Game: Infinite Links
Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure, Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam (Windows) PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and iOS, Android)
Developer|Publisher: Exe Create Inc. | KEMCO
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US E 10 +
Price: US $14.99 | UK £13.49 | EU € 14,99
Release Date: May 12th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to KEMCO.
Infinite Links is a JRPG that is reminiscent of the golden age of these types of games. It is beautiful, long, and has classic anime-style graphics.
You are Kronos, a young boy who has recently lost his only family: his grandfather. Kronos and his sister Serene are forced out into the world of dangers and talismans to save not only the world but also Serene’s life. We meet several characters who will join our party, traversing all manner of different biomes with innumerable enemies.
It’s best for me not to delve too far into the story, but it quickly becomes a hero’s journey through a dangerous world to save everyone from the villain that’s determined to destroy it.
The gameplay is reminiscent of most JRPGs. Players walk through the world, fighting monsters in random battles, interacting with NPCs, and solving fairly basic puzzles. There is a lot of emphasis on levelling up armour, weapons, and a magic wearable called Talismans. The visuals are similar to a lot of classic JRPGs as well, like Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger, and some of the Mana games but a little more updated. The sprites are fairly basic and small on-screen, and there is not a different style to the animated cutscenes.
That being said, this kind of classic style seems to be coming back into vogue; recent high-end titles like Triangle Strategy and other new games from indie and AAA developers alike have feature this kind of demake look. It is appealing in a way, but some newer gamers may dislike the look because it is not nostalgic for them.
Complex Systems in Infinite Links
Infinite Links has a lot going on in it. While it starts like any other RPG of its type, the systems move beyond the basic ideas that players might be used to from other similar games. You will need to learn several different crafting types, several different kinds of enemy types, along with an extremely dense talisman upgrading system that is necessary for progression, even on the easiest difficulty.
As for crafting, players can combine older weapons with new ones to upgrade them; this also works for armour. However, not all armour or weapons can be combined. Each character has their own genre of weapons, and each of those weapons has its own rules for upgrading.
There are several different colors of each different kind of enemy. Their base elements are displayed through color. Also, there is a system of levels indicated by color, which more difficult enemies have more complicated coloring patterns than the easy ones. The final coloring type is that “boss” type enemies get their own rules and own set of colouration.
On top of all of these systems, players also have to keep track of several different kinds of reward screens too. There is a reward system for discovering new enemies, one for completing tasks, two for finishing quests, and another for completing arena battles. It just keeps going. You are constantly rewarded for all sorts of things, and you have to regularly visit each of these menus to get the rewards.
It would be nice if these systems were all streamlined. If you could grab all the rewards on the same menu and there were some shortcuts for upgrading both armour and weapons, everything in Infinite Links would go so much more smoothly than it does in its current state.
Battles in Infinite Links are SO FAST and SO POINTLESS
Anyone who has played any 100+ hour JRPG knows that most of that time is spent grinding long battles with cutscenes, slow attacks, and a lot of fanfare with little actually happening in the battle. All of this kind of stuff can be turned off or sped up in Infinite Links. There is a button to auto-attack, a setting to auto-complete battles that players are a certain level above, and a speed setting for battles.
The turn-based battles can be zoomed through with incredible speed, making easier battles almost automatic. That being said, there is a lot of coddling of the player in battle; no XP seems to be lost even when characters die, and it’s basically impossible to lose a fight. You can collect a crystal that allows you to revive your whole party, and if you run out of those, you just start the fight over with no penalty.
I tried battles on Easy, Normal, and the Difficult setting, and it all seemed to be the same: losing didn’t actually seem to matter. Without a penalty for losing battles, there was no harm in charging forward into areas that you obviously weren’t ready for.
The World’s Longest On-Rails RPG
If anyone is familiar with Final Fantasy X, they will probably understand what I mean when I say this game is very “on rails.” Players continue on the journey for tens of hours without being able to step off the designated track of the game in the slighted. Infinite Links wants you to go from A to B, then B to C, then C to D and gives you absolutely no options to explore outside of these roads. And similarly to FFX, it seems to take forever to be given any freedom of movement.
That coupled with the generic Save the World, Save the Sister, Be Angry at the Villains, Be Betrayed by This Person We All Liked story beats of the classic JRPG; this game gets old really quickly. I wasn’t able to make it through the entirety of the 35-40 hours play length because it just got so old so fast.
I kind of wanted to know what was going to happen next, but I couldn’t motivate myself to slog through the story any longer. However, I don’t know if the game ever opens up and give the player more choices. I hope it eventually does, though I wish it had been much sooner than the 10ish hours I played.
Other Things About Infinite Link
This game is so cute. The characters are predictable but really adorable. Most of the time, each character does a little hop before they speak during cutscenes, and it’s weird, but I love it for some reason. No matter how serious the subject of their discussion, the cutscene will be forever hilarious because these little cute humans are hopping around like bunnies the whole time.
Another weird thing about this game is that the hit boxes on NPCs are really, really tiny. Like I just want to talk to you; why do I have to walk around you in circles forever just to get to a place where I can interact with you? Then once you finally interact, the leading character has to move around to the front of you because it would be a shame for the NPC to have to move in any way. It’s very slow and awkward to chat with anyone. This, coupled with the long sequence of buttons needed to buy or sell anything, makes heading into new towns more aggravating than rewarding in Infinite Links.
I know I did a lot of complaining about this game, but it was very fun to play. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, and I loved how quickly the battles could go by so I could grind to whatever level I wanted. The world and characters were colorful and cute if a bit generic. The story left a lot to be desired, and the combat was challenging enough that I had to pay attention most of the time.
While there was a lot to complain about in this little JRPG, there is also a lot to love about it. Fans of the genre will like this title, I think. I hope to get back to it and complete this cute story.
Final Verdict: I Like it.