Your friends might be overhauling their islands in Animal Crossing: New Horizons or they may be endowed with hype from the latest Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla news, but for retro-fanatics that are looking for simplicity with an 8-bit soundtrack to guide them through these rough times, Infinite Beyond The Mind is the golden ticket.
Metroidvania? Check. Sidescroller? Check. Platformer? Check. Infinite Beyond The Mind may not be the next Shovel Knight, but it is rich with that nostalgic feeling, so much so that I had to double-check that it wasn’t a port of an old SNES title onto the Switch because that’s exactly what it feels like, from the charming sprites to the music that takes you back to Mega Man. The best part? It’s not a janky mess, at least for the most part, as its responsive, so long as you avoid analog sticks or the tanks, and easy to pick up, with simplicity being at the core of the experience.
The red-shirt brigade who don their generic military attire are armed with a variety of weapons from pistols to miniguns, and you’re thrown at them with a nifty dodge ability and a nice swipe attack that leaves them on the ground in seconds. It’s easy enough, but the challenge tends to come from the arduous checkpoints in true retro style, so watch out for med packs, avoid the barrage of bullets headed your way and pick your battles, or you’ll be thrown back to the start of the level to give it another whirl.
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That being said, the best tactic for running a level seems to be dodging and sprinting past everything until you’re at a chokehold where you’re forced to fight, as there isn’t much of an incentive to take down the baddies, especially considering there’s no dopamine-rich loot that spews out from their carcass or sound effects and gruelly pixelated deaths like in Doom. Rather, their deaths add to your score, so unless you’re a hound for points, killing the enemies gets dull quick, and you oft find yourself running past most of them, grabbing loot and fighting the bosses before moving on.
The world is beautiful, and the art style is superb, rich with passion and personality, but the levels can get somewhat repetitive, with a spew of enemies thrown at you on rooftops and the ground alongside the occasional moment in which you are forced to jump around. Platforming isn’t the strong suit of Infinite, but rather a part of the genre it delves headfirst into that it doesn’t quite pull off to the same caliber as its action.
Like any classic retro Snes title or emulation of the days of old in the modern world, Infinite’s story isn’t anything to write home about. You get to pick from two characters who are said to have a unique bond, and they are thrust into this world of war and tyranny, sparking a vendetta that sends them on a mission to take down the dystopian rule of the Belijantaur Kingdom. Generic? A little bit, but you don’t boot up a title like this for eye-opening narratives and Tarantino-level writing, so it’s a forgivable trait. The story is, in a word, serviceable, and the two playable characters are quirky enough in design to work.
Graphics / Art Direction
Infinite’s foreground is its weak point, but its backdrops are stunning, with skylines that make you feel like you’re in a classic Steve Ditko comic, and gorgeous diverse color palettes that make the beat-em-up on-a-rail action feel less monotonous. The sprites are a little chunky and out of place at times, lacking in detail and feeling somewhat repetitive and simplistic, but there’s definitely personality interwoven into the foundation of Infinite’s art and that makes it a treat all the same.
Music / Sound Design
Infinite’s got a good score, nailing that 8-bit action-packed aesthetic to a T, but don’t expect an Undertale-level soundtrack that blows other indies out of the water. It’s serviceable, and compliments the gameplay nicely, even if the transitions are, at times, jarring, but it definitely gives you that warm feeling of home, like being snuggled up in a blanket with a controller in hand, playing a classic title on the small screen so far away that you have to squint.
Final Score: 70%
Infinite is a fun, retro Metroidvania that basks in its nostalgic glory, with a great soundtrack, beautiful backdrops, fun boss fights and simplicity that makes the experience intuitive, but it can get repetitive and the satisfaction drawn from killing enemies is somewhat lackluster compared to its cohorts.
Thank you for checking out our Infinite Beyond the Mind Switch review, thank you to Blowfish Studios for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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