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Circa Infinity (Xbox One) Review with stream

Circa Infinity

Circa Infinity deserves a ton of credit for providing a new approach to the platforming genre.  Instead of running to the right to reach the goal, players jump to the next stage from within a circling pinwheel, hence the “infinity” portion of the title. Although interesting, the challenge is not for the faint of heart.

Starting on an outer circle, the player guides a little avatar through dozens of stages that are intertwined from within.  The goal is to jump through enough circles to reach the end but it is easier said than done even with unlimited lives. Patrolling each layer are demons. Sometimes they are on the outer circle. Sometimes they pace around the inner circle. Sometimes they shift between circles. Making contact with one of these moving hazards punishes the player by sending them back to the previous circle, demanding perfect performance.  For example, you can be doing well, being one stage away from completion, then run into a string of bad luck and be sent a few circles backward, forcing players to retread brutal steps. If I am being honest, I rage quit my fair share of times but that makes completing each stage all the more satisfying when it happens. Although the game keeps track of deaths, clearing a stage without dying is mostly there for internal bragging rights.

There isn’t much to the play control, with a single button reserved to jumping and the analog stick dedicated for left and right movement.  However, as simple as this sound there is one important caveat – control reversal.  When switching between circles, specifically when at the top of the screen, control reverses.  This arbitrary control scheme, to me, is the major reason why this game is as difficult as it is.  My brain has difficulty understanding pressing left to go right, and vice versa.  I wish there was an option to change this default setting, like having the option to invert the Y axis in first-person shooters. If there was an option to the making moving right true right, for example, then I personally would have enjoyed the experience much more. When the game flips control on you, there is only so much you can take before you need to walk away.

From a presentation stand point, there is a lot happening with so little.  Using only a few colors and basic outlines, the game’s personality shines.  Even the main menu is directly tied into the gameplay which is a nice touch. The music also fits nicely for this insanely quirky title. 

Circa Infinity is a tough game, mostly because of the reversing control scheme, and probably can’t be played for more than 10 minutes at a time before you lose your mind to the difficulty.  Like a niche platformer like Super Meat Boy, this isn’t for everyone but what is here is something different and it is this refreshing approach that earns a gold star. 

Not As Good As: even some of those really hard Mario Maker levels

Way More Interesting Than: many other indie platformers

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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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