Ink-credible art style, so-so everything else
Most likely if you were in school and if you had a boring lecture you were "supposed" to be taking notes on, you might have been mindlessly doodling away. Apparently the folks behind Ballpoint Universe: Infinite had a similar kind of grade school experience, taking the scribblings and doodles that could have been drawn in a sixth grader's Trapper Keeper and turned them into a game world with landscapes, characters, enemies-- everything you imagine.
Ballpoint Universe: Infinite is a game of two parts. The first occurs as you venture around the various scenery and landscapes of the game world in a 2D side-scrolling fashion. Along the way are various friendly doodles who will task your character with missions, all shoot-em-up based, the second part of Ballpoint Universe. More on that in a bit.
Right away, the visuals do nothing but impress. The trip through the world is absolutely gorgeous, full of intricate details, ornate designs, and fantastical areas. Traveling is rather cool in the way that your character can change layers (e.g.. moving from a background plane into one in the foreground). It's just a shame that what could have been a surefire truly enjoyable part of the game is compromised by poor platforming controls.
|Excuse me while I marvel at this art style.|
|Today's math lesson, courtesy of SuperPhillip Central:|
Precision platforming + slippery controls = GAH!
The actual shoot-em-up gameplay in Infinite is enjoyable enough, having ships and enemies of all shapes, sizes, and varieties wanting nothing more than to see you eliminated and turned into a crumbled up piece of paper in a waste can.
Your ship can be customized by spending ink collected in space battles and won as rewards. Your spaceship has four segments to it, an upper arm, a lower arm, a special ability, and a body for defensive capabilities. There's a wide range of weapons and parts to purchase, so if you're in a completionist mood, then you'll definitely have fun grinding ink for parts to collect the entire arsenal.
Unfortunately, I found that despite starting out with a machine gun, it felt more like a peashooter blasting against a steel safe than something formidable against foes. In fact, most of the starting, affordable weapons were pretty poor in power compared to my starting melee weapon. Yes, you read that right, a melee weapon in a shoot-em-up. For what would take ten seconds to shoot down a regular enemy, I could just fly near the enemy ship and slash it with my melee weapon, destroying it in an instant (though, melee weapons activate automatically without a player's input). It's not until you earn enough ink to purchase more intimidating firepower that you can play Ballpoint Universe: Infinite's shooter levels like a traditional game in the genre.
|Melee is noticeably more efficient than|
your ship's little peashooter.
My main takeaway with Ballpoint Universe: Infinite's shoot-em-up sections is that since guns were so obviously weak in comparison to melee attacks, I just resorted to using swords, spears, and blades for dealing with enemies of all shapes and sizes. I'm guessing this is not what the developers wanted, but unfortunately, that's what they got.
|The enemy design is really something special.|
For the things Ballpoint Universe: Infinite does right, it does them really well. For what the game fails to do, it fails them pretty hard. From the frustrating platforming to the most likely unintended, strong focus on melee combat in a shoot-em-up, Ballpoint Universe: Infinite has its fair share of problems. However, if you can look past them (and perhaps onto the immaculate art style and design), you'll get a quirky game that is quite unlike anything else out there.
[SPC Says: 6.5/10]