REVIEW: Infinite Beyond The Mind

REVIEW: Infinite Beyond The Mind

Fight against the Beljantaur army solo or local coop

Released: Steam, PS4, Switch, Xbox
Type: Single-player, Local Coop
Genre: 2D Retro Action Platformer
Developer: Emilie COYO
Publisher: Blowfish Studios
Release date: 07 May, 2020

Solo, Coop or Drop-in/Drop-out Coop? Your Choice.

Infinite Beyond The Mind is a 2D Retro Action Platformer game with pixel graphics that harken back to the NES/SNES era. You can enjoy it Solo, Coop, or in a unique Drop-In/Drop-Out Coop. It offers 16 Stages in 3 difficulty options to offer increased replayability. All things considered, this modest appearing game seems to offer more than its first impression…

The Story

Tanya and Olga share a special bond over their special powers. Together they seem to become an unstoppable force until Beljantaur Kingdom’s Queen Bramann sets their eyes on them and their potential.

Depending on your choice, one of them gets abducted or set forth as a team to fight against the huge Beljantaur Army.
Along the way, you get to fight the whole bizarre Bramann family that boasts with all kinds of knowledge that are utilized for their military.
Later on, you will get a glimpse at the past of both heroines though it’s nothing too detailed.

As you can see, there’s not that much story and like most of those in its genre, there’s a major focus on gameplay instead.

The Controls

Directions and 3 buttons are all you need for Infinite – Beyond The Mind. Both Keyboard and Controllers are supported with both of them equally suitable. The Keyboard controls are fully customizable to your wishes. The Controller, on the other hand, is limited to preset options that utilize the face buttons in different permutations which isn’t optimal because it would make sense to put something like dash onto the shoulder buttons instead.
Both characters seem to be nearly identical as I wasn’t able to find their differences so they should be very minute if there are any.

First of all, the actions are limited to attacking which is a short-ranged slice that you can mash for higher attack frequency.

There’s also a double Jump, adding another layer of movement and agility. The jumps are fully controllable at any point in time to support the fast gameplay.
Wall Jumps
Are part of your move set and you execute them simply by jumping while pressing against the wall. You won’t use it many times but it does become mandatory at certain parts of the game. Don’t expect it to be like Mega Man X which slows you down significantly when hanging on the wall because the fall speed is barely affected by this, despite having an extra animation.

Dash/Action and Stamina
Possibly one of the strongest tools in your bag of tricks. The dash moves you forward fast at a fixed distance. You can use it on the ground or in the air while being invincible. It has multiple uses going from making platforming easier, changing your positioning, or simply dodging attacks. Though there’s a catch!
You have a stamina bar that limits the usage of the Dash otherwise, it’d be far too overpowered. The biggest difference is the depletion in Stamina for the air dash as it uses twice as much. While it does recovery by itself relatively fast, being without it can prove to be rather fatal in specific situations.
Later on, you will get an upgrade that also requires Stamina so you’ll be landing in quite a pickle in handling this resource.

The Gameplay

The basic gameplay consists of moving through the stage with a few battle arenas in-between that require you to vanquish all the enemies to proceed. All of the stages are split into 2 or 3 sections and culminates in a boss fight at the end of the road. Don’t worry, it’s not a 1 hit kill game and you have some leeway due to life points though it depends on the difficulty level you play on. This also applies to Stamina in terms of depletion.
While the first idea that comes to your mind is to slay all of the enemies you come across, people who watched some Speedruns or played Souls games know an alternative: Dodging.
To reinforce this thought, there’s a clock ticking away at the top right showing how long you’re taking. There’s also an end score that gives you a 1 Up if you gained enough points though I’m not sure how it exactly works but you can also get a good score by being fast. The final clue as to why dodging is a viable option is the fact that there’s an achievement for either killing a lot of enemies or only killing a few.

To round things off, there are a few useful collectibles to find though they are hidden very well as I missed the majority of them. You can rescue abducted robots and find life points increasing crystals. Some easier to find items are 1 Ups and life point recovery packs which you’ll need. There are also a few things to freshen things up along the way.
If that’s not enough, there are multiple endings that you can strive for which adds more replayability.

A few arenas you’re getting a turret to defend yourself. Its use is optional and will make your life easier but there are a few bad points when it comes to them. You can spin it in 360° but the rotation speed is rather modest. Every time your turret gets hit it becomes stunned and unusable so pray that you don’t get stun locked and blowing up in like 3 hits afterward.
The final complaint is that the turret has a spread shot. The shots are not 100% the same but are spreading out in sequence. Why is it bad? Because it makes it a little bit RNG as to whether you can hit your enemies or not. Spray and pray is an apt description for this. I have no idea why this is done like that when it’s only a source of frustration.
You’ll notice early on that being able to know when to get in and out of the turret will be an important strategy, especially at higher difficulties.

It starts modest with easy grunts that are firing slowly and few and it gets much more difficult as you go through the game. Bikes, Tanks, and a lot of grunt variations will keep you on your toes. One stage even has some tricky camouflage grunts that require you to look twice. The biggest source of frustration is going to be vehicles and flying enemies.
Vehicles arrive relatively fast on the scene and there’s a big problem with it. They can run you over on their way to the destination on top of releasing enemies on you. The vehicles are fast and difficult to react to if you don’t know the level layout. I got hit by them a LOT which reinforces the thought to just simply dodge them.
The flying enemies are going to be your undisputed number 1 most hated enemies. Not only are they fast but they can also move outside of your attack range. You’re at the mercy of the AI moving into your range as you do not have the tools to handle that situation. This issue is exacerbated by the level design closer to the end.
The most notable one is the final stage as the enemies are not only flying, they are also partially invincible and their attacks stun you for a little bit. Then there’s a bigger version that can even push you with a laser. Put everything together and you get a test of patience.

