Review: Infinity Runner (PS4)

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Title: Infinity Runner
Format: PlayStation Network Download (2.5 GB)
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Wales Interactive
Developer: Wales Interactive
Original MSRP: $6.99 (US), €6.99 (EU), £4.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
Infinity Runner is also available on Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Mac, and Linux.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

People credit Adam Saltsman with the creation of the endless runner genre with his side-scrolling procedurally generated Canabalt game. It spawned countless clones and variations that made the genre very popular on mobile phones, probably due to their simple controls and quick-play nature.

Gameplay:
Most games in the genre don’t bother with a story or just have a simple reason to be running to or from something. It seems the developers of Infinity Runner decided it needed a bizarre and thinly veiled attempt at a story to help you slog through till the bitter end. It begins with your naked character waking up, smashing their way out of a glass chamber, and collapsing to the floor. A mysterious voice tells you to run and obviously, you comply. So begins you journey through a procedurally generated labyrinth of corridors and rooms.

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As I mentioned earlier, one thing about the genre that helped with its success on the mobile phones is the simple controls often consisting of a simple swipe or tap to move into a different lane, slide or jump over an obstacle, or to turn a corner. Those gestures and taps could have remained simple on the PlayStation 4 but seem convoluted and annoying when the game demands fast reflexes and your full attention. It quickly becomes counterproductive when forced to glance down at the bottom of the screen to read how to perform a move that could and should just be a simple push on the stick or press of a button.

Infinity Runner quickly devolves into a boring and tedious memory exercise with the same set-pieces being used time and again, even across different levels. You’ll literally run into one or two of them without any clear idea of what to do and after several deaths end up noticing a tiny gap to slide through. Or maybe you’ll just get lucky with a jump since a few sections are too dark to make anything out properly. And before anyone writes in, no I don’t mean when the lights go out in certain sections.

I was going to go into detail about the numerous problems and issues I have with this game but instead I’ll just go over a few so you get the idea. Being able to magically pass through the corridor archways when running on the edge of the bland and constantly repeated passageways is annoying. When crashing through a wall at a few points in the game you’ll find that the screen chugs and freezes up, something I didn’t ever expect to see on the beast that we know as the PlayStation 4. The end of level cut scenes sometimes just disappear without being able to read the on-screen text.

… this looks like a mobile phone or dated PC game …
If I hadn’t been reviewing this game then I probably would have deleted it from the PS4 long ago but I stuck with it until the end. Now when I write end I don’t mean the final conclusion, end of the game, watching the credits roll kind of end, I mean the game breaking end. During the probable last tedious quicktime fight, no matter what button I press always results in a death. Which then has me repeat the entire fight again, and again. Even after changing the difficulty to easy with the hope that it wouldn’t be broken, sure enough, it still is.

You can use the Sixaxis gesture controls of the DualShock 4 to move, jump, and turn but even after making sure the check boxes were ticked in the Options Menu I couldn’t always get it to apply the settings. Strangely enough for this short game there is a Platinum Trophy and you’ll amass plenty of the lesser Bronze and Silvers in the first few minutes.

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Visuals:
After the first few seconds of gameplay this looks like a mobile phone or dated PC game albeit with a high frame rate and a few nice particle and lighting effects. There are a few set-pieces and moments where the standards are a little higher, but for the most part it just doesn’t look that good. I encountered a few occasions where the walls would disappear until I turned a corner or jumped through the ceiling.

Audio:
Musically it’s fine with one or two tracks being quite good and another strongly reminding me of the intro to Fight Club. But the voice acting is bland and somewhat annoying if and when the game decides to play it.

Now this game has bugs and glitches throughout and the audio department is no exception. On a few occasions whilst playing I’ve had the sound of running through a never-ending puddle with every single step my character took, even after death. I had to quit the game to get it to stop.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
After a few patches Infinity Runner could turn out to be an acceptable and mildly enjoyable experience, but as it stands I cannot find a single reason to justify paying for this broken mess of a game.

Score:
4.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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