Sunday, 9 May 2010

XBIR: 3D Infinity

Whilst a ship flies through a series of tunnels, we move it on a 2D plane, avoiding hazards and shooting enemies for points.

Focus. There's something lovely about a game that only has one play mode; only one level. Given the score-based nature and the memorisation required, a single level - which you will be replaying the first few minutes of repeatedly, learning the best paths and constantly beating your high score - works far better than having multiple.

Lack of a decent high-score table. 10 lines, showing your previous bests. Is that so much to ask?
I found the signalling (of what would hurt you and which part of the screen it would end up) really poor. Given the constant 'camera' twists and turns, the only way to know which orientation you will reach a pole at is to either predict the camera correctly or to memorise it based on past failures. 2-3 minutes in, a blue 'E' appears that I failed to pick up on 3 attempts, certain I passed straight through it. On the 4th I miraculously picked it up. You can't move around the periphery of the screen and when combined with the camera movements, there are a few times when it's unclear whether we must pass over or under an obstacle.

The game is entertaining and contains some visceral thrills. When playing though, I feel like I'm constantly getting annoyed at it. Though the constant twists etc. add some graphical excitement, in the end I feel they detract from the game.

Pauses in the action can work as well as pauses between notes in music. There are some tunnels devoid of action that last a few seconds. Though initially annoyed at this, I now think that they add to the fun - offering a valuable respite and avoiding overloading.

I suppose a straight on a racing track is much the same, in a way.

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