The bosses are working on various attack patterns of around 4 give and take. They come in different sizes and even stages but nothing infeasible. They aren’t even that troublesome once you know all their patterns.
That is only if we’re only talking about the bosses themselves. If you take the boss stage layout into account then we’re looking a similarity to the stages. A lot of the later bosses are based around pitfalls which results in instant death.
This is the first time I’ve seen so many boss fights that included pitfalls in a single game. There’s a high chance that you’re not dying because of the boss but because of all the pitfalls. There’s a good reason why many games use these difficult terrains sparingly.

Yes, there are upgrades that get unlocked after specific stages! But don’t expect too much as there are only 3 of them with only 2 being anything substantial.
One gives you a special attack after the double jump and it’s limited to that specific movement. While it’s strong, there are various reasons why this upgrade doesn’t feel like a good one. First, you have no control over when to use it and it depletes stamina. You’re forced to use this attack after the double jump and in times of low stamina, it can become your death sentence.
The second upgrade is an attack buff with more damage and lets you neutralize enemy bullets like the first upgrade. It’s very simplistic and doesn’t add that much variety to the gameplay considering that the game is already designed around fixed damage. The biggest changer is the neutralization of bullets as it can make your life easier due to increased defense capability.

The last upgrade we’re talking about is a non-upgrade because it’s only there to make the following gameplay segment possible.

Shoot’em Up
To add some variety to the flow of the game, there are a few Shoot’em Up segments for you to go through. One of them is a rather traditional one where you keep shooting. At first, you can only dodge forward and backward and later you can dodge into all 8 directions.
Then you get the Shoot’em Up upgrade which changes the gameplay a lot. You’re now able to charge up your attack into a strong laser beam that also depletes your stamina. You can also only half charge it and get a spread shot but let me tell you the biggest change… Your weapon overheats!
You can’t fire rapidly without pause because then your weapon requires a cooldown. The spread shot heats it close to the limit and the full charge laser beam overheats it. Love it or hate it, you’ll have to place your shots strategically.

Limited Lives, Difficulty Levels and Endings
You might have noticed the 1 Up I mentioned before. Infinite – Beyond The Mind does indeed employ a life system but the application depends on the difficulty level.
Depending on the difficulty level you get life points and stamina at a variable rate. The biggest game-changer is the application of the Life system as it decides whether you’re playing a moderately difficult game or something that puts you back into Retro NES/Genesis difficulty hell.
On easy, you get immediately respawned at a checkpoint after death and even battle arenas get dissolved in that case helping to keep the pace at a comfortable flow.
Is it too easy? Want something more challenging? Well, there’s normal and higher for you. On normal, the first half of the game feels doable until, and when you finally get to experience the latter parts that are grinding you down relentlessly. As for the higher difficulty? I’ll leave that to your imagination because every death sends you back to the beginning of its section.

Level Design
It starts as a rather moderate 2D Jump’n Run with a clear intent giving you a rather playful time with a lot of ground on your feet to fight against all the enemies. From a certain point of view, it’s straightforward but there’s some additional verticality to add some alternate routes.
The further you are in the campaign the more pits will bare their fangs on your mistakes. It’s not an exaggeration to claim that most of your deaths will be at the latter half of your game by instant death pits.
While there’s some platforming, it’s not difficult in particular because they are seemingly designed around working without the dash which helps as another crutch in the majority of the cases.

Two Types of Coop

Aside from the normal two-player local coop, there’s also a notable Drop-In/Drop-Out one that utilizes the mouse. This particular coop lets your partner control a flying robot that follows you and can shoot which makes it the only way to have a ranged attack. That robot can shoot into 8 directions and dodge but be careful as it’s not invincible and has a limited amount of lives.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics look good with a lot of items to décor the background but there are at times just too much. This game has one of the rare cases of the stage blending too strong with the background. Sometimes it gets difficult to see the traps because there’s just too much with similar colors. There’s also a helicopter in a single stage that explodes, fills your screen white, and disrupts your view completely.
Despite all of that, you can see there’s a lot of effort put into the sprite animations across their different actions. Like grunts readying their guns.

The music is pretty good as many of its genre. Some of the boss battles beat kind of reminds me of Gunstar Heroes.


Infinite – Beyond The Mind is an interesting take in the Retro 2D Jump’n Run Action genre. The difference in difficulties gives it at least 2 different kinds of experience due to the life mechanic changes. Then there are the two different coop types and multiple endings and you got a lot of things to try out.
Depending on how good you are, the first playthrough can take about 3+ hours on normal while getting into the game more seasoned on easy will net you about 1-2 hours at least.
Unfortunately, the base gameplay doesn’t change much and I’d say the level design and enemies are an acquired taste. It was ok on easy but normal ramped up the frustration to an all-time high later on. If you like a retro type challenge then definitely go for normal.
Taking the full package into account and the modest price of under 10 bucks, it sits between a Save for Later and Save. Considering you’ll know what to expect I’ll give it a rating of Save but make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
It’s not a Mega Man X but rather a retro Ninja Gaiden type of game.

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