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July 2019

Debris Infinity

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: SVC Games
Developer: SVC Games
Release Date: Sept. 21, 2018


Switch Review - 'Debris Infinity'

by Cody Medellin on Feb. 14, 2019 @ 12:01 a.m. PST

Debris Infinity is an action-packed game that pushes your reflexes to the limit, so you can manipulate time to make impossible maneuvers.

The flood of games that has hit the Switch in its relatively short lifespan has meant that just about every genre has been covered several times over. Those same crowded genres have employed every gimmick to stand out from the crowd, and that task is getting tougher as the library grows by double digits each week. For the shooting game Debris Infinity, its method for getting noticed is to fuse together two genre classics, and the result is surprisingly good.

At first glance, Debris Infinity seems like a clone of the legendary Xbox 360 title, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. After all, it employs the dual-stick shooting standard with the ability to use a bomb to clear out everything on-screen. Your stage is basically a rectangular arena, and just about everything is bathed in bright-colored vectors. Most importantly, there is no set mission objective and no narrative, so the game acts as a throwback to the arcade-style high score chases of yesteryear, complete with online leaderboards for further emphasis.

The game's other major influence comes from the classic Atari game, Asteroids. Unlike Geometry Wars, most enemies don't spawn directly into the battlefield in Debris Infinity. Instead, a multitude of enemies is replaced with large asteroids that come from off-screen and beyond the level borders. Just like in the old arcade title, shooting the asteroids doesn't destroy them completely; they merely break apart into smaller asteroids that bounce around the battlefield until they're small enough and can finally be destroyed.

Aside from the mash-up of mechanics coming from those two classic titles, Debris Infinity gives you the ability to slow down things something that comes in handy when the screen is suddenly filled with foes and there's little room to maneuver. The ability is limited, and while it can be refilled, the meter does so at a very slow pace, so you can't rely on it all of the time. Further, the slowdown ability uses the same energy that's also used for bombs, so there is an element of strategy involved when it comes to balancing out both for an effective run.

The combination of all of these elements, including temporary power-ups for achieving certain milestones, makes for a pretty frantic shooter. It can seem quite forgiving at first, especially when you learn that you have an energy meter instead of lives, so you can be a little more daring in your movements. With that said, the multitude of enemies provides plenty of challenge, and the presence of the health meter means that you only have one life for your run, so death can still come swiftly if you aren't careful.

With the game focused on scoring, the real challenge comes from the requirements for high scores and combos. Basic survival isn't enough, as your scoring meters rise exponentially if you destroy lots of enemies at a time without using bombs. That meter also increases if you destroy enemies quickly after they spawn, so you need to play more aggressively instead of defensively.

Debris Infinity features three modes, but they all seem very similar. Time Attack gives you only a few minutes to score as many points as possible. Power Wave is a variation on that; you have a set time limit at first, but killing enemies adds more time to the clock, so if you're adept at the game, you'll have a ton of time to score. Meanwhile, Normal mode is more like survival, since you're seeing how far you can go before perishing. The good news is that each mode has separate leaderboards so there's an incentive to try out each one. The better news is that all of those modes support co-op, which many shooters don't offer up.

As mentioned earlier, the game takes on a brightly colored vector look that adds some retro style to the aesthetics. You can adjust the glow level of the lines, making the game feel like an older arcade title. With a smooth frame rate, there's very little to complain about in the visual department. As for the audio, the soundtrack has a great overall beat, but the sound effects can be a little lacking. Mainly, the lack of an effect for your own gunfire can be jarring the first time you shoot and hear nothing. Meanwhile, the voice work for the power-up announcements is fine, but there are times when you'll have a tough time understanding what was said.

Debris Infinity does a very good job of being a pure arcade shooter. The shooting is thoughtful, since you're trying to balance abilities with quickly shooting enemies. The number of foes on-screen at any time makes the game difficult but not impossible, and the presence of both leaderboards and co-op for every mode provides a real incentive for another run, no matter how many times you've already died. Debris Infinity is a well-done pick-up-and-play shooter with a low $5 asking price, so it's easy to recommend for the Switch.

Score: 8.0/10

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