Review: Big Sky Infinity
From the outside Big Sky Infinity might look like any other side-scrolling twin-stick shooter that’s been released on PSN or any other download service. The game controls just as you’d expect it to with the left analog stick controlling movement and the right controlling your lasers. Once you begin to dig into Big Sky Infinity however you’ll see that’s where the similarities end. The game puts a major focus on randomly generated levels as well as fluctuating difficulty curves. On top of that you’ll find several gameplay modes to try out and plenty of upgrades to purchase for your ship. Big Sky Infinity comes with a lot of content and will require a hefty amount of playtime to “see everything” but, for whatever reason, it just never really clicked with me.
Big Sky Infinity aims to ensure that every time you play the game you’re going to get something a little bit different. Maybe you’ll find an immediate jump in difficulty right off the bat while sometimes you might find the difficulty curve to be a little more steady. Maybe you’ll find yourself up against a boss at the start of a level or perhaps you’ll be drilling through planets and asteroids to start. Everything is randomly generated and the game’s difficulty curve (which will be shown to you at the game over screen) will fluctuate depending on how well you’re doing. The game tends to be separated into segments to hit in random order. You’ll have a boss segment, a foggy segment requiring you to fly through gates, a segment for drilling through planets and of course segments with waves of enemies flying at you. Bosses usually appear once each stage and moving forward stages will result in the difficulty increasing among other things. Although honestly you probably won’t notice if you’ve crossed into the next stage. The only indication is a white dot that travels across the screen between checkered lines.
As you destroy enemies you’ll collect Starbits. Starbits can be used to upgrade various parts of your ship. There’s twelve upgradeable sections that will require a very large amount of Starbits to max out. To put it into perspective the game offers DLC for $0.99 that will grant you 300,000 Starbits. All of that will be about enough to max out just one of the twelve upgradeable slots for your ship. Depending on how well you do you’ll probably get a few thousand Starbits each time you play the game. So, as you can imagine, it’ll take some time to max out your stats. And for the record it’s required that you max out at least one of those stats to unlock a game mode. All of that said though I do like that you can upgrade your ship over time. However I do wish that the progression was maybe a little more prominent. Perhaps it’s just me but even after spending a lot of Starbits on upgrades I don’t feel like I really noticed a huge difference.
Big Sky Infinity starts you out with Classic Mode, which you’ll likely spend the most time playing, and then slowly begins to unlock other modes such as Peaceful, Pacifism, Nightmare, Hell, Naked, Remix, Marathon and a few others. Pacifism disables your ability to fire lasers at enemies while Naked disables any form of upgrades you might receive throughout the level. Nightmare is turned up to the max difficulty at all times and Peaceful allows for endless play without keeping tally on a score. Whereas the PS3 version of the game features up to four player cooperative play locally the Vita version offers an exclusive “Horse” mode. In it players choose a word and challenge another player asynchronously. One player will offer up a high score to beat and the other will attempt to score higher. The loser of each round gains a letter until ultimately spelling out the chosen word.
Objectively I look at Big Sky Infinity and I can totally understand why people would like it. Unfortunately the game just never really clicked with me. In a way I think it all starts with the announcer. The announcer is about as out of place as you can possibly get. Alongside a really great soundtrack you have a guy repeatedly shouting what feels like about a handful of different nerdy-jokes. There’s references to barrel rolls and all sorts of nerdy in-jokes. At first I found myself wanting to love the announcer ironically but after starting out the level of “DO A BARREL ROLL” for the tenth time in about thirty minutes I just couldn’t take it anymore. Luckily you’re given the option to turn him off and you quickly forget that he’s even part of the game.
Big Sky Infinity also features “events”. Events are sections of the game in which everything randomly starts changing colors and all sorts of crazy color shifting madness takes place. It’s in these moments as well as the game’s bullet-hell moments in which things become almost too much. It’s incredibly easy to lose track of your ship or just to lose track of what’s actually going on. In one event all of the objects in the game turn black making it nearly impossible to tell what’s an enemy bullet and what’s not. Just as well there are some events that greatly slow down the game in a way that I THINK might be on purpose. If it is on purpose just consider me not a fan of that choice at all.
I’ll be honest I hardly ever really look to do any sort of high score chasing. It has to be a game that I really love and that I’m really good at for me to put in the time to start chasing the scores of my friends or other random players. So in that this isn’t really a huge deal to me but I guess it’s kind of strange to think about high score comparisons when theoretically everyone is playing through something different. As in no one is going to be playing the same level therefore the high score table lacks a common ground. Perhaps there’s something in the background that accounts for this in which there really is no way to tell. It’s not something that really bugs me at all but it is kind of weird I suppose.
Big Sky Infinity isn’t a bad game and I have a feeling a lot of people will probably like it. Heck the game has been out for over a week I’m sure there’s plenty of people that are enjoying it. Things just didn’t really click with me and perhaps, despite the focus on randomly generated levels, I still just couldn’t get past the fact that I’m still just playing a side scrolling shooter. In the same fashion as games like Beat Hazard I do really like how crazy the game can get at times but the issue, at least with Big Sky Infinity, is that I have trouble keeping track of things. Whereas I felt in other similar games I didn’t have that issue. That said the game isn’t broken or anything like that and most of the problems I have aren’t really enough to totally ruin the experience. Besides, since the game supports #YOPO, it might be something worth picking up for your Vita over the Holidays.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Randomly generated levels
- Lots of game modes
- Ship upgrades
- I'm a fan of flashing colors and on screen insanity.
- Trophy progression meters in-game.
What I Dislike:
- Easy to lose track of your ship
- Out of place announcer
- Events are cool but usually cause slowdown and make things too hectic.
- Despite having loads of content I just didn't really enjoy myself.