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Infinite: Beyond the Mind (PlayStation 4) artwork

Infinite: Beyond the Mind (PlayStation 4) review

"Just the Two of Us"

Infinite - Beyond the Mind is a 2D sprite-based action game where you control one of two skilled women, or both in couch co-op, capable of killing with a simple hand slash attack. That might be enough to get people on board with the product, but an important question awaits many others: what type of 2D action game? Infinite takes inspiration from several sources, but it seems to take the most from classic ninja titles, almost like an amalgamation of the Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden series. Basically, you can double jump, wall jump, and perform a dash, slicing through foes within a colorful presentation that's like a mix between classic Mega Man and River City Ransom.

Since you have a lone melee attack, the game is structurally-designed to make you get up close with an army that is hellbent on world domination; this becomes an interesting predicament once you realize nearly every enemy is designed to attack from a distance with projectiles. This is where the aforementioned agility comes into play as you have to get a quick kill in, whether it be slashing a turret from above with a double jump, dodging a shotgun spread blast with your dash, or a combination of those moves. As typical of action games, several enemies of different types, from different angles, will attack at once, making this a little bit tricky. For instance, what might originally look like one soldier tossing grenades and another manning a machine gun stand will suddenly become a gang of paratroopers dropping from above, a tank speeding in, and a truck dropping off more soldiers.

While trekking across the globe, you will meet all sorts of soldiers. Visually. The majority of fights are essentially "costume swaps" of opponents you've fought since the start: run 'n gunners, stationery shooters, grenade tossers, mini tanks, and helicopters. Thankfully an exception is made for boss battles, which start out rather simple with soldiers and a fearsome tank, but escalates into more fantastical, absurd battles with robots, a golem, and magical beings. Besides that, Infinite makes up for any possible repetition by way of stage structuring; you won't really think much about the swaps when, as mentioned prior, a bunch of enemy types are attacking at once from different angles, and especially when you're doing it on platforms over death pits. Since it's approached in a levelheaded manner, the dynamic of "melee versus projectiles" works in the game's favor.

One specific stage, the sixth one, comes to mind as a solid example of the game's design and subtle difficulty scale. Here you'll run through a forest, take down soldiers stationed at stilt huts over water, and platform jump across mountainous areas, concluding in an ancient cave where you fight a mythical lava golem. The main thing to take away from this stage is that, on the surface, it appears to be like any other where you fight a typical mix of soldier types. However, actually play the stage and you'll realize things are somehow a bit tougher; you're getting hurt for stuff that's normally avoidable. The trick being used here is simple: one additional soldier is placed within a given scenario, done in such a way that all enemies are standing in spots you need to get through. That's it. That's the trick. It sounds very "basic," but that just goes to show how vital enemy placement is in games of this type.

That's also a good explanation of the overall experience. Infinite - Beyond the Mind is a very frank 2D action title, with very few outlandish mechanics or gimmicks, that will briefly amuse you for about two hours. The blueprint is good, the devs understand the general structure and flow of a side-scrolling melee action title, and there's enough variation to please. And that's it. That's the game. That might sound like a negative to some, but if you're looking for something straightforward, hacking and slashing a bunch of enemies while bouncing around like a ninja, doubly so with co-op, this game will service those needs.


pickhut's avatar
Featured community review by pickhut (March 20, 2021)



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honestgamer posted March 21, 2021:

This could be so many indie games these days. Or even just so many games in general. They're competent and then some, but is there a lot of reason to play unless you've exhausted the classics they mimic and really love the genre? Maybe not. You did a great job reviewing this. Thanks!
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pickhut posted March 21, 2021:

Funny you should say that, because I actually brought up that subject in one of the original openings for the review; I eventually removed it because it was just taking away needless space from the actual game itself. Thanks for reading!

Edit - Oh, found it in all its drafty glory:

In an age where 3D gaming became the norm, proclaiming something as a 2D sprite-based action game, inspired by classic titles of yesteryear, used to be novel. Used to. Nowadays it's treated more as a gimmicky incentive to get people to buy their games, and, more times than not, they end up playing games with very questionable quality. It has gotten to a point----- (I abandoned it here when I realized this was getting needlessly meaty.)
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honestgamer posted March 21, 2021:

That was probably the right call. There's nothing wrong with your scrapped text, except that it could be written just as easily about so many games and it detracts from the focus you wanted to place on the game actually being reviewed. That kind of discussion might also do a better job closer to the end of a review, because it's generally important to kick things off with immediate relevance. The further you get into a review without discussing the essential facts (such as the game's genre or your general thesis about its quality), the more you risk alienating all but the friendliest of readers. These are the sort of thoughts that keep me up at night. Anyway, good job with this review, as I said. Your instincts remain strong!
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pickhut posted March 21, 2021:

Yeah, it would've worked better as a closer; it's amazing how many opening paragraphs I've written that ultimately became closing paragraphs. Opening paragraphs are usually my toughest opponents when it comes to writing a review. Sometimes I'll go with a "message" or some kind of analysis/history lesson which actually has a chance of working with the game, and other times it becomes a jumbled mess by the second paragraph. When that happens, it's just best to get to the point with the very first sentence. Just go for it, even if it means you'll have a drastically smaller review on your hands; at least everything about the game, good and bad, was explained.

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