What do you do when an evil empire has kidnapped your sister? Fight your way through their forces to get her back, of course! In Infinite: Beyond the Mind you run, slash, and parkour your way through a slew of old-school retro styled 2-D levels, slashing at baddies and jumping up walls. Short, sweet, and co-op mode available, it’s a nice little throwback to the older days of side scrolling platformers.
Choosing either Olga or Tanya in a single player mode, or assigning both to a controller in co-op, you will begin your crusade against the militaristic Empire led by Evangalyn Bramann. Infinite plays like many a retro platformer, allowing you some movement abilities and a sword to slash at your foes. You also earn upgrades every few stages, either enhancing your mobility or your ability to dispatch foes. You have a dodge which grants invincibility, and a stamina bar that you need to pay attention to, as dodging costs stamina. Throughout stages you can find and pick up items, most of which will be healing or 1-ups, but you might be able to find the rare “max health increase” items.
Stages are generally split into 3 sections, two general sections and a boss at the end, although this does get changed up every few stages. Each transitions constitute a sort of checkpoint, where if you die in that section you need to restart it. If you lose all your lives, then you need to restart the whole area from the beginning. On the plus side, there are no game-overs per se, and you can save between stages, making it nice to pick up a few a stage or two while you’ve got some spare time you don’t know what to do with. As stages generally don’t take too long, they tend not to overstay their welcome, and are pretty different from the previous stages. The bosses and stages are also pretty fun. Except the elevator. Second worst elevator sequence I’ve ever experienced. That being said, apart from how infuriatingly finicky ladders can be to actually interact with, I had a lot of fun with the game.
The soundtrack and visuals also offer a nice package. A lot of the time for these style games, I find there’s always that one level that you get stuck on, and the background music is so awful you start to taste purple. Thankfully Infinite: Beyond the Mind not only has a rather solid soundtrack that compliments the stages nicely, it also presents some fine background drops while cleaning out the ungodly amount of soldiers the empire has managed to scrounge up. The pixel style graphics really work to give it that retro feel, without actually detracting from the game. While pretty much every unit looks almost identical, at least they are generally easy to spot, unless they wear the camp suits.
Boss fights are pretty unique, ranging from a standard hack and slash, to a mini bullet hell, to something I’d expect out of Iconoclasts. If nothing else, there’s a lot of variety, and with a co-op mode and three difficulties, this is a nice game to snag a friend for, not that you’ll probably be able to do that at the moment. The ability to save between stages is also a great decision, as it makes it easier to pick up on the go, and easy to put down for a bit if you start to get frustrated.
While the length of the game may be on the shorter side, and ladders can all go explode for how unhelpful they were, there were the occasional moments of frustration whether it be from walls that aren’t actually scalable or enemy vehicles flying in from off-screen, the annoyances tended to do very little to detract from the game as a whole though.