Set in the ever popular context of a space station, the Infinity is a gigantic vessel hosting various horrific experiments involving a race of creatures once thought extinct. In Infinity Runner, we take the role of an escaped test subject. Things have gone noticeably awry as a female voice desperately tries to wake the subject up from their confined slumber, urging them to break out. With no time for explanations, we rush butt-naked into our fast-paced adventure as fast as our legs will carry us!
Infinity Runner is a speed game. Set in first person, we have a full view of what’s ahead of us as we run at increasingly faster speeds. Long winding corridors spanning thousands of meters lead us to who knows where with deadly traps and obstacles standing in the way. By advancing through the myriad of dangers, the player is confronted by security guards that must be disposed of in order to progress. They’re dealt with using the infamous Quick Time Event mechanic. The game is straight out unforgiving about these (you notice it especially during the final boss fight sequence), as one simple mistake will always cost your life. Checkpoints are plentiful, but lives are frustratingly scarce, with 1-up awards being next to impossible to get. As such, this game demands patience and involves a lot of repetitiveness.
In-game the player is always on the move and can jump, slide and strafe right or left in order to avoid crashing into obstacles or avoiding traps like laser beams and toxic waste. Speed continuously picks up until velocity is capped and at that point paying extra attention is even more of a necessity, as the winding hallways require the player to “look” where they are going lest their momentum causes them to splat against the wall. This adds a new spectrum of awareness that can either maintain the game’s pace or break it with an oddly presented turn. The first thing you’ll notice is how clever Runner is about introducing new types of obstacles, which is a good thing. You never dwindle with one thing for too long before the next one shows up, so you’re kept on edge. On the other hand however, there are several recycled traps and scenarios that add little to the experience, especially since they’re executed in the same way as they’ve been introduced, providing little to no extra challenge to dodge them.
A unique feature for this speed and reflexes game appears early before it’s revealed: you are in fact a werewolf, a human capable of shifting into a powerful wild beast. Unfortunately, your transformation doesn’t naturally occur at will but, thanks to genetic tampering, you can change using a genetic manipulator. When this happens, a brief cinematic features the player’s arms transforming as they morph into a large wolf. As the monster, the player covers more room, runs faster on all fours, is incredibly agile and nigh-invulnerable! Sadly, there isn’t much to say about Wolf Mode outside its aesthetics, since it’s basically a little point in a stage where agency is removed in favor of the level being served into a plate for about 15 to 30 seconds. We’re treated to our avatar simply picking every score item up without us having to move, turning at every corner without having to look, brutalizing enemies without input - the game is played for us. The only real impact you have during Wolf Mode is executing a badass wall-run, but even those appear up to four or five times in the entire story mode.
Music and graphics are so-so. Sound quality is inconsistent; at the start of the game I was pretty much sold by the upbeat themes, making a great addition to the adrenaline pumping running, but later stages got rid of that momentum in favor of less awesome tunes that didn’t do the action justice. There’s a lot to be desired with the art quality too, but maybe I’m being unfair given that the only note-worthy character in this game has been Borderlands 2’s Angel speaking to me as if she were a StarCraft Adjutant… I mean Riley, yes, Riley! Story is relayed through brief textual summaries at the end of each level and Riley (the girl with an interest in your freedom, apparently) utilizing deadbeat dark humor like pretty much any sci-fi game uses nowadays. She didn’t annoy me much, but her contribution to the game wasn’t impressive. All in all the aesthetic portion of Infinity Runner did not quite hold me over, sadly.
Still, props where they are deserved. The game is challenging, it provides the player with a fair amount of retries before they have to start a stage over (except the final boss, eff that cheap bastard), and it has several modes to try, from Arcade to test your grit with scores to Multiplayer to host or join player matches. I feel like Infinity Runner’s story mode was rushed like hell, but I do believe the team did a good job where the cinematic action and most of the gameplay was concerned.
In summary, I believe the game could’ve been more than just a little trip runner with the fanciness of a sci-fi setting; there’s so much hype you can produce from a werewolf stuck in a space station before it all is dispelled at the moment of giving the players control over their game. A more robust story (perhaps with the addition of one other character, adding a new stage of conflict) could have left me wanting more, but instead, the end only provides a certain kind of closure that the phrase “To Be Continued…” does not manage to deliver. It was okay, but not their best in my opinion.