Preview by TigermacZ
The Gameboy series of handhelds has a storied history going over several iterations and evolutions over its lifetime from the Original Game Boy to Game Boy Color to its final evolution the Game Boy Advance. Infinity also has a storied history, originally in development for the Gameboy Colour in 1999 by Affinix software. It was caught out in the shift of Nintendo from the Game Boy Color to the Game Boy Advance. Development continued all the way up to 2001 when the game was sadly cancelled officially in 2002 and Affinix disbanded.
There was interest in the game in the years that followed and 15 years later an unfinished ROM of the game was released in 2016. Infinity was seen as the last Game Boy Color game that never was. Now, for its 20th anniversary members of the original team and others have teamed up to finish the game and finally give it the physical release its deserves. The Kickstarter for the game has started recently and has already smashed it’s goal of CAD$16,000 in its first day. There are a variety of stretch goals including being translated to different languages, posters, custom moulded Gameboy cartridges, even updated character sprites and environments. And possibly even getting famed video-game composer Yuzo Koshiro involved with the project by composing a track!
Infinity is a role playing game in the style of classic JRPGS, you start off as the character Connor, a former knight who was disgraced and betrayed… left broken by the death of his wife and coerced back into action. As nations fuelled by bitterness and hatred the flames of war are being fanned by a nameless evil while an agent provocateur arms both sides with weapons of power. But over the course if your journey there are a variety of different characters you will meet with different skill sets. Ryan the mercenary skilled in using the Bow, Eyla the Magi Spellcaster skilled with magic and the Staff, Victor cursed with lycanthropy turns into a werewolf to attack with his claws but also uses his skills as a guide and Roland a man who has a lot of animosity towards Connor for what transpired in the past wields a broadsword.
The graphics remind me of the games like Dragon Quest, Zelda and Final Fantasy or other games from that era. You have to remember this isn’t a modern game with retro graphics, this is a game originally developed for the hardware at the time. There are nice graphical flourishes which pushes the Game Boy Color hardware. The pixel art by Melvin de Voor and Hideaki Omuro really holds up. There are plans, if stretch goals are met, with the Kickstarter that the character sprites and world graphics will get some modernisation. Also talented illustrator Benoît Tranchet, a newcomer to the team, is working on the character illustrations and to translate the pixel art into hand drawn illustrations reminiscent of the golden age of JRPGS.
The battle system is turned based but it has its own take on what to do as there’s a tactical element to the combat. Its like a game of chess where certain enemies will stay in place while others will move on their turn. You have to use an element of planning on whether its prudent in attacking a static enemy or moving position to get an advantage on the moving enemy. The Battle menu and movement system seems are configured on the different points of the d-pad and you can either select or cancel with the A and B buttons.
I found it a bit tricky to use when I first tried it out where I ended up using a special attack by accident in one battle. In another I got beaten when I was trying to figure out how to move. But after some practice you end up getting a feel for the combat but it feels interesting compared to the standard turn based fare of other games.
The music and sound effects by Eric Hache and Mathew Valente, for the most part, are taken from when the game was originally in development. Now they are back to finish what they started and also give it the polish the game deserves. Incube8 is behind the Kickstarter and have licenced the rights to the game. Also, the funds will go to pay for the work that was previously done to the game but also manufacturing physical releases and bonuses. Due to recent upgrades in technology the cartridges will have non volatile save functionality which which means you don’t have to worry about the saves being erased. The upcoming release of the game is a return to the golden age of portable RPGs. And maybe with a few quality of life improvements, for example with the speed of the text scrolling, would help improve the pacing a bit.
But I am really looking forward to it and would love to see the game when its finally finished as it has the potential to be a really interesting and engrossing game. I hope for those of you who are interested back the project or at least look through it to come up with your own decision.