Infinity Runner Review – Infinitely Average (PS4)
Do you remember Temple Run? Think back to 2013. I know, in today’s age, that’s a long time ago. Well, anyway, this is an endless runner on the console. With werewolves. In space. Sound awesome?
Yeah, it does sound awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hunt and (spoiler alert!) become a werewolf while in space? But the endless runner genre has been done to death, mostly on mobile. Therein lies the twist, right? This is on the PlayStation 4. It’s something different!
Except, there’s nothing really different about Infinity Runner at all. You run, avoiding obstacles as best you can until you inevitably screw up one too many times and die, or complete the level. Since you’re on the PS4, there is no touchscreen to swipe (despite the excellent DualShock 4 featuring a touchpad), so you’re left with the left analog stick to move between the left, center and right lanes, as well as the right stick to determine which way to run when the road forks (if you don’t do this in time you smack straight into the wall, which results in an instant KO). There are also motion controls, though they are very awkward. You’re better off just using the sticks.
Unlike most endless runner games, Infinity Runner actually has a story mode. It’s a pretty basic story, however, told with jokes that fall flat or are delivered incorrectly by the monotonous AI that’s talking to you throughout the adventure. There’s an enemy werewolf that is supposed to be scary, but for the most part you’re left on your own to run through each level, apparently naked as you do so. Why you’re naked, how you got there, and other questions are left unanswered. But hey, who ever really played an endless runner for the story?
If it looks like a mobile game, sounds like a mobile game, and plays like a mobile game, then it must be a mobile game, right? Nope! Infinity Runner was originally a PC game. Yet, it doesn’t really look the part. I understand PC games are usually downscaled to run better on consoles, but the graphics here look pretty dated. The frame-rate stays pretty smooth throughout the experience as a result, but the game still stutters every now and again during the endless Arcade mode when it is loading a new section. Also removed from the PC version is an online multiplayer mode. This allowed for 32 players to compete simultaneously. In its place are only leaderboards, which is hardly a consolation.
Trouble in Space
In story mode, your goal is to reach the end of each level as a “person” talks to you. Her voice does come out of your controller as well as the television, which is always a cool, unique touch to the PS4. Once you get the hang of the controls, each level becomes an exercise in memorization, which can become a frustration when it’s not always clear what you’re supposed to do in each section. The quick-time events that serves as combat against enemy soldiers is particularly trying; if you miss just one button press, you lose a “life.” Lose all of your lives and you have to start the level over completely. Some checkpoints are also placed very far away, which make recovering from a knockout troublesome.
So Infinity Runner isn’t without its issues. The graphics and presentation feel like you’re playing a mobile game, yet this is a PC port. Multiplayer has been removed. Some sections don’t make it clear what you’re supposed to do. The story is mediocre. Yet, the basic premise of the game remains fun. Infinity Runner doesn’t really do much that you haven’t seen before, but indeed it’s the first game of its kind on the PS4. But it kind of feels like the ship has long since sailed for any new endless runner game to make any sort of traction against the likes of Temple Run 2. At a price of $6.99/€6.99/£4.99, however, this is worth the cash if you’re a major fan of the genre, because it gets the core of the gameplay correct.
Review copy was provided by the publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.