Infinity Danger

Fight against an almighty enemy that evolves to exploit your weak points! Inspired on the 2003 computer game "Warning Forever"

More bad people need to play Infinity Danger. The Elite award, given for players who break through the top 5% on the global leaderboards and one of 18 total, is just out of reach, my personal best going from 15th to 47th as more people -- better people -- buy and play the Milkstone Studios' arena shooter. Heavily inspired by Hikware's Warning Forever and acknowledged as much, Infinity Danger tasks players to engage in a series of boss fights, each of which must be defeated by destroying removing the head and destroying the brain. The problem is that each boss is a giant ship which expands with each appearance, gradually adding to the craft's size and artillery, all intent on obliterating the player. Infinity Danger doesn't bring much to the Warning Forever formula, but what it does do is take a highly successful game and add a level of polish to one of the shooter genre's most interesting games in the past decade.

Despite the innovation of Warning Forever, its simplistic design and green-washed color scheme make it tough on the eyes, looking like a blueprint for a future game. Infinity Danger is that game. The ship pieces are highly detailed, outfitted with recognizable missile launchers and turrets which track and attack the player. Each weapon can be destroyed apart from the segment to which it's attached, and the watching these mechanical monstrosities move about the screen assailing the player is quite the spectacle. I do miss how the bosses still resembled spacecrafts in Warning Forever; the bosses of Infinity Danger look more akin to giant metal octopuses, reaching out with its ever lengthening tentacles with each passing wave. The player ship itself looks nice as well but is an unremarkable design looking a bit like an A-wing, and these fights occur inside a small walled off area featuring invisible barriers which only appear as the player nears the edge. The ground below scrolls vertically which seems odd given the cage match nature of the game, but it nonetheless looks gorgeous, including cityscapes, farmland, and forests which are randomly chosen as the backdrop for the action. While certain aesthetic decisions can annoy at times, particularly the way the impressive explosion of the core completely obscure the screen making it difficult for players to evade any last minute enemy shots, there's no questioning that Infinity Danger is a great looking game, more so when considering everything going on as the enemies become more and more complex and flood the screen with firepower.

The core idea behind Warning Forever is that the enemy evolves to counter the player, and the same applies to Infinity Danger. The enemy will upgrade itself among four categories -- mobility, armor, turret, and shot -- and then further adjust its tactics by equipping seven different weapons, changing its name to reflect its primary configuration. Evolution 1, as the levels are called, pits the player against the CORE MENACE, a simple boss with four segments, each with two cannons to defend the core. Once defeated, the core will alter its shape and armament and call itself something like Laser Suppressor or Porcupine Interdictor, and this goes on conceivably forever until the player runs out of time. The goal of the game is to gain as high a score as possible before time runs out. Players begin the game with 150 seconds, and time is gained when a ship segment is destroyed with a large 20 second bonus allotted when the core is defeated. Death imposes a time penalty on the player, so while there are technically infinite lives, the timer imposes a limit on how many tries a player has to advance through the game.

Eventually, the bosses hog so much of the screen that death feels inevitable as later ship evolutions leave so little room to move. Later fights can feel cheap as the player racks up deaths since it becomes impossible to clear out some breathing room to dodge enemy fire thanks to the branching enemy design and claustrophobic arena. The "fat" player ship can be a bit off-putting given how vulnerable the large cockpit is to enemy fire compared to the modern shooter norm where only a few small pixels in the center take damage. Infinity Danger also leaves people in the dark when it comes to how to play the game, informing players only via a loading screen message that they can adjust the width of the ship's spread shot with the triggers, a pretty important ability which shouldn't be sequestered away like that. That said, these are all minor issues, mostly those which are inherent with the design of the game and understandable, but I still did find the the invisible barriers annoying after multiple plays since it stinks to think there was more room to move around and dodge shots than what the game allowed. Eventually players become accustomed to the arena's general size, but the fancy Holodeck style may look nice but isn't as immediate a visual indicarightas this sort of game really needs.

Aside from the nuisance of the temporary invisible barriers, Infinity Danger is a fantastic shooter which improves upon Warning Forever in every possible way. The twinstick shooting works far better than the somewhat clunky controls found in Warning Forever, and the graphics, music, and presentation are far superior. Infinity Danger thrives on its evolutionary foe and global scoreboards which promise new experiences and reasons to revisit the game again and again. Learning how to evolve along with the game, scanning for the greatest threats, taking them out, and whittling down these massive constructs is a real thrill, unique to it and its inspiration and an experience which should be in every shooter fan's library.

March 25, 2011
March 22, 2011 | 80 points
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