Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A sneak preview of Doctor Who Infinity

Following the success of Doctor Who Legacy, Tiny Rebel Games are releasing a new game this spring: Doctor Who Infinity. We were recently invited to see the game in action and boy were we excited by what we saw.

The first thing you’ll notice about playing Doctor Who Infinity is that it is much more story driven. This is not a game you play casually now and then when your brain is half on auto-pilot. It’s not just a game; it’s an experience. Each story brings a brand new adventure for the Doctor and his companions, featuring both new aliens and some familiar faces. With beautiful artwork and voiceover storytelling, the result is a mix of Doctor Who Legacy, Doctor Who comics and Big Finish audios.
The gameplay is similar to Doctor Who Legacy – moving coloured gems around to create groups – but taken to the next level. Rather than just trying to build up points to defeat the enemy, each level presents new missions that require you to play slightly differently. Whether it’s trying to stop objects falling, summoning reinforcements or destroying the advancing enemies, you have to plan your moves strategically and then watch as the action unfolds on screen – like chess, but with more Daleks.

If this sounds too challenging, don’t panic. Tiny Rebel Games have learnt from their previous experience and made the game accessible to everyone. Since the game is more focussed on narrative, Tiny Rebel want people to be able to enjoy the story without being unable to finish it. It is still challenging, but not impossible.

The in-game screen makes full use of the space, showing a bigger, simplified grid, giving it a fresh, clean look. with the beautiful artwork integrated into it, reminding you that this is part of a story.
One thing that I was especially pleased about was the news that the dreaded time limits from Doctor Who Legacy are now replaced with move limits, making it fair for the less nimble players. There are tutorial levels for each new challenge in the game to make sure the player knows what they are doing and there are achievements to reward those who complete the levels in certain ways.

As someone who likes more strategic themed games, the format of Doctor Who Infinity really excites me. I was able to establish quite quickly how each level worked and became invested in the story, feeling like I was actually trying to complete a mission rather than just repeatedly matching up gems. I suspect the format of Doctor Who Infinity will keep players engaged and wanting to follow the story to its conclusion.

As I’ve said, the main focus of the game is the stories, so let’s take a look at the first two.

Set in Paris, France, the first story, The Dalek Invasion of Time, is a Twelfth Doctor story featuring Michelle Gomez as Missy, alongside Ingrid Oliver as Osgood and Bella Ramsey as a new villain, Freya. The story is written by George Mann, who has written several Doctor Who novels; drawn by Mike Collins, who has worked on Doctor Who comics; and coloured by Kris Carter, who has also worked on Doctor Who and Torchwood comics.

That’s an impressive set of talent, and while I’m not a big fan of Missy, I couldn’t help but enjoy her in this game. Her pantomime villain charm and manic sense of humour brings a great deal of fun to the game as she tries to help the Doctor in her own crazy way.

The game features a new race of aliens called the Tyrellians and even some newly designed Daleks. At one point in the game, you also play as the Daleks, which is a great twist, as you have to try and empathise with the enemy to complete their goals.

The second story, The Orphans of the Polyoptra, is a Third Doctor story narrated by Jo Grant herself, Katy Manning. It’s a perfect choice, as Manning’s familiar voice is so enticing and brings a great sense of nostalgia. The story is written by Gary Russell, who is a well known figure in the Whoniverse, having worked on the show itself, Big Finish audios, Doctor Who books and Doctor Who magazine. The