Genre: Simulation, Sports
Developer: HB Studios
Publisher: Maximum Games
Release Date: Oct 24, 2016
Available Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Reviewed Platforms: Windows
Infinite Air with Mark McMorris attempts to carve a path in the extreme sports genre, but falls terribly short. The graphical fidelity, open presentation, and style of control are all great ideas that logically should make for an equally great game. However, the final product just isn’t all the way there. Mark McMorris may not be a household name, and now after this game, will be the name you remember not for fondness, but rather for what it could be.
Infinite Air with Mark McMorris tries to invoke those feelings of playing Skate for the first time with its control layout. Here, you use the left stick for movement, the right stick for tricks, triggers for loading a jump and trick modifiers. Now, this review was done on PC, I should note that the game does not support keyboard and mouse other than in menus. In fact, the mouse cursor likes to stay on-screen while you’re using a controller. It’s a weird omission, but the controller would feel the best for what the controls are asking you to do. The controls often work against you. They don’t lend themselves to allow you to get back moving again if stopped due to something, so you’ll be often moving like you’re stuck in quicksand trying to get momentum to move on. Crashing or bailing out of a trick has you hilariously slide for an extended period of time before you can “get up”, though you can alternately respawn at the expense of starting over. One of the more infuriating things was never being able to stop or slowdown in a spin or flip, you can’t seem to just land without killing yourself.
Infinite Air with Mark McMorris has an open-mountain to explore or take part in challenges that provide progression. The progression is stale is merely checking off boxes to complete challenges that unlock more areas. If you’re not skilled enough to continue, you’ll be held back similarity to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, but because the presentation is lacking, it all feels directionless in a bad way. Infinite Air does some cool things like letting you use a helicopter to get around the mountain and drop in as you see fit. This type of freedom I can get behind, but it is just such a hollow experience.
The cast of Infinite Air is pretty solid, featuring the man himself, Mark McMorris. Other playable characters include Ulrik Badertscher, Danny Davis, and Torstein Horgmo. Unless you follow snowboarding, these names will mean very little to you. The tutorials are voice rather poorly, coming across as flat and/or uninterested in what they are saying, despite it being very helpful for you to understand how to play the game.
Graphically the game looks excellent in motion, and less so while still. And if you come to a complete stop like I mentioned before, you’ll have nothing but time to look at your surroundings as you try to get yourself unstuck. I noticed that effects like depth of field and blur make the game look much better on PC when they are turned off. The depth of field and blur effects are far too intense, and make the game look worse than it is.
You may remember HB Studios for creating The Golf Club, the golfing was solid, and the courses were generic, but the presentation and execution were really solid. The included course generator there really lengthened the game to be able to create your own courses. The same can be found here in Infinite Air. The controls and UI are intuitive for anyone to create fun levels on randomized mountains that perhaps are more fun than the courses found in the main game.
The game does have a multiplayer mode, but it seems dead on arrival. I attempted to join several multiplayer sessions at different times of the day, and the mountain is empty as the single-player mountains. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone playing the game, so I never got to see what it was like to ride down a mountain with a buddy.
Infinite Air with Mark McMorris is part of a trio of snowboarding games each trying to get your attention. Infinite Air could be a lot better, but there’s not a proper attitude to excite you to want to keep playing. It just becomes hard to recommend with how shallow the game is. If you’re hard-pressed for something on PC, or even on consoles for snowboarding, there will be other options. If this is the one you settle on, buy it when it is discounted.
Retails for: $49.99, Recommended Purchase Price: $19.99
A Steam code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.