In an all but forgotten genre, Strike Suit Infinity is the latest space combat game from developer Born Ready Games. Unlike the story-driven missions found in Strike Suit Zero, Infinity pits players against numerous waves of enemies featuring a scoring system complete with a score multiplier to help you reach the top of the online leaderboards. Adapting the fantastic combat system from Strike Suit Zero, combat in Infinity feels smooth, as you lock-on to enemy fighters, adjust your throttle, and maintain a tight spiral spin deflecting incoming missiles with EMP bursts.
Strapping in to the variable Strike Suit as well as two additional fighters, you must survive against overwhelming odds across 18 punishing rounds. While the first waves may only provide a minimum amount of challenge by pitting you and your allies up against small Fighters, but by the time the final round approaches you may be weaving your way around massive Frigates and Carriers, dodging not only missiles, but mines, plasma shots and flak cannons, all of which can turn your ship to Swiss cheese with ease.
Luckily your ship is not without its own arsenal, as each fighter comes equipped with two gun slots as well as two launcher slots allowing you to fire various types of missiles and rockets simultaneously. Most of the rounds allow for flexibility when it comes to the load out, but some feature abnormalities that prevent such things as lock-on from working, reducing your arsenal to manually aimed rockets only. The standard plasma rounds rely on a charging energy meter, allowing you to keep shooting as long as the meter isn’t fully depleted. Lock-on missiles can be favorable during intense dogfights, but unlike the plasma rounds they have a finite supply. Being liberal with them during the first few waves can be a huge mistake. You do not want to be in the position of seeing a Carrier group warp into the system and not realizing both your launcher slots are completely empty.
Born Ready Games has learned what players enjoyed the most from the original game, allowing all three of the different ships to enter Strike mode – transforming the ship into a mech with untold offensive ability. Strike mode can only be activated after shooting down multiple targets and filling the flux meter, which quickly discharges when weapons are fired when in Strike mode. Multiple targets can be selected concurrently, unleashing a fury of missiles that will blanket large areas of space. Instead of relying on EMP bursts to avoid incoming missiles, the mech is capable of dashing out of the way at the last second, requiring a bit more situational awareness from the player. Knowing when to transform becomes a juggling act during dogfights, but a necessary one in order to survive and successful raise the score multiplier.
Credits are earned during each round (depending on your score and time) and can be spent before the start of the next round to purchase reinforcements, ranging from small Fighters and Interceptors to powerful Frigates and Carriers. What you will encounter in each wave won’t come as a surprise, as it is clearly indicated before the round begins, allowing you to counter anything that is thrown at you. While choosing a massive Frigate over small fighters may be the “cool” choice (as well as one of the most expensive choices), don’t dismiss multiple groups of the cheaper Bombers and Fighters, especially if upgraded. Sending out groups of twenty Bombers and Interceptors can make short work of enemy ships; large or small.
While credits can be spent to upgrade allies on a round by round case, your ship is upgraded in a different manner. Each of the rounds will have various secondary objectives, such as leaving the immediate battle area and chasing down a transport shuttle before it warps away to safety. Destroying it in time unlocks various upgrades such as improved shielding or more powerful weaponry. If the transport appears in the middle of a wave, you must decide if it is worth leaving your allies and facing the shuttle and it’s escort alone. At times you will get lucky and it will appear at the tail end of a round, in which case your allies will make a beeline for the shuttle and will rip it to pieces with generally ease.
While space as we see it from Earth appears to be an infinite amount of stars set among an empty black void, Strike Suit Infinity presents space in a much more alive manner with stunning nebulae complete with shifting lighting effects and colors. I become awestruck as I turned my ship around and gazed upon two capital ships in the distance firing colored ordinance at each other in front of a massive planet with swarms of smaller fighters weaving themselves between a sea of red and blue explosions. I experienced the occasional slowdown when my ship was caught in the middle of a massive explosion from one of the larger spacecrafts, but it only happened every third round or so. Across the 15 or so hours I have sunk into the game so far, it has only crashed twice to the desktop, which was a problem in Zero as well. Hopefully this can be rectified swiftly through an update.
Strike Suit Infinity takes the best moments from Zero (the combat) and cranks it to eleven for an addicting and intense high score chasing shoot ‘em up. The progressively harder rounds provide a satisfying challenge, requiring you to strategize beforehand on which reinforcements are best depending on the situation. Strike Suit Infinity not only satisfies my desire for the revival of the space combat genre, but also my addiction to chasing the high score on the online leaderboards. If mouse and keyboard controls are not your preferred method, I highly recommend using a gamepad or joystick. I used a DualShock 3 (using MotioninJoy) for the majority of my playtime and fell in love with the controls after remapping the controls to my liking.
Note: The Strike Suit Infinity review was written based on the PC version of the game provided to us.