Review: Subdivision Infinity – Trigger Happy

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As mentioned in my early impressions piece, the first few missions in Alpha Tyche – the game’s opening star system – are quick and pretty easy. But from there you’ll see missions opened up to more complexity, involving the destruction of huge capital ships with multiple gun turrets protected by swarms of cannon fodder, cargo ship destruction, assisting ally combat squadrons in dog-fight mayhem, and more. The variety keeps things interesting, even while the main focus remains that of crafting smithereens out of perfectly functional sci-fi tech.

If the combat in a 3D space combat game is not handled well, then there really is nowhere to go. The meat and potatoes of Mistfly’s endeavours however, kept me coming back for more. Crisp graphics with smooth animation, are combined with precise ship handling, plenty of pew-pew laser audio, and near-miss dog-fighting action ending with satisfyingly epic explosions.

The gameplay progression is just as satisfying. New ships purchased via mission pay-days and mining look pleasingly different from the last, and also handle differently. That loop of being able to grind for the one ship beyond the next, and feeling overpowered for a couple of missions until the game catches up with you always puts a smile on your face, and in Subdivision Infinity you’ll experience this several times if you’re willing to put in the time to mine, hunt, and explore. Some ships are gated off until certain levels are reached however, which is nice as it means the game will always have that chance to catch up with you.

While some ships can be bought with earnings, special ultra-powered ships can only be crafted by combining blueprints, crates, and mined resources. The blueprints are found in seperate Exploration levels, which involve scouring abandoned space stations and asteroid fields for these hidden artefacts. You may occasionally encounter the odd marauder or two, but otherwise it’s a peaceful exercise of hide and seek, backed by excellent, chilled electronica. These explorations tend to take you out of the main experience a little though, and feel like an oddly different experience to the main campaign. I’m not sure they entirely worked.

The crates to craft those special ships are a lot more fun to accumulate. Free Hunt arenas, also separated from the main campaign on the galaxy map, involve fighting off waves of combatants that explode into collectible crates. The action here is fast and fun, and even after collecting the required amount of crates, I found myself jumping back into Free Hunt purely for the hell of it.

With your blueprints and crates in your hangar, now all you’ll need is the resources. Mining is even more peaceful than the Exploration areas, as there are no enemies to be found at all. Fly up close enough to a resource asteroid and suck the goods out of it, rinse and repeat until you’ve got what you need, and that’s all it takes.

This is where my only real issue with Subdivision Infinity lies. Apart from the main campaign, the other three activities are all separated off from each other into their own compartmentalised experiences, which seems to detract a little from each of them. It would be great to perhaps see a Subdivision Infinity 2 which has the main campaign, and then a seperate free roaming section that could see you busily mining for resources, being interrupted by enemies, and the ensuing combat taking you into parts of the map hiding blueprints. Each of the game’s seperate activities are well handled, but combining them all would add that extra layer of cohesion.

With that said, Subdivision Infinity’s campaign with its progression through five aesthetically different star systems, each with a good amount of levels offers up a lot of enjoyment, due to the fact that the pure gameplay is executed so well. The mission variety, progression loop, and overall production quality left me wanting more.

Good news then that there is a sixth star system on the map – Outpost Hano-16 – that teases a “coming soon” message. Hopefully by the time it releases I’ll have found all of the blueprints to craft Subdivision Infinity’s ultimate ship – the Supernova X – so I can venture out again with the best possible chance of survival.

In A Nutshell:

Mistfly Games have crafted in Subdivision Infinity a 3D space combat adventure with a satisfying variety of missions, visceral arcade space action, and high production values that add up to an easy recommendation for your Apple TV.

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