Infinite Abyss, the first game released by Seven Arm Octopus, is all about collecting resources, shooting aliens and trying not to die. As of the time of this review, Infinite Abyss doesn’t really have a story, or an ending. It’s all about the experience, which does not help the game too much, because I almost quit the experience several times, but I hammered on for the sake of this review. While I wouldn’t say that Infinite Abyss is a bad game, Seven Arm Octopus made several decisions that really hurt how fun the game could have been.
Infinite Abyss can be purchased on Steam for your regional pricing.
Core Gameplay: At the Heart of Infinite Abyss
Infinite Abyss is, at its heart, a 2D side-scroller shooter. When you start the game, you are dropped on a planet that seems barren, if it weren’t for the trees. You must set out across the surface, either left or right, in an attempt to find crates of scrap and power. Once you find a location that has a decent amount of crates lying around, you create your base for free, then you must move the crates to the base to collect them. This was the first problem I had with the game. You can only move one crate at a time, either by pushing, kicking, or hitting it with your hammer. All three of these options are extremely slow, with simply pushing the crate being the least frustrating way to proceed, only using kicks or the hammer to get your chosen crate past other crates.
Soon enough, the UFO will come visit the planet, flying around and dropping enemies to hamper your collection efforts. The combat is relatively fast paced, fueled by your jetpack and slowed down only by your character’s ability to slow time, which is active for several seconds, allowing you to attempt to dodge bullets and line up your shot. You start the game with a pistol, which is more than enough to destroy the flying drones that the game sends at you in the beginning. But soon enough, you must face off against soldiers with different weapons. The most dangerous of which is the shotgun wielders, which have killed me in one shot more times than I’d like to mention. This brings me to another minor problem I had with the game. The enemies know where you are at all times. I have been shot and killed from offscreen, before even knowing that an enemy was present, many, many times.
Ammo in Infinite Abyss is unlimited, so you will always have the ability to take out your enemies. However, each time you die, you lose 15% of your resources. Because of this, and because your health is fairly limited, with no way to improve it, death is fairly common. I often found myself losing all of my resources simply trying to defend my robots, failing, and then taking out the enemies before building more.
Once you’ve collected enough power, you can build one of three buildings. The best bet, in my opinion, is to start with the robot point, which allows you to spend scrap to build robots. These robots will set out to collect crates, moving them much faster than you can; repair vehicles, and they can even fight enemies. However, their aim is awful, and I’ve watched them completely ignore enemies, seemingly for no reason, unless they really wanted to die. There are four robots that have varying costs and stats. The cheapest one, for 100 scrap, does the job just fine; however the best robot, which costs 1000 scrap, is practically a powerhouse.
The other two starting buildings are the research laboratory and the garage. The garage allows you to create three vehicles with scrap that are powered by energy. The first is a cargo hauler that can carry one crate at a time and moves very quickly. This was easily the best one. The other two are for combat, the cheaper one having a machine gun, and the more expensive one, which is literally a cannon with wheels and turbo thrusters. These were fun to tool around in for a while, but their health is pitiful. The second I got into a real fight, they died from a couple of missiles. This brings me to another problem I had with the game. The enemies will attack your vehicles and robots, in fact they seem drawn to them, even if you’re there. They will even attack them when you’re off screen. This was so frustrating that I stopped making vehicles after a certain point.
The research laboratory is the building that is required to actually progress in the game. As you kill enemies, you gain experience, which is spent at the laboratory for upgrades. There are two other guns, an assault rifle and a shotgun, that you can unlock. They are both useful, but the shotgun, though very powerful, is only good at close range, and its rate of fire makes the assault rifle better against enemy vehicles.
There are also six more vehicles that you can unlock, purchased in two tiers with three vehicles each. The first tier unlocks a larger, more durable transport that can carry four crates, a fast moving vehicle with legs and a rocket cannon, and the Minelayer, a ship that can lay mines as you fly around the planet. The second tier unlocks the Electrotank, a heavy duty tank with a powerful gun that creates a large area of effect, a mech, and the dragonfly, a flying ship that can fire a hail of laser missiles. Other unlocks, such as power generation, defenses and planetary research are extremely helpful. The power generation is a must have as the crates on the planet do not respawn, and the enemies only drop scrap.
That’s pretty much the whole game. As I stated before, there is no end to the game; you just farm resources to unlock new ways to farm resources and fight the enemy. Destroying the UFO doesn’t do much, besides give you about a minute of a reprieve, and there is no way off the planet.
Graphics and Sound: What You See and Hear
The graphics to the game are pleasant to look at. Character models and buildings have a decent amount of detail, and the colors of space make up for the browns and grays of the planet. Everything is distinct, so it’s easy to make out what you’re shooting at, assuming it’s onscreen. Even the bullets and missiles are easy to track. However, every time you are hit, a bullet hole appears onscreen, which is never something I’ve enjoyed. It clutters the screen and makes combat harder.
The music is also pretty good. It adds a nice sense of ambience to the whole experience. The sounds are crisp, but the same bullet noise happening a few thousand times gets very repetitive.
I reviewed Infinite Abyss for the PC using Steam, with a review key from Seven Arm Octopus.