GAME NAME: Strike Suit Infinity
DEVELOPER(S): Born Ready Games
PUBLISHER(S): Born Ready Games
GENRE(S): Arcade shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): April 30th 2013
After developer Born Ready Games successfully managed to reach their Kickstarter goal to fund original game Strike Suit Zero, the initial wave of support was met with a tepid response, with numerous bugs and stripped away features outlining the disappointment of some. However, Born Ready have bounced back with Strike Suit Infinity – a budget vignette of Zero with the intention of stripping the game down to more arcade style roots and focusing on short burst, score driven frenetic game play with player focus on leader board superiority.
In theory this is a smart direction for the series, focusing the game toward it’s supposed strengths, but unfortunately Strike Suit Infinity – perhaps an ironic name given it’s stripped down nature, simply fails to do this effectively.
The aim of SSI is almost boringly straightforward. The player is tasked with destroying waves of various enemy ships using a transforming spaceship capable of becoming a Mech once enough ‘flux’ is collected from destroyed craft. There are three different ships to choose from, and each can be outfitted with different weapons and abilities. However, this is where Infinity’s problems first become apparent, with a desperately lacklustre tutorial failing to properly explain any of the options available to you. Although there are tutorials that explain the basic gameplay and controls, in a game that is solely based on the premise of attaining high scores, the game does shockingly little to point the player towards the more nuanced mechanics and elements of playing the game that will help them to do this. In a game that lives or dies by its ability to keep a player trying to improve their leaderboard score, it’s a shame Infinity makes it so difficult for a newcomer to even learn how to make a dent in some of the ludicrous scores already put up by the more experienced players.
However, this is all moot when the gameplay itself is taken into consideration. Strike Suit Infinity is just…incredibly boring to play. Perhaps a product of the more subtle elements to the gameplay being unexplained, Infinity suffers from repetitive, unsatisfying combat that can simply be reduced to locking onto wave after wave of insultingly stupid enemies and fiddling with the muddled controls as quickly as possible so that you can signal the game to bring on the next wave of impossibly dull canon-fodder. As well as this, the combat doesn’t feel remotely tactile, making it difficult for the player to even get a sense of how well they are actually doing mid-battle – All too often, you’ll have a seemingly perfectly fine run suddenly end in failure, only to waltz through the next attempt flawlessly without it feeling any different, adding an insipid cherry of aimlessness on the already arid, monotonous cake. Even transforming into the Mech invokes the same amount of excitement as having to empty the dishwasher.
Not everything is bad of course – Infinity garnered support for a reason, and this is present in Zero too. The game looks very sharp graphically with detailed models flying around at a consistently silky frame-rate, offset with colourful explosions and weapon effects, but this just ultimately isn’t enough when it comes to actually having to play the game.
Infinity’s biggest crime is that it feels like it should be good, but it just never gives you the chance to learn how to enjoy it or why you should in the first place. For a game so heavily based in flaunting leader-board prowess, Infinity both bizarrely understates the score side of things, whilst simultaneously making replaying the levels feel like a chore rather than an inviting gauntlet. For those that specifically enjoy score-driven Space Shooters, there may be some enjoyment here to be had with Infinity, but for somebody simply looking for a fun title, there is simply too many quality games at the same price point to even take the budget price as a benefit.