Infinite Air is a brave sell launching itself close to Steep. The snow sport genre has gone quiet as of late, and now we get two games at once bringing it back.
Infinite Air takes heavily from other boarding games of the genre such as Skate and makes a thoroughly impressive open sports game which has some good features to compete against Steep. While I have not played the latter to know if it is better yet for the meantime Infinite Air will provide a fun experience for anyone missing board sports games of late.
Right from the start in the mandatory tutorial you will see what the game takes from Skate. Trick controls are given to the right analogue stick for your feet and the trigger buttons for your arms. The system takes some work to acclimatise to as not only is the tutorial short but the game does not give much indicator that you have done a trick successfully. But give it time and you’ll be carving up mountains in no time.
And here we find the best part of Infinite Air, launching down custom-made mountain slopes. Mountains can be generated through various sliders changing the height, steepness and various other factors as well as custom seeds. A major amount of catharsis can be had generating a custom mountain, slapping your character at the top and launching down for hours on end.
From this simple basis of making a cool mountain you extend into making competitive plays. You can create a line for your friends to follow to take the same route as you. You can make a track and compete for the highest score. Infinite Air essentially gives back the freedom of Skate, allowing the wholesome creation of the track and the trick zones on it. And it works for just how close to hand all of these options are. The most demanding mechanic, creating new mountains, can be accessed by just pausing and hitting ‘create new mountain.’ It makes the game feel open, and every experience close to unique.
Infinite Air will require you to make your own fun, and thankfully they make it easy to do. Like just lazily carving down mountains? Just create a new unique mountain, get in the helicopter and you’re good to go. Feel like being more competitive? Just pause the game and jump straight into a track. I have not had a game in a long time which focuses on getting and handful of things right and does so with the flying colours this game does. And it does it all so quick as well. Creating a new mountain for me takes around 10 seconds meaning I can keep in the flow of gameplay and not be put off by unnecessary loading.
There isn’t much to put you off the game other than if you accidently break the physics engine. Rewinding your character when you bail can cause you to flip out or just fall over, which can lead to hilarious moments and high scoring tricks. Other gripes feel rather meagre. The game does not give enough feedback for tricks for my liking, and graphically the game can seem a bit messy, especially if you focus too much on the powder around your board. But thankfully there is nothing which can be considered ‘game breaking.’
I have compared Infinite Air to Steep already and this may have been a poor comparison. Steep is going to be a game with snowboarding in it. Infinite Air is a snowboarding game. The game has revitalised the dying snowboarding genre by harnessing mechanics from other successful boarding games and making them easy to access and use. If you’re excited for Steep, or miss games like Skate or SSX then pick up Infinite Air. This game gets a 9, and will also likely get many hours of my life for the near future.