INFRA by Loiste Interactive is, for me, a game about urban exploration — of a type where you also get to repair the damage and restore some of the locations you visit to their former glory. If you have ever done any urban exploration and liked it, then this is a must play. There’s a big conspiracy going on too, but, to be honest, I stopped following it as closely after a while, because I got totally engulfed in exploring the huge, mostly underground, meticulously recreated, abandoned complexes, some already beyond repair, and some waiting for you to come along and get them up and running again — or just pass by on your way towards greater goals.
You’ll be visiting water plants, a steel factory, freshwater tunnels, sewers, a saw mill, and so on… All the places that exist within a city’s infrastructure — but which you might never see from the inside while they are still in use — will be yours to freely roam around in. Remember to take breaks every now and then to avoid explorer’s coma. Beware the elevators and make sure to visit Mister Mörkö on your second+ playthrough. There is a lot of other bonus content too, so, if you want to make a difference later, don’t rush it.
If you have read any of my other reviews, it will come as no surprise that I, above all else, like exploring. If I also get a chance to handle or watching heavy machinery or even whole facilities, then that is a big plus. INFRA offers both of these! There’s both autosaving and manual saving (in the form of quicksaving and 4 slots (although I wish there had been a few more)), so you can try stupid shit while exploring without risking anything.
The game does have a few flaws and things I didn’t care so much for, but I still love it:
It’s like when she asks you why you always have that stupid grin on your face when the two of you meet, and maybe you can’t explain it, but deep down you know exactly why — or maybe you can explain it and you say it’s because you love her. She tells you all her flaws, but your grin is so huge now that you are almost making a face and she gets a little annoyed. You tell her how great she looks when she wakes up in the morning with no make-up on and her hair in a mess and she thinks you’re just pulling her leg, but you’re dead serious. You just want to hug her, but for some reason you don’t, and then she gets up to fix her hair and get ready for the day, so you do the same, and it’s off to work for both of you.
That’s what my love for INFRA is like: it makes me write silly, sentimental stuff on the internet for everyone to read…
On to the flaws: all these jokes about everyone being either an alcoholic or into special mushrooms got stale pretty soon. It did make me chuckle a bit the first time I saw it (employees at the dam were creating a scientific model for how to best cool a beer, and, even if I don’t drink myself, I find that sort of thing pretty funny, although it’s more about the use of complicated science to solve trivial tasks than the use of alcohol), but in the end it was just sad to see. It is quite possible that this was totally intentional and I’m not meant to like it, because of things I’m not going to spoil here, but, still, I’m not going to not mention it as a thing I didn’t like so much.
The game engine used (Source) is by many considered to be outdated, but the way the game looked didn’t bother me at all; I found the environments to be quite good looking, even beautiful. Then again, I was into DromEd (the editor for the original Thief games) long, long, looong after its “best before” date, so I’m still used to seeing much more outdated looks — and can enjoy them alongside with the looks created with more current engines.
The main character do have a kind of brutish charm in the way he delivers his lines, but he’s not much of an actor, and the voice acting in general is not the best, but acceptable. INFRA is not a dialogue-driven game, though, so it’s not a major issue in any way (I’ve heard better, but also a lot worse).