Big Sky Infinity. Hmm. I wonder what that title means. I mean, it takes place in space, not in the sky, so I'm not sure why that's there, but the 'Infinity' part would hint towards its outer space setting. Why am I wasting your time musing about a silly, inconsequential title when I should be focusing on the content of the game? Well, to be honest I'm kind of filling up time because Big Sky Infinity, while very fun, isn't really that substantial, and I could probably sum it up in three or four paragraphs, and I don't want to look like some sort of a hack.
Ah crap, I just wasted two minutes of your time. I am a hack! Fire me!
But in all seriousness, Big Sky Infinity is a cute, fun little procedurally generated sidescrolling twin stick shooter for the Playstation Vita; a title that makes great use of the hardware's increasingly impressive dual analog sticks but little else. There are a dozen different modes to play through and a full buffet of leaderboards and scoreboards to peruse, as well as an option to upgrade your ship to kick increasing amounts of ass. That's pretty much the extent of it, but every second of it is pretty awesome, from its sly English narrator to the mystery of wondering what boss the game will throw at you next, or whether you'll be lucky enough not to die in a black hole. The fact that it's procedurally generated, and the fact that upgrading your ship fully will take you forever, mask the game's lack of depth. The subtleties of the powerup system and the lack of outright explanation create an erratic learning curve.
Like any twin stick shooter, enemies attack in waves. There are obstacles to overcome, upgrades to acquire, and bosses to kill in a hectic, randomized quest for a top score. The left stick moves you around the screen, the right stick shoots, and the X or R button can be used to activate a drill that can be used to burrow through planets, asteroids, or even enemies. The levels are procedurally generated, so even if you play the game one hundred times in a row on the same mode, the experiences will all be slightly different, and that's what keeps it interesting; well, that and the fact that enemies explode into star-bits that can be collected and used to upgrade your ship's many features. I suppose at this point in my reviewing career it's kind of becoming cliche to remind readers that fighting for your next upgrade is as addictive as ever, but being able to upgrade your ship through repeated play sessions is a lot of fun! I could have written this review a week ago, but I was too busy trying to max out some of my stats, playing classic mode over and over again.
As I mentioned, there are a dozen different modes to play that each mix up the game's basic gameplay. One mode takes away your ability to shoot but scores you based on how long you survive, another ramps up the difficulty. There's a boss rush, and even a peaceful mode that gives you unlimited lives and no scoreboard so you can practice. Most of your time spent with the game will be on Classic mode, which is the simplest of the modes, and goes on and on with steadily (or erratically) increasing difficulty and rewards (This is procedurally generated, remember) including your star-bit collections and ship upgrades. I hate to repeat myself, but even though the game barely changes it up, it's still a lot of fun.
It really is a lot of fun!
And if fun isn't good enough, it's also gorgeous and sounds great. The graphics are simple but they are as colorful and majestic as the night sky as seen through an incredibly powerful telescope atop a Hawaii mountain. Or the Hubble. Regardless, it's nothing short of majestic, and the hilariously witty narrator that mocks you every time you blow up mixed with the gentle trance really gives it a total package feel. It's all quite pleasant to behold as you repeat the classic game mode for the dozenth time. For $9.99 on PSN, this is a truly fun, awesome game to add to your Vita collection.
If this review felt a little short, or perhaps repetitive with slight variation on the statements, that was done on purpose, as it represents the game's overall feel. It really is fun, but it's also very repetitive, even if it is a lot of fun thanks to the slight variations in difficulty and enemy layout. Lots of fun, though, seriously....wait, I need to end this here or I'll circle the drain that is the black hole of redundancy.
Buy Big Sky Infinity. It's a lot of fun. Even if it is a bit repetitive.
This review is based on a digital copy of Big Sky Infinity for the PlayStation Vita.