[Review] Infinite – Beyond the Mind – Nintendo Switch

Infinite Beyond The Mind is a 90’s arcade throwback in every sense, but needs a little pacing and design rework to really shine in 2020.

  • Developer: Emilie COYO
  • Publisher: Blowfish Studios
  • Release Date: 07/05/2020
  • Price: £7.99 / $9.99
  • Review code provided by Blowfish Studios

Introducing: Infinite Beyond The Mind Switch Review

Infinite – Beyond the Mind is a 2D action-platformer brought some serious 90’s arcade vibes to the table. But, it would have benefited from a better-developed story and slightly less retro graphics (blasphemy I know, but hear me out). I have to admit, though, that this game definitely highlighted my lack of arcade experience!

…Tell Me A Story?

When I was greeted with a short story introduction between two of the stages, I got excited. I was looking forward to learning more about the Beljantuar Kingdom and what exactly they were up to, and that sense of satisfying heroism that comes from foiling an evil plot. Instead, I was met with a very disjointed story that didn’t really make much sense or add anything to the experience. The only time I got a nice, meaty chunk of story was the very final boss fight, which left me wondering exactly what type of protagonist I’d been playing all along. It was refreshing to have some information when previously we’d just had a few typical bad-guy ramblings, but at the same time, it kind of hammered home the disappointing lack of story progression and made the game finish on a bit of a sour note.

Button-Mashing At Its Finest!

The 2D action-platformer is a classic style of game, and carries a lot of nostalgia for those who visited arcades as children. I wasn’t one of them, unfortunately, and so I found my reflexes considerably slow for Infinite Beyond The Mind. It’s a very simple game to learn, with the Joy-Con stick or D-Pad controlling your character’s movement and jump, dodge, and attack mapped to the face buttons. All you have to do is navigate the side-scrolling level and take out bad guys along the way, but it gets difficult quickly for someone with less-than-ideal digit dexterity.

As you navigate the variety of levels, which dances from a cityscape to a gorgeous, interstellar space fortress and everything in-between, you can earn extra lives, indicated by a floating character head that most classic gamers will be familiar with – they come in handy later on. There are also upgrade rewards, called Epiphanies, that grant stamina-powered special attacks such as a double-jump-slash and a high-powered laser rail-gun.

One complaint I do have with Infinite Beyond The Mind is that the menu system is a little confusing – selecting Solo Mode if you already have a saved game actually starts a new game, rather than allowing the option to resume a previous save file. You have to instead go to Load to find the previous saves. It’s not a problem exactly, just a little unwieldy compared to what a lot of gamers will be used to.

Pixel Pretty

The style is gorgeously retro, with chibi pixel-art graphics and a vivid colour scheme. Each enemy, landscape, and quirky environmental hazard practically leaps off the screen, which sometimes makes it difficult to identify the various elements – this may be intentional,  but I can’t be sure. Each level had a completely unique style, from the lush jungle to a distinctly military keep and even an Aliens-style astral stage.

Unfortunately, the pixel-art style doesn’t translate very well to the textual segments, making it unnecessarily hard to read and rather taxing on the eyes. Thankfully not much reading is required, but it would be nice to have a slightly cleaner font.

The sound design for Infinite Beyond The Mind is, in my opinion, absolutely stellar. Think old-school arcade machines blasting a kind of action-rock tune where everything has a sound effect, from blowing up a helicopter to just landing a jump. The entire way through I found myself bopping my head, and a few times my partner would poke his head in to see what I was playing because the soundtrack had got him curious. Defence Mechanism did an excellent job with the sound design, and it really added some memorable charm to the game.

The performance was as good as I had hoped, regardless of being in either handheld or docked mode, and retained its smooth play without issue when I was switching between controllers. The graphics stayed bright and beautiful, and the sound was crisp as can be. The text was even harder to read on the handheld screen, especially so on my Lite, but that’s an issue I find with a lot of games produced by a whole range of developers, irrespective of indie or AAA status.

A Steady Hike To A Sneaky Mountain Climb

The difficulty of Infinite Beyond The Mind confused me a lot. I had it set on easiest, as I know I’m not exactly fast-fingered, and I was not exactly breezing through levels but I was plodding through at a steady, encouraging pace. Around stage six I started struggling a bit with the platforming element, but after passing that section it was relatively okay until level fifteen. The specific stage mechanics took some getting used to, and that boss battle was a vast departure from what I’d encountered before. 

I won’t go into specifics, because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone who would like to play it for themselves, but stage fifteen’s boss battle was unlike anything I’d previously seen in the game. It was hard and rage-inducing, and many times I had to restart the stage because I completely ran out of lives, but I eventually got it. It was definitely a spike in the difficulty curve, and somewhat too late in the game to make much sense.

A Classic Arcade Game

Infinite Beyond The Mind was a very fun game, and makes me wish I’d been a ’90s arcade kid. The button-mashing combat and distinctly classic style would really suit a custom machine plastered with awesome artwork and a line of kids waiting to play, but it could have done with a couple of considerations regarding how the game would be received without the rosy glow of nostalgia. The menu was just mildly annoying, and the text readability was inconvenient but manageable, but the story and difficulty pacing just isn’t quite right for the length of game. Personally, I’d be a bit annoyed if I’d paid full price for it, but a decent sale would make it a bargain to the right buyer.

Pros

  • Simple controls
  • Quirky pixel-art graphics
  • Amazing soundtrack

Cons

  • Odd menu setup
  • Text is a bit difficult to make out
  • Needs a little story and difficulty pacing rework

Verdict
Infinite Beyond The Mind is a ’90s arcade throwback in every sense, but needs a little pacing and design rework to really shine in 2020.
3.5/5

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