Imagine the pitch meeting for Wales Interactive’s game Infinity Runner – Unleash the Beast. “So what if we took Mirror’s Edge, turned it into an endless runner, set it on a 150-mile-long spaceship that’s falling apart… and made the player character a werewolf?“
I discovered this game via the Twitter account of the excellent Howl Out Cast podcast and immediately absorbed its trailer and press kit. I came away keenly interested in playing it, but also slightly baffled. The press kit lists the game’s core features as all-caps bullet points:
- WEREWOLVES IN SPACE!
- 14 ACTION PACKED LEVELS
- STORY & ARCADE MODE
- NEW STYLISED VISUALS
- WOLF LEVELLING SYSTEM
- MULTIPLAYER MODE WITH UP TO 32 PLAYERS
- OCULUS RIFT MODE – VR SUPPORT
I like lists when they contain a lot of fun terms. “Werewolves in space!” Yes, good, that sounds like an excellent reason for a “Wolf Levelling System”. Also, the Oculus Rift mode (DK2 support coming April 2015) and multiplayer support are both cool on their own, and imagine combining the two in a scenario I have no choice but to call Very Fast Werewolf Riot (VFWR). Overall, this list is giving me a lot of reasons to like Infinity Runner, but beware: I think there’s an imposter bullet point in there. I’ll break it down with a list of my own.
- GOOD: The premise is absurd and rad (my mental shorthand for it is “fast Event Horizon with werewolves”).
- GOOD: The developer has received a whole pile of industry awards.
- GOOD: They’ve released (or plan to release) Infinity Runner for pretty much every modern gaming platform that can handle quick / precise controller input.
- GOOD: Most importantly, the game looks fun. Like, a lot of fun.
- NOT GOOD: The game also looks like it came out five years ago. “New Stylised Visuals” or not.
Is it an art direction decision that just isn’t clicking with me? Or maybe it’s a limitation imposed by the graphics engine ninjutsu necessary to make the same game run on six platforms. I’m out of my element here, I’ll admit it. My knowledge of game development began with Forge in 1996 and ended with Hammer in 2002. I just can’t help but wish the graphics had a slightly more animated aesthetic to match the insane premise, instead of the grim and dirty space-horror vibe.
I’ll reserve further judgement until I’ve actually obtained and played the game, which will be exceedingly easy to do. It’s available now in the Windows Store (where it has 4 stars and a demo), the Mac App Store and Steam (Windows, OS X and Linux). PS4 and Xbox One versions are out April 22nd, and a Wii U version is planned but with no date given yet.
For more details (including some werewolf screenshots), here’s a selection of the press kit.
The Infinity is the largest spaceship ever built by mankind; flung into the void of space to secure humanity a new home amongst the stars. However, instead of discovering paradise, the inhabitants of The Infinity unlocked the door to a long forgotten nightmare.
Infinity Runner centres on a prisoner desperately trying to escape the decaying ship and the clutches of the terror within. Deep inside this leviathan something terrible hunts, out of myth and legend the last werewolf stalks the ship. The game supports the latest virtual reality technology as well as having multiplayer support which enables up to 32 people to play head to head.