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On this episode of mobile games pretending to be console games.
Subdivision Infinity originally launched on mobile platforms in 2017. Two years later it makes the move to all major platforms. We’ve seen this plenty of times this generation, particularly on Nintendo Switch. The question is, can Subdivision Infinity DX shed its mobile trappings and take on new life in the console space?
Subdivision Infinity DX is a level based, 3D space shooter with a single player campaign spanning five environments and a total of twenty-five missions. Each level sees you dropped into a very large environment where you’ll be tasked with flying to waypoints and shooting enemies. Occasionally you’ll be asked to defend a ship or hold position while you download data. Overall mission variety is somewhat lacking, as is enemy variety. I felt as though I was repeating the same few mission types in each environment. Only a couple missions presented a significant challenge and I was able to cruise through on normal difficulty in just a couple short play sessions. Optional exploration missions provide some variation, where you can gather resources to build additional ships. However, I found that I was better off using the ships available for purchase, as I always seemed to have plenty of money.
First impressions of Subdivision Infinity DX are actually very strong. When you start a new game you’ll be greeted by a fully 3D and highly detailed view of your cockpit as ships zoom past outside. Some quick text outlining what could be an interesting story is provided before your ship jumps to hyper speed. Strangely, the detailed cockpit is never to be seen again, as the rest of the game can only be played in third person. Additional story points lack the polish of the opening moments, being replaced by simple dialogue boxes and generic looking character portraits. As the plot developed I found myself paying less and less attention to it. Characters all have bland personalities and the text itself had noticeable grammatical errors. There is no voice acting either, so the game completely pauses any time a character needs to speak during a mission.
On the bright side, Subdivision Infinity DX controls very well. Control layout is very similar to Everspace, another recent title involving space-based combat. You’re given full control of both rotation and movement along each axis. I’ve mentioned it in other reviews, but this one factor is key in making this genre work. Your ship can can include up to two primary weapon slots along with a secondary weapon. Your primary weapons will fire in tandem, though each feature their own energy or ammo gauge. The secondary weapon is reserved for missile systems or a mining laser. The mining laser does bring with it one odd implementation choice. It can only be used during exploration missions and will not function at all during primary story missions. However it must be manually equipped and unequipped in order to swap it out for missiles. I’d regularly start up a story mission only to realize that I had left the mining laser equipped, which would result in a non-functioning secondary weapon. One would think that the mining laser could simply be given its own button or automatically swapped in for exploration missions, since that is the only time its useable.
On the graphical front, things generally hold up pretty well. Ships, effects, and most of the environments look good weather playing docked or handheld. Frame rate can certainly be an issue when large explosions fill the screen. While it is rare that these instances have an actual effect on gameplay, it can certainly happen. Resolution remains quite sharp in both configurations, so I do wonder if a more dynamic approach to resolution could address these occasional performance issues. There are also certainly areas of environments, such as asteroids, that show their mobile origins. Secondary environmental details like these often sport a lower polygon count, as well as blurry texture work. It’s clear that most of the details went into the ships, which while excusable, does stand out when playing on a television rather than a smartphone.
Subdivision Infinity DX is a functional 3D Space Shooter that handles great but does absolutely nothing to define itself. It serves as yet another example of a game that in the mobile space exhibits above average effort, yet falls firmly into the realm of mediocrity when ported to a full console. There is certainly some fun to be had here, but it is all fun that has been done better by other 3D space shooters on Switch.