, such as:

– dual-stick shooting (rather than the normal forward-only that most shoot-’em-ups use) which opens you up to engaging an enemy in 360 degrees;

– tremendously attractive presentation (both in the graphics and the audio);

– global leaderboards (and a constant reminder of where you are in them as you play);

– and as previously mentioned, an enemy that evolves with you, taking away the ability to “get the enemy’s number” and do the same attack patterns repeatedly, forcing you to step up your game and evolve along with it.

The game keeps throwing bigger and bigger bosses at you as your proceed, and they have to be taken down piece by piece. You have to analyse each enemy’s strengths and weaknesses and decide how you’re going to take them down, literally focusing on elements of it. In the game’s of my youth, when you had a big boss and had to take it down a piece at a time, usually the game would force you to take it down in its order, making the rest of the ship invulnerable until you destroyed the one piece that would flash when you shot at it. Not here, this game encourages a non-linear method of taking down the bosses.

One unusual element of the game is that you don’t have a limit on lives, but you do have a limit on time. Your deaths do affect time, imposing a penalty on the remaining seconds each time. The goal is not so much to destroy the enemy, but incapacitate it and force it to transform into another form, whereupon you get to start taking it down again. This makes the game a scoring challenge rather than a completion challenge, and could help the game appeal to those who get frustrated with losing their lives early in a traditional shoot-’em-ups.

The game has an invisible arena surrounding the playfield (quite apparent over HDMI, less apparent over component cables since component overscans heavily which obscures the borders of the screen). This takes some getting used to, and would feel more limiting if not for the sense of freedom the twin-stick controls engender. Milkstone Studios, who I loved for their games “MotorHEAT” and “Little Racers”, has done it again with great presentation, solid gameplay, all at an impulse buy price.

Click here to download “Infinity Danger”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.


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