Infinite – Beyond the Mind is described by the official Nintendo Switch site as a slick 2D action-platformer. The developer, Emilie Coyo, has also noted in a press release that the game is a “love letter to the classic action games and platformers” that she played, and loved while growing up. This is very much something that you will notice when playing. The game revolves around a clash between Queen Evangelyn Bramann, the leader of the Beljantaur Kingdom and the two protagonists, Tanya and Olga.
Having said that, I’m still not entirely clear on the details of the story. There isn’t really much material to go off, just short snippets of dialogue and scenes here and there. There is an interesting moment near the end of the game where you get a choice between two actions in the story, and yet the actual choice is presented in a way that isn’t particularly clear. By the time I finished the game I was curious, but also quite confused. This could be deliberate — I get the sense that the developer favors more of a ‘show, don’t tell’ style, but in this case the game really would benefit from more fleshing out. When we do start to get a bit more information (a scene with the Queen right at the end) it’s handled well and comes across as suitably intriguing.
The gameplay, alternatively, is much more polished. I was surprised at how much it engaged me, actually — even when I sat down for a short session it would end up turning into a significantly longer one. You choose between playing as Tanya or Olga, but as far as I can tell they both play in the same way. As I noted earlier, the official description mentions the word “slick,” and that is accurate. Movement feels good and has a sharpness to it. (I should note that I used the D-pad, but the analog stick can also be used here.)
The B button allows you to jump, and tapping it twice will result in a double jump. The Y button unleashes your attacks, some sort of sword strikes that can be executed in a flurry if you keep tapping the button. Attacking while double jumping will let you use a neat somersault slash technique that offers more power than the standard attack.
The A button allows you to dash, becoming temporarily invulnerable and sliding through any enemy ahead, but the dash cannot be used excessively — you have to let it recharge after a couple of times in a row. If you wish you can also hold A down for a few seconds to call for some sort of explosive attack from above, but this is limited. There is also a wall climbing technique you can use by repeatedly pressing the jump button while running into the nearest wall.
There are a few points in Infinite – Beyond the Mind where the gameplay style changes significantly, and you find yourself flying through the sky or space while using a laser against enemies flying toward you. It’s not quite as fun as the normal style, where you feel more agile and free, but it’s a neat addition to the game, and you can even charge and unleash a powerful laser beam that demolishes most targets easily.
The game thankfully offers different difficulty modes and, for players such as myself who aren’t exactly great at platformers, this was very appreciated. Even the easy mode can be tricky near the end of the game, though, and one boss was especially irritating to beat.
One thing that may test your patience is that, once you run out of lives, you must begin at the first level of the current stage you’re on. For example, if you die while on level two of the fifth stage, and you have no more lives left, you start again from level one of the fifth stage. Considering how Infinite – Beyond the Mind, had a playtime of around five hours, in my case, this isn’t really much of a setback. There is also a co-op mode if you want to play with a partner.
The cover art of the game was something that grabbed my attention with its character designs, and the visuals while I played the game continually surprised me at how atmospheric they could be. You find yourself battling on a bridge during a night with a full moon in the background, or standing on top of a speeding train set against a green-tinted landscape. The soundtrack by Defense Mechanism is similarly accomplished to the point that, even hours after playing I can still hear one track repeating in my head while I write this. The music even made the credits enjoyable to sit through.
Infinite – Beyond the Mind is an entertaining, short game with a strong approach to gameplay, visuals and sound. The unfortunate stumble here is in the story, which feels like it has more to offer than what we were given; the bits that are there work well, so it’s a shame. Some may also feel that it’s a bit too short. That being said, I think most will be happy with this one — just don’t expect a lot of story material or playtime.