- Developer: Mistfly Games
- Publisher: Blowfish Studios
- Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Release Date: August 16, 2019
- Price: $19.99
- Review Code Provided: Yes, by Mistfly Games
Subdivision Infinity DX is described by the developer as an immersive and pulse pounding, next-gen sci-fi 3D space shooter, boasting more than 30 engaging story missions and side-quests spanning several solar systems. Though the game can be fun at times, I would urge anyone getting into this game to temper their expectations and they may still have some fun with it.
I should start this review off by saying a few things. Subdivision Infinity DX is a fun game, for what is there. It feels like, plays like and at times looks like a mobile port, because it is, but it has some decent gameplay and some cool environments. The game started as Subdivision Infinity (no DX) on ios and app stores, under a different developer. This new and shiny upgraded version was developed by Mistfly games, and published by Blowfish Studios. It’s apparent they have done some work to bring the game to consoles and have it compete with other dogfight-centric games, but there are many mobile design choices that were left in.
This is the main menu screen for the game, and really the first thing you see. It sets the tone for what is found later in the game, as there is not a lot of content there, and it felt very abrupt and lackluster after the publisher’s loading graphic and consequent screens. I’m not expecting a large scale anime opening or quick shots of heated in-game combat, but I was expecting a little more life and movement. It is just an somewhat static and blurry background image with a menu interface to choose between playing the game, options, and credits only.
To that point, there are no extra game modes, just the main game itself. There is no real tutorial to speak of, which is refreshing in a way, but even then it is really bare bones. You are guided very briefly through the flight controls and then thrown into the story. This starts off interestingly enough with you flying your ship out of a doc and into space to take on the baddies. You are introduced through a briefing note as a contractor named Rebel-1 who has been hired to check out a distress call. The camera zooms out of the cockpit, showing the HUD and your ship, letting you move ever so slightly before a static 2D pic of the protagonist, Rebel-1, pauses all the action and thus the bulk of the storytelling is revealed. There is no easy way around this, the storytelling in the game is bad if only because it is presented like any other space warfare mobile game on the market. Two unblinking character portraits framing the screen, and reams of text to read. No voice acting, no interesting music for moody moments, just faces and text.
Now, all that being said, once you start playing the main portion of the game, it is quite fun. There are weird choices like mapping the boost button to L3 forcing a very uncomfortable grip in tense battles, no checkpoints in any level whether short or long, no countermeasures for missiles, and a roll mechanic that is neither a proper roll, or mapped conveniently. I should also mention that the roll is never mentioned in the tutorial, and I only found out about it very late in the game in the controls section of the pause menu. The roll is very slow, and seems to be only there to right your ship if the view makes you uncomfortable, which really suits no purpose in the game as you are always free flying in a field of asteroids or floating structures with no real discernible up or down. It is also mapped to left and right on the directional pad. You cannot change this, or any other control option, but that is okay, as it doesn’t do much anyway.
Once you get past the weird choices and actually start shooting down some enemy ships, the game can be quite fun. In fact, one mobile design choice that was left in that I appreciated was some fairly liberal automatic aiming. Since much of the game is spent boosting, strafing and turning your ship 180 degrees to follow enemies and shoot them down before their shields recharge, aiming properly would prove very difficult. You still need to aim around the general area of the enemy craft, but the targeting reticle will “snap” into place and let you unleash your wrath. The levels start off very short, with only a meager amount of easily vanquished enemies, but do get longer and more difficult as the game progresses. My favourite missions tasked me with taking out large battleships with mounted weaponry and multiple drone ships to distract and damage you. These levels were never truly difficult, with the difficulty only represented by more enemies on screen instead of challenging mechanics or harder enemies, but they were a lot of fun nonetheless. They also presented some of the prettier aspects of this game through exploding ships, floating debris, and lens flares from a neighbouring celestial body.
This is where all my positive comments end though, as those moments are really great, but there aren’t many of them, and no real reason to continue playing beyond the drive of a completionist. I may return to the game to try and fill out the easy trophy list, but it really isn’t a priority.
Sadly, everything good is marred by the shadow of its formal mobile self. Menu option buttons such as Start Mission or Craft Ship are presented as large, seemingly selectable graphics but are instead mapped to the square button and noted in very small text at the bottom of the screen, demonstrating that these larger useless buttons were a remnant of touch controls. When flying to a way point you may happen across an enemy, start battling briefly when story text pops up, pauses all action, sound and music to have the protagonist ask his AI companion to scan the area for hostiles. Upgrades are presented as a menu, and left there to die. There is literally no need to go explore or grind further for new weapons or components for rare crafts. The starter ship and weapons will get you at least halfway through the campaign with cheap easy upgrades, and a few new weapons after this will get you the rest of the way with some smart flying. Lighting effects are gorgeous and come up often, but the environments are repetitive in their component pieces, and rarely add anything truly new beyond some different colour palettes. Your primary ship and some of the other ship options look pretty cool, but I could not tell you about any of the enemy ships, as there appeared to only be about 5 types, and the smaller more agile ships (which are the main enemy) are always too far away to show any detail.
As much as I may have found some parts of this game annoying or dated, the game was pretty fun at times. When you take the price point into consideration, the game could provide a few hours of fun for those that dig space warfare. Keep in mind, there are only 5 worlds with 5 story and 2 exploration levels a piece, and the exploration levels are not all that interesting. All in all Subdivision Infinity DX could scratch and itch for those that don’t want to spend much.