This Shmup Will Throw You For a Loop – Big Sky: Infinity Review
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
For many 2D side-scrollers, the solution to most levels is to discover the pattern, memorize it, and repeat. But what if there is no pattern? Voo Foo Studios and Boss Baddie mix it up with their release of Big Sky: Infinity a twin-stick shooter for the PlayStation Network. They’ve taken a basic concept and added a twist. By creating a twin-stick shooter that is randomly generated, they hope to entice gamers into re-experiencing the genre without a chance to memorize the scenery (or battles). The idea behind the gamplay is that instead of having certain levels that you have to beat, with the same space and enemies, it is entirely random – so you’re never playing the same level twice!
There are multiple ways you can play (both single- and multiplayer) that will keep you on your feet and exploring new aspects of the game. To begin, you’ll only have access to two modes, Classic and Peaceful, and will unlock up to ten new modes as you progress through Classic gameplay. Peaceful mode is a great area to practice your skills as you get unlimited lives, and it does not count towards your overall player score. Classic mode is the main game, where you plunge deep into the galaxy and defeat your foes. As you spend time playing, the game overall becomes increasingly diverse, giving you more options and challenges for your money. Big Sky: Infinity provides its gamers with several ways to play, such as Pacifist mode where you have no weapons and must remain alive until the end while dodging enemy attacks, or Nightmare which offers nothing but pain and suffering as the difficulty level reaches new heights. You can also play online with up to four people as a team or competing for points, so you can put your skills to the test against your fellow gamers. With so many options to choose from, you’ll be hard pressed to run out of things to do!
The mechanics in the game are very simple: use the left analog stick to steer, the right analog stick to shoot, and the X button to use special abilities. Your two base special abilities will be pressing X to drill so you can muscle your way through meteors, or holding down X to send a giant electromagnetic beam outwards. From there the scenery moves from right to left (and you along with it), so you’ll simply be moving about the screen killing anything in your path! While the mechanics seem fairly easy to follow, there are many places where the enemies were actually outside of the picture, so you can kill everything on the screen without actually completely killing all your targets. From there if you want to try to make sure they are all dead you’ll be shooting in every direction towards the edge of the screen in the hopes you catch them all. This may have to do with the implementation of the random generation of baddies, though it certainly adds a level of frustration to the gameplay. Overall, for those of you who are already familiar with twin-stick shooters, you already get the basic idea. Move around the screen, shoot the bad guys, and figure out the pattern. But what if there isn’t a pattern to it? As mentioned above, Big Sky: Infinity randomly generates the enemies on the playing field, so you’ll never meet the same swarm twice! This feature is a great addition to the game, and is sure to keep you on your toes!
The music is well-placed, mixing dub-step and techno beats, and adding piano instead of keyboard through many instances of gameplay – it is bound to get you pumped up and ready for action! The music is exactly what you’d expect for a game of this genre, and fits in nicely with the random blasts, explosions, and laser-beam noises you’ll be hearing. Where this game tends to fall flat is in its voice acting. The tutorial would be one you could find on YouTube via a fan-dub. While it is highly detailed, much of the intended witty remarks are lacklustre and out of place, and it is hard to tell if the British accent from the actor is put on or actually theirs due to how some of the words are embellished. This continues throughout the game, and will surely further your irritation.
The visuals themselves for the genre are breathtaking, adding multiple scene-based obstacles such as flying through a gorgeously detailed red and purple nebula, to drilling and maneuvering through giant formations of space-rock. The graphics for the game seem larger than life, with something almost always going on and sucking you into the atmosphere. The exception to this would be the random slow points in the game, when you are travelling through the craters, or when you end up in a black hole. It is almost as if the game goes to a crawl and you’re sitting around waiting to get out so you can go kill things. The music does not fit the tone at this point and much if the action-packed feel is lost to the gamer.
On the upside, the start screen visuals are also highly enjoyable, as the Menu system is done up in florescent data-chips, reminiscent of a Tron universe, and the animations are crisp and fluid. It is a unique touch and one that really puts you into the same headspace as the developers, getting you ready to go out and strike down your enemies! Due to the high resolution and bright colours, however, there are many times in the game when you can’t actually see your enemies, as too much of the background and ‘neat’ distractions are so bright, you can’t always tell what is in the background and what is out to kill you. For twin-stick shooters this is imperative, and can cause major setbacks in levelling.
When you take a look at the big picture, Big Sky: Infinity offers a diverse selection of new ways to experience a randomly generated twin-stick shooter, and at times seems to spend almost too much time being graphically awesome that it distracts. If you are especially drawn to artistic talents, and love the challenge that physically will not allow you to strategize (having to rely purely on your awesome instincts), this is exactly what you are looking for!
Big Sky: Infinity receives a 4.0/5.0
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