Infinity Runner was developed and published by Wales Interactive on Xbox One. It was released on April 22, 2015 for $6.99. A copy was provided by Wales Interactive for review purposes.
Is it possible to hate a game that you really enjoyed playing? Infinity Runner makes the case for that paradox. The production value is pretty awful, the difficulty level is ridiculously frustrating and it doesn’t add anything new to the genre, but I still enjoyed my time with the game.
Infinity Runner is an endless runner like the games you see on smartphones such as the mega-popular Temple Run. You’re constantly running forward, and the controls are limited to strafing side to side, jumping and sliding. There’s a few new ideas here, but otherwise it’s basically like a smartphone game on a console, with only slightly better graphics.
Here’s what I liked:
Adrenaline — You go fast. The sense of speed achieved here is far greater than that of any smartphone endless runner I’ve seen. So when you finally manage to jump over a laser that just killed you 10 times in a row, the sense of accomplishment is truly exciting.
It’s fun – It’s hard to totally give Infinity Runner the credit here, but this is a fun genre. It’s hard to mess up running really fast while dodging obstacles, and so Wales Interactive hasn’t — at all.
Doesn’t take itself too seriously – As you’ll see below, this is kind of a double-edged sword, but I love when a game takes a B-movie approach to design and story. Making things purposefully ridiculous and over-the-top can make for some campy fun.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Production value — Putting it rather bluntly, Infinity Runner looks like a smartphone game…on the next-generation Xbox One. Actually, it looks like a bad smartphone game…on the next-generation Xbox One. It sounds and basically plays like one too. The generic sci-fi setting isn’t helping its cause, either. While the B-movie-style design mentioned above could work if it was done well, it just looks very cheap here.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t — I’d imagine it’s hard to be a developer nowadays with everyone’s high standards for what video games should be. One of the things that people constantly complain about (myself included), is when there’s either too much hand holding tutorials or too little explanation. Well, Infinity Runner splits the difference and still comes out the loser. It starts off explaining the most obvious things (side step with the left stick, look to turn with the right stick), but then a robot falls in front of you, and there’s no way to tell whether you should be jumping or sliding. With some jumps there’s no sense to when/where you should hit the button whatsoever, except for on the random places where it specifically tells you when to hit the jump button. No matter what, you end up annoyed by what the game throws at you rather than being excited.
Quick-time events — I’m not one of those people that hates all QTEs in games, but there’s just no reason for this game to have them. Every so often you’ll run into a big, open area with some bad guys. As you enter, you’re prompted to hit some random controller buttons. If you hit them all correctly you watch as you kill a few robots. If you hit even one button wrong you die, which, as you can imagine, is frustrating.
I did have some fun with Infinity Runner. I can’t just write it off as a bad game, but it’s certainly not a great game, or even a very good one. If you’ve played and enjoyed these kind of games on your smartphone before and are curious as to how it translates to the big screen, I’d say try it. If you want a more complete, fleshed-out console video game, then Infinity Runner probably isn’t for you.
Score: Try it