Writing about Infinity Runner in any amount of detail with the slightest bit of nuance wouldn’t necessarily be giving more credit or praise to the game than it deserves (and certainly isn’t something to boast about), it’s just that it may be a bit antithetical. Or rather, completely antithetical.
That’s because this fare from Wales Interactive is entirely as its unambiguous title suggests: a simple and straightforward first person running game that often feels like its going on forever and ever. Your arms swing and you run through winding corridors, jumping, sliding, and occasionally quickly pressing an easy combination of buttons on your controller.
In this exceedingly base game, there is an equally simplistic plot. Running games don’t need plot at all, really, but if you are going to spend time creating a world and a character, then make sure you see it through. Here we find out that the gamer controls an escapee on some endlessly labyrinthine spaceship, one apparently populated by lengthy hallways that all run at 90 degree angles and sometimes open up into larger areas, albeit briefly. After every few minutes of running, you slide into the finish of the level where your mysterious guide, a blonde British woman, tells you a little bit of frivolous story to try and somehow ground the game while aiding you on your escape. Why she doesn’t explain everything all a once seems counterproductive, but alas.
Oh, there are also werewolves, for some reason.
I suppose the catch for this runner game is that it’s now on a console as opposed to a mobile device, where the genre has been enjoyed to death and actually makes sense. The transition to Playstation 4 in this case, though, is something that’s hard to make sense of.
That is not to say it’s bad, but it is so confined by the structure of the genre and does nothing to add anything the least bit novel that you are surely to get bored fast. There is some humour sprinkled here and there (you’re told your runner is naked, which I suppose is funny), but most of the jokes are stale and half-hearted. That at some point you can turn into a werewolf, which allows you to run along the walls and ceilings doesn’t really change the game, it just makes it even more ridiculous.
Because, after all, it’s the same confined activity played over ad nuaseum, and it’s not different in terms of play from other runners. You collect tokens and try to snatch carefully placed rewards while occupying one of three running lanes, all the while leaping things on the ground or ducking below things on the ceiling. Once in a while you come across some guards, where the game only briefly switches gears, asking you to correctly follow a short sequence of buttons to knock them out. When you’re a werewolf, he’ll just do it automatically.
Since it’s on PS4, the Dualshock 4 motion controller can be used, though that is far trickier than the standard buttons. It takes a short bit of time to get used to the controls, but then there is relatively smooth sailing.
Enjoyment ultimately comes down to whether or not you favour the repetition. If you turn into a wall or fall into a pit, you’re sent back to a relatively recent checkpoint, but even when you lose so many lives and redo the level (each run a few minutes long), it doesn’t matter because it’s all the same. If you are seeking satisfaction in the end, it likely won’t come.
Throbbing techno music hammers home two points: you are running really fast, and the game is so particularly repetitive that it doesn’t want you to think too much. As you progress through each level, the tiniest of tweaks are made, but never do you feel like you are playing anything different. For instance, at one point you bust through a wall and run through a cylinder (reminds of Sonic the Hedgehog), dodging randomly placed barriers while collecting arbitrary coins – err, ‘data packets.’
Thankfully, Infinity Runner does eventualy end. It’s definitely not about the destination, but it’s also not really about the journey either. It’s just about being distracted.
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game, which was provided to us for review purposes.
Infinity Runner, for better and worse, is a standard, uneventful running game made for a console instead of a mobile device. It’s repetitive, simplistic, and meandering – but that may just be the diversion you’re seeking.