From the same developer that brought us MIND: Path to Thalamus, Infernium is a first-person survival horror game in which your only option against the creatures of hell is to flee or hide. Will the game be worth the trip? Read our Infernium review to find out!
After waking up on a small island, with a destroyed bridge that leads up to what looks like an abandoned castle, you’ll set out to explore and hopefully escape from hell. You’ll cross path with some not-so-detailed tutorials explaining what you can do, and then you’ll be pretty much on your own to explore. While exploring the different levels the game has to offer, you’ll only have a limited number of possible actions you can do to help in your quest. You’ll be able to do some kind of short-range teleportation, which the game calls Dash, to cross certain pits and broken bridges, and the major part of your time will be spent interacting with objects such as light orbs or door and elevator switches.
Speaking of those switches, you’ll encounter a lot of them, and they could all end up being useful if you get face to face with one of the many creatures haunting the place. Ghosts, ghouls and other creepy creatures will try to catch you if they see you, and your only option is to run away from them and get to a safe place where they can’t follow you. While this might sound easy at first, there are a lot of times where they’ll just sneak up on you, leaving you close to no options as to where to run, and knowledge of your whereabouts will be crucial if you don’t want to end up trying to escape by a door you previously closed and can’t open.
At some point, you’ll probably die. The game has a good Dark Souls vibe, as it can be painfully difficult at times, leaving you completely cornered by monsters, or just falling from too high or simply into a pit you didn’t notice. When you die, the game will take you into a hub of sorts where you’ll see a lot of big shiny orbs; – those are your lives. Obviously, every time you end up there, you’ll lose one of the orbs, and if you end up losing them all, it’s permadeath time! But wait, there’s a little twist if you get to that point that could end up saving you, but I’ll let you die enough times to experience it for yourself!
There is an option though to disable the permadeath system if you feel like it is too much for you to handle, which is a nice thought from the developer, allowing people to fully experience the game. Another option that’s worth mentioning is that you can completely turn off the monsters from the game. Again a nice option if you just want the exploration the game, but I have to say it felt a bit empty wandering around with nothing to challenge me, except for me having to watch where I step.
This is not your typical hell game, as it’s not filled with nothing but lava and stuff like this. Instead, you’ll be treated to beautiful sceneries, visiting areas in a beach, a castle, or the catacombs. While not graphically on par with games like, say, the recently released God of War, the game is still pretty nice to look at and gives a weird clash to think that those beautiful places are part of some kind of hell – it’s an indie game in the end but a gorgeous looking one!
The first thing I noticed when I started the game was the lack of instructions. The game is described as non-linear, and you can feel it from the very first seconds you’re playing. I ended up wandering inro a castle, not really knowing why. I quickly thought of categorizing the game as a walking simulator, which it mostly is, but there’s definitely more to it than that. Sure, there are the parts with the monsters that build up some tension, but since they don’t run at you at supersonic speed, the tension won’t be overwhelming since there are many ways you can avoid dying at their ghostly hands as long as you can run as fast as possible for a bit in any direction.
After a couple of times using the “Dash” teleport move, there’s a little something I realized that started bugging me. For pretty much every action you can do (dashing, interacting, etc.), there’s some kind of delay between the moment you press the button and the moment the action actually happens. I can’t tell if this was done on purpose or not, but it felt to me as if it was interrupting the action – but who knows, could be just what the developer wanted you to feel.
I was a bit disappointed about the “survival horror” part, or rather the absence of it. When I hear those words, I think about games like Detention, which I reviewed last year, or Lone Survivor, that both build up some incredible tension that lasts through the whole game. I didn’t get that feeling at all with Infernium, and the absence of pretty much any sound but your feet didn’t help on that part.
In the end, with walking simulators not really being my type of games, I ended up not having that much fun. Wandering around each location trying to find something, escaping from ghostly things, without any actual story to back it up (the total opposite of a game like Gone Home). I would’ve liked to enjoy the game, because I see a lot of potential for this one and the atmosphere and overall feel of the game was definitely nice, but for me, that was not enough.
And as far as trophies are concerned, there’s a trophy for beating New Game Plus, so you’ll obviously have to go for at least two playthroughs. The game is all about exploration, so you’ll be spending a considerable chunk of time playing this one to get to that shiny Platinum since the game is around 15 hours long!
Developer Carlos Coronado made a game that had some potential, but that I think ended up being a bit too vague in both its gameplay and its identity. With that being said, I’m pretty sure walking simulator fans will have a good time with it and those looking for a challenging game with a permadeath system might also find something for them in Infernium.
PSN Game Price: $24.99
This Infernium review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Carlos Coronado.