Big Sky Infinity review
- Posted December 10th, 2012 at 07:56 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Intense and challenging with addictive upgrade system, Big Sky Infinity has that one-more-go appeal.
- Great depth with the upgrade system
- Addictive and fast-paced arcade shoot 'em up gameplay
- Asynchronous multiplayer allows for lots of challenge options and increases replay value greatly
- Repetitive audio, level design and enemies - the result of randomly-generated missions
- Lacks the creativity in terms of enemy and boss design as some of the top twin-stick shooters
Available exclusively on PSN as part of the cross-buy initiative that offers gamers both the PS3 and PS Vita versions for one price, Big Sky Infinity is Boss Baddie studios evolution of its original PC-based twin-stick shooter Big Sky and its subsequent sequel Really Big Sky. With Voofoo Studios of Hustle Kings and Pure Chess fame also aiding development, Big Sky Infinity builds on the foundation of the previous games by combining frenetic space-based shoot ‘em up action with an ultra-competitive community arena, as well as a clever and addictive levelling system that has kept us coming back for more.
Big Sky Infinity is typical of the twin-stick shooters which have been doing the rounds on various platforms, piers and arcades for many years. Action takes place in outer-space and players move their small spaceship freely anywhere on screen with the left analogue stick. The right analogue stick is used to control the angle of the ship’s lasers with the freedom given to move its trajectory 360 degrees, while the ‘X’ button, or right bumper, is used to drill through planets and trigger spin attacks. The screen scrolls from left to right and the action is unrelenting as an increasing amount of enemies and laser-fire fills the screen.
What is quite unusual is that there are no levels as such. In the game’s Classic Mode, you simply need to try and progress for as long as possible, shooting down a variety of alien craft in an attempt to rack up the highest score, beat your personal best and improve your position on the global online leaderboards. Gameplay is procedurally generated and alters dynamically depending on your skills. If you’re doing well for example, the A.I. gets tougher and more enemies are thrown at you. Consequently, Big Sky Infinity is a tough, challenging game and having played over 50 rounds so far, we’ve barely lasted more than a couple of minutes in each session. However, the beauty of being challenged in such a way is that you do feel like you’re progressing and getting better on each turn and feel compelled to keep trying.
This is largely due to the clever levelling system that is implemented in Classic Mode. You level up through gaining points, but you also get access to a wide range of upgrades by collecting starbits. Starbits are essentially the game’s currency and can be collected by passing through starbit gates and blasting enemies to bits. Before each game in Classic Mode, you get to spend those starbits on improving your craft. Among the upgrades available, you can increase the size and range of your shield, improve the power of your lasers or the speed of your ship. There’s a lot of upgrades available and it looks like it’s going to take some time to fully level-up each stat. Indeed, part of the game’s appeal is watching your craft grow stronger and seeing how these upgrades help your progression in-game.
There’s a decent range of enemies and bosses too with the likes of homers that annoyingly follow you around until you kill them and splitters that explode and multiply. There’s also enemies that can be used to your advantage, such as the boomers who shy away from laser fire and then explode killing everything around them. Though the variety of enemy types and missiles creates a visually impressive and intense shoot ‘em up experience, all you’re really tasked with is trying to move out the way of projectiles and aiming your laser at anything that pops up on screen. In that respect, gameplay does get a little repetitive, and without levels to break things up you’re often fighting against the same enemies across the same backdrops over and over again.
Nonetheless, having to keep an eye out for planets and asteroids, using the ‘X’ button to drill through them, adds an extra dimension to the gameplay, as does the ability to detonate claymores with a tap of the back touchscreen or spinning your craft to smash enemies to smithereens when things get really tough. The fact that you can only spin your craft up to four times in each round also adds an element of strategy. One of the most enjoyable moments in game is triggering the spin attack ... (continued on next page)
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