I’ve been having a great time browsing through the SwitchList app each month, looking for an indie that I’ve never played or heard of, yet still speaks to me in some way. It’s part of the monthly process of #DiscoverIndies that I enjoy most. There have only been two months of the new grassroots movement, and I’ve already discovered two hidden, indie gems. (BTW, I really hate how loose people have become with their use of the phrase, hidden gem. I’m lookin’ at you /r/nintendoswitch!!)
For February, I’ve chosen Debris Infinity, developed and published by SVC Games. By the time I came across Debris Infinity, I had already seen a couple games that had looked interesting. I don’t remember what they were, because Debris Infinity immediately gave me flashbacks of Geometry Wars on the Xbox. (That series was one of my favorites on that console. I’d love to see some form of it on my Switch! Who has the rights to that one?) I immediately hit purchase, without hesitation. (It’s at the impulse price of $4.99 USD.)
As promised, here’s my review of February’s #DiscoverIndies selection, Debris Infinity.
To Five Dollars and Beyond
It turns out that I was too quick to judge Debris Infinity. (Shock and horror, prejudging didn’t work out! ) Instead of being a GW clone, Debris Infinity is a SHMUP that does it’s own thing and, at it’s price point, is shamefully, (criminally!) overlooked. I have heard maybe two people talking about this game. I’m here to try and help change that, in some small way.
Debris Infinity is a classic, twin-stick shmup that reminds me a bit of Asteroids and a bit of Geometry Wars, with some extras mixed in.
Single Player Madness
The game offers three modes of
lonely single player action. In Normal Mode, You’re trying to achieve the maximum score possible, against increasingly difficult waves of enemies. You’ll, hopefully, continue to improve your reflexes and tactics, allowing you to bury your friend’s score on the included leaderboards.
With Time Attack, You’re given 3 minutes to get the maximum possible score. Your ship has infinite shields, but each enemy impact you suffer, reduces your score. It’s even possible to end up with a negative score, if you suck that badly.
The game’s final single player mode, Power Wave, is kind of a mashup of the first two. It pits you against enemies that attack in waves, and as in Time Attack, you have a time limit. In this mode, you can earn extra time for each wave you’re able to successfully complete. This encourages you to play smart. You’ll need to be fast, efficient, and fierce. All while trying to avoid being hit, remind you. I found it to be the most difficult mode of the three, single player, options. It has the most potential for frustration.
The game’s HUD, which in it’s default state, can be a distraction, is easily adjustable by way of the settings menu. There, you’ll also find toggles for a couple of special effects as well as vibration. Also among the included features, are the genre’s required leaderboards.
Multiplayer Fun(in a budget indie title!)
The multiplayer options for Debris Infinity are pleasantly surprising. Especially when you consider this is a budget, indie developed, title. You can choose to play any of the single-player modes co-operatively, or you can face-off against your best friends in a Vs match.
Co-op is strange due to the fact that both players control the same ship. One player controls movement and the ability to slow time, while the other controls the main weapons and the smart bomb. It sounds interesting and like it could, potentially, be a blast to play. Unfortunately, I was only able to play a handful of the Co-Op mode. Because of that, I (we) never survived long enough to see too many waves. I hope to get the chance to play more of this mode.
The Versus mode places two players in the same area, using the same gameplay mechanics as Normal mode, and whoever racks up the most points… wins. Both players have an individual health bar and all things are equal, to begin.
Now, If the player with the least points is still alive after the player with the most points dies, that player can keep going until either they die, or they can top the deceased player’s point total. There’s no friendly fire, and that’s probably for the best. It would only add to the chaos. It would probably lead to frustration and, as it is currently set up, the Vs mode is pretty fun.
Blast Asteroids, Vaporize Enemies & Climb the Leaderboards
You’ll have to master an advanced scoring system, that rewards gamers who possess the quickest reflexes and come up with efficient strategies. Pull both of those things off, and you’ll be racking up the points in no time.
Destroying enemies on a consistent enough basis will keep your combo meter from emptying. Do it quickly enough, and you’ll even earn a coveted multiplyer. Higher multiplyer’s, lead to the value of each enemy being worth more points. You get the picture…
You can earn a bonus for having fast reflexes, and destroying enemies as quickly as possible. The longer you stay on the screen without destroying any enemies, the lower that bonus is going to be. Suffice it to say, this old man, he has a tough time.( I need to Git Gud’.) As long as you’re able to survive without taking any damage, you’ll see your point multiplier getting higher. Every impact you suffer, reduces it.
Taking out groups of enemies of the same color, consecutively, will earn you a chain kill. Performing chains allows you to recover important energy. You can use your energy resources to slow down time, or launch a bomb that instantly clears the screen of any enemies unfortunate enough to be around. Do enough chains, and you will be rewarded with a weapon enhancement, or extra energy for your shield.
There is some definite depth and strategy, inside the frenetic pace of the combat. It’s not easy to master. Then again, the better shmups are easy to pick up, difficult to master, and impossible to put down. Debris Infinity does a great job of staying on the right side of the line between being fun, and becoming so frustrating, your controller becomes a victim.
A Chaotic, Trip Inducing, Neon Playground
Debris Infinity appears to run at a very crisp, and very high, frame-rate. Maybe even 60fps?? Don’t quote me on that, I’m no expert. And I’m definitely not a frame-rate snob. It runs buttery smooth, in both, docked and handheld mode. The bright color palette, and neon effects, are perfectly suited to the game’s overall “vibe”.
One advantage to playing in docked mode, on a larger screen, is having a wider field of view. Handheld mode feels much more cramped, especially when things become intense. I had a slightly harder time achieving the same scores when playing in handheld. Pro controllers (or quality, third-party equivalents) and docked is the way to go!
The background music is another highlight, and it can become as intense as the action. While some tracks felt more tense, others started with a trance like feeling, building to a beautiful crescendo. (The soundtrack brought me back to my clubbing days… Ways back in the 90s!!)
I suppose the music should be high quality, it’s made up of licensed tracks, from real-life Techno Artists. (Or is it Club?, Electronica?, EDM?) I’m slightly older so, naturally, I’m starting to become out of touch with music trends.
Theme’s sound effects are simple and effective. Everything fits together to form a complete package. At a ridiculous price! (I’ll keep reminding you, it’s $5 bucks!)
I’ve either been lucky as hell or, I’m damn good at this #DiscoverIndies thing. For the second consecutive month, I’ve uncovered a true hidden gem on the crowded eShop. Debris Infinity is one SHMUP, that any self-respecting fan of the genre needs to go purchase. Immediately. It’s only $4.99 USD. That’s impulse-buy territory.
9.5/10 Must Have Budget SHMUP !!High-Quality shmup at an impulse price
- Tight Controls that are difficult to master
- Fun, frenetic gameplay
- Gives you that “One more try…” Feeling
- Quality Graphics
- Amazing Licensed Soundtrack
- Multiplayer (2 Player Co-Op & Vs)
- Deceptively deep strategy at $5!!
- Better Experience in Docked mode (slightly easier)
- Hard to find fault anywhere else
- Especially at the asking price!