This is the one hundred sixteenth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
Keep dodging against an ever-changing boss you can’t attack!
We finally really did it. You maniacs! You made an infinite boss!
Actually, the word “boss” implies something a bit different. What the single screen platform arena in Infiniboss really contains is five numbered boxes in the corners and ceiling, which take turns launching different attacks that must be dodged. These include bullet spreads, screen-crossing laser beams, and even a huge wrecking ball on a chain (which also spews bullets). It’s more of a trap room than an actual boss enemy. Discerning players will notice that each box also has three smaller shapes in it, indicating which attack it’s about to use, and the boxes change color before firing as a warning. The objective, as I’m sure you can guess, is to survive for as long as possible, accumulating points all the while.
In keeping with its simple four color pixel art, Infiniboss is quite simple to play, and I felt I’d seen all the possible attacks within just a few minutes. Moving and jumping don’t feel as tight as in the best platformers, but they’re serviceable enough. The lack of variety meant I wasn’t particularly impressed with the action, but Infiniboss has surprising depth in its roster of playable characters. The default character can dash as well as jump, and the dash move lets them move through bullets or other obstacles, netting extra points while doing so. Daring players can try to purposely dash through bullets — not unlike flying close to bullets in our last entry, Risk System — to earn points quickly. Points can then be spent to unlock other characters, whose quirks lead to very different play.
For example, one character automatically regenerates health over time, but will die if their health reaches zero or maximum. That meant I had to purposely get hit every so often, but not too often, in a delicate balancing act. Another character has two bodies and can swap between them at will. Only the active body can be damaged, but if enemy fire hits the inactive body, it earns bonus points. So score-chasers will move to where bullets are about to be, then swap and watch the point counter rocket upward as the bullets fly through the inactive body.
These character designs are interesting enough that they made me wish they were part of a more exciting game. The various attacks in Infiniboss aren’t that hard to dodge, merely requiring a few jumps or even just standing still in the right place, and I quickly grew tired of them. It’s a shame, because there are still a few more characters I haven’t unlocked, lacking the patience to build up enough points. One can fly, but only scores points while on the ground, while another can actively parry bullets for a type of rhythm play. But I really wanted more variety in the obstacles, to keep me engaged long enough to try out these characters.
Some players may prefer the current design, however, since it means they can quickly start to optimize strategies for each character and go for really high scores. There’s even an alternate game mode with a fixed time limit to encourage aggressive score chasing. If that sounds intriguing to you, consider giving Infiniboss a look. If you missed it in the bundle, it’s sold for a minimum price of $2.
That’s 116 down, and only 1625 to go!