|Designer(s)||Hifumi Kono (director, scenario)
Atsushi Inaba (producer)
Masafumi Nukita (designer, plot)
Studio Nue (supervisor)
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game,
Real-time strategy RPG
Infinite Space (Japanese: 無限航路 Hepburn: Mugen Kōro?), initially announced as Infinite Line, is a science fiction role-playing video game with space simulation and real-time strategy RPG elements, developed by Nude Maker and Platinum Games for the Nintendo DS. It was the third of a four game publishing deal with Sega. It was released in Japan on June 11, 2009, North America on March 16, 2010, and Europe on March 26, 2010.
Infinite Space is a science fiction role-playing video game that allows the player to design and control a spaceship. The player can customize the ship with over 150 different design models, along with over 150 possible crewmembers. After customizing a ship, the player can explore an expansive game world with a story spanning two galaxies. Characters seen in the game are displayed in 2D, while ships, exploration, and battles are in 3D.
The entire game is controlled by the touchscreen. Neither characters nor spacecraft are controlled directly, but rather, are controlled in a "point and click" type manner. Travel is done by first choosing a destination, then engaging the engines to move towards that destination. Spaceship battles occur in real-time, with attacks utilizing a "command gauge" feature. As the command gauge builds up, the player can use it to perform attacks against an enemy ship. The rate at which the command gauge fills depends on the type of ship, and the crew of the ship.
When the player boards an enemy ship, the player takes control of their character to move through the ship. Characters aren't moved directly, but rather by selecting commands, such as "move right". Melee battles are fought too, using a system similar to "rock, paper, scissors", and a command gauge that is similar to the one used in spaceship battles.
Multiplayer spaceship battles are also available for two-players to play competitively over local Wi-Fi. The game also features a non-linear branching narrative, with numerous choices that can have dramatic consequences. The game needs to be played multiple times in order to see the different possible paths in the narrative, which is helped by a New Game+ mode that is unlocked after completing the game for the first time.
Infinite Space contains themes from the novel Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. The plot is divided into two main storylines; both are centered around Yuri, a starship captain-in-training, and take place ten years apart.
The game is set tens of thousands of years in the future, when humankind has spread across several galaxies. While faster-than-light travel using "inflation inverter" engines is the standard for all spaceships, ancient constructs called Void Gates are necessary to travel wider distances that would still take years to cross. Ruined, inactive Void Gates called Dead Gates can also be found, but are seen as nothing more than scientific curiosities. Infinite Space focuses on Yuri's quest to discover the ultimate purpose of the Epitaphs, artifacts scattered throughout the universe.
Most of the game takes place in two galaxies: the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Large Magellanic Cloud. In the first part of the game, which takes place in the SMC, Yuri becomes aware of the Lugovalian Empire, a very large and powerful intergalactic empire, which is ruled by an iron fist by Emperor Taranis. Learning of their desire to conquer the SMC, Yuri tries to coordinate the galaxy's forces for a defense, but they quickly fall to the Lugovalian threat. In the second part of the game, or ten years after the fall of the SMC, Yuri again tries to coordinate the defenses of the LMC amidst an impending Lugovalian invasion.
Reception for the game has been generally positive. Japan's Famitsu magazine rated it 9/9/8/8 for a total of 34 points, earning it a Gold award. Famitsu applauded the large volume of the game, along with its extensive customization and intricate story. While some famitsu reviewers liked this, others were overwhelmed by the amount of detail, and the steep learning curve.
Among Western critics, Infinite Space reveived aggregate ratings of 78 out of 100 on Metacritic, and 76.24% on GameRankings. IGN gave it a score of 7 out of 10, stating that the game had an "epic story", but that the steep learning curve and clunky interface would test player's patience in being able to get to the good parts of it. GamesRadar had a similar view, praising the multifaceted story, but complaining about interface problems, such as how the player can customize the ship, but cannot directly see how different parts affect the ships statistics while actually doing the building itself. Overall, GamesRadar gave it a score of 9 out of 10, concluding that what it "lacks in the soft approachability of a Pokémon or Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, it makes up for in bombastic scale and mettle. Hundreds of planets. Hundreds of interesting, fully formed characters. Hundreds of lasers, mess halls and intergalactic toilets to equip. Infinite Space feels like proper grown-up gaming and a proper grown-up journey. Our hero grows from boy to man[sic], and the DS matures with him."
RPGFan gave it a glowing review, giving it a 92% score, and stating, "There truly is a grand sense of time and space in this game; it is a long story told across multiple galaxies and dozens of star systems. It is that rare RPG that genuinely makes you feel like the fate of the whole universe is at stake and is actually worthy of its grandiose name. Easily on par with anything you'll find in Xenosaga or Mass Effect, this is not just good science fiction, but a space opera for the ages." RPGamer gave it a score of 4 out of 5, noting that the "narrative features numerous choices to make, some of which have dramatic consequences," and concluding that "the game's battles are entertaining, the story is one of the most gripping in video games, the subject matter is unique, and the rewards for exploration and customization are plentiful. These qualities are plenty to make it one of the DS's top RPGs."
During the first week following its release in Japan, Infinite Space sold 38,000 units and was the highest selling game in Japan during that period. Sales tracking company Media Create predicted that the game would have a 92% sell-through rate, indicating that it could continue to perform well on the market.
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