App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Ah, parallel universes. The idea that an infinite number of realities exist with an infinite number of differences, both large and small. Like in every episode of Sliders or that one of Futurama where the professor creates a gateway into another universe where the results of coin flips end differently. About the only other concept that's more confusing it time travel, really. It can be a tough subject to take on, but Tin Man Games seems to be to handle it just fine.
Infinite Universe is a rather significant departure from the developer's more typical releases in a couple of key ways. First, it's all sci-fi, all the time. Aliens and advanced technology, not magic and dragons. Aside from the theme change it's every bit a Gamebook Adventure, with plenty of reading, book-marking, die-rolling, and decision-making along the way. It's also their first attempt at a free-to-play release, offering players the option to play through the first part as many times as they'd like but gating off the other five with in-app purchases. Each of these chapters can be purchased individually or all at once for a reduced price.
I have to admit I was somewhat surprised by just how lengthy this first chapter is. Knowing full well that the bulk of the Gamebook isn't available without a purchase I was expecting to get maybe ten minutes worth of adventure on before finding myself back at the main menu. Nope. There's a pretty significant chunk of content here, and it can be replayed as many times as a player wishes in order to try for different results. And, as per usual, significant scenes are accompanied by some fantastic hand-drawn illustrations.
While I can totally understand what Tin Man Games was aiming for with their free-to-play model, I can't help but feel like they may have chosen a bad place to cut things off. The first chapter is certainly full of various paths to take and choices to make, but everything ends once the player finishes generating their character. It feels like a mean-spirited tease, in a way. The language used in the writing also felt a bit out of place, with characters (this is sci-fi set beyond the year 3000, remember) using words like "whilst" all the time. It just feels kind of awkward to me.
Nitpicks about the brevity and script aside, Infinite Universe is a welcome addition to Tin Man Games' portfolio. The change of theme is nice, and the new free-to-play model finally gives everyone a chance to see what all the fuss is about before parting with their finances. If the first chapter is any indication, it's going to be an adventure well worth taking.