Back in May, Platinum Games announced three new games, and my eye immediately went to one of them. No, not Bayonetta, or even Mad World, as good as they both look. It was the then-titled Infinite Line that immediately grabbed me.
And it’s not just because I like Japanese science fiction, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. Infinite Space was promising a game that I’ve wanted since I was a kid: the chance to take command of my own fully-customized starship, complete with handpicked crew. It was something that Starfleet Academy, Independence War, Bridge Commander, and Battlecruiser 3000AD all tried and failed to provide in my eyes. I-War and Battlecruiser because they were excruciatingly dull, and the Trek games because I didn’t really get my own ship. I was just borrowing the Enterprise.
To be honest, I didn’t think anybody would ever design the kind of game that I was looking for — a fun, easily accessible but extremely customizable starship sim. So when I saw Infinite Space, I was excited, but also a little skeptical. I mean, could they really pull a game like this off on the Nintendo DS?
Right now, signs are pointing to yes.
In retrospect, maybe the DS is the only system, with the possible exception of the Wii, on which a game like this could be made. Putting it on the PC automatically lends itself toward being a simulator that caters exclusively to a diamond hard core, while making it for something like the Xbox 360 would potentially skew it toward being more action-oriented. On the DS, the stylus almost automatically encourages a more simulation-type atmosphere while the user base demands accessibility. It’s practically the perfect marriage.
But there’s more to it than that. The people who are making this game ,i>get it. They understand how important atmosphere is in a game like this. They understand that there’s no point in building your own starship if you don’t have your own crew yelling, “Get ready to fire the wave motion gun!” Yeah, it’s Star Blazers through-and-through, and perhaps only fans of that genre can appreciate a game like this. But that’s okay, because it’s obvious that the designers are fans, too, and that means they’re designing from the heart. The love that’s going into this game is apparent in everything from the multiple dramatic camera angles that are taken when you’re firing to the fact that they went ahead and actually made an anime short titled Starting Line for distribution at TGS.
Basically, Platinum Games sat down in a meeting and said, “Okay, guys, we have Bayonetta and Mad World. Now how do we appeal to the all-important Kathryn market?” The result is the game that you see before you.
There’s no denying that Infinite Space is made for a tiny, niche market. Even if it makes it to America, it probably won’t break 50,000 copies sold. But I don’t care, because even after playing a five-minute demo, it’s apparent that this is the game for me. If I could buy a million copies just to get them to make a sequel, I would.
Infinite Space, you’ve stolen my heart.