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Big Sky Infinity Review – Soothing Shooting

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UK based independent game production company Boss Baddie recently released their new space ship shoot ‘em up game, Big Sky Infinity. This game could be considered a port or a re-adaptation of their PC game Really Big Sky, but there are some important differences that make this game a lot better.

First and foremost, the graphical presentation is the clearest difference between Infinity and its predecessor. Infinity is beautiful and an absolute treat to look at. Your ship is crisply rendered, enemies are clearly shown in a set color, bosses still look great, and the agents of your death are much more clearly visible than Really Big Sky. The change here was both in clarity of certain aspects of the game (enemies, the death cloud, etc) and the color scheme being used much more strategically. The different backgrounds all also look great, with my favorite being the flowery cute background in pacifism mode. The one downfall however, is the hyper mode where the screen goes black and white and certain enemies end up a shade of white on a white background – they are very difficult to distinguish.

Before even clicking the game some energetic trance starts playing setting the tone for one of the greatest soundtracks I have ever personally enjoyed in a game. Sounds are also essential to the game. Certain enemies make certain sounds to indicate what they’re doing and there are different sounds when you kill an enemy, hit but don’t kill, and hit a shield as well as when collecting starbits, taking damage to your shields, shooting bombs or mines, etc.

Playing this game is extremely simple: left joystick or pad moves you, right stick shoots, x or R1 is your drill (press) and super spin (hold.) The precision shooting is great and the movement is tight. The one downside is that because of the right joystick being used to shoot, you cannot play with an arcade fight-stick  This would have been really great and would have added to the arcade-style feeling of the game, but otherwise this game has the feel of an arcade classic.

This game has the same four bosses as Really Big Sky and a phantom zone area that is high difficulty enough to give the red boss indicator. The bosses themselves vary in difficulty. The first few times you fight them you’re almost guaranteed to die, but once you figure them out ¾ of them feel like you’re taking a break from the action of the game. The other boss feels like one of the infamous Japanese “bullet hell” games set on a low difficulty (which is to say it’s difficult and stressful, but no Japanese hell game).

There are 12 game modes that all constantly adapt to how you adapt. This means that you have never done everything to be done in this game. The one main problem is the similarity between the game modes. Arcade is a slightly mode difficult classic mode, Hell is even more difficult, naked mode takes away your power-ups, pacifism you cant shoot, etc. All of these game modes feel very similar and that takes slightly away from the experience, but the game is fun enough as it is to keep you coming back.

The game has a really great feature in that it not only randomly generates environments, but it actually adapts to you as you play. This includes the difficulty, random events like bosses and much more. Infinity typically starts very easily, then changes based on how you react to the challenges presented. When you die the game even shows you a graph indicating how your difficulty changed over time.

The one truly terrible thing about this game, though, is the narrator. He is more annoying that Navi from Ocarina of tTime. Trust me on this, before playing the game scroll to options and turn the narrator off. There’s a reason they added that option.

Overall, this game is truly a blast. Play with up to four people and try not to die as the game adapts to the combined skill of you and your friends. Fight for high scores like you’re in the arcade and try for a world record. I reviewed the PS3 version of the game, but it is also available on Vita. On the handheld version, they even added a mode that lets you take turns against others, swapping back-and-forth to see who can rack up the most points. If you like shmups and/or wonderfully stylized games, Big Sky Infinity comes easily recommended.

Pros:

  • Difficulty and level design adapt to how you play
  • Beautiful graphics and entrancing soundtrack
  • Tight gameplay that is easy to learn and fun to master

Cons:

  • Lack of game mode variety
  • Predictable bosses
  • Annoying narrator

Final Grade: A-

This review was conducted on a PlayStation 3 version of the game provided by Ripstone.

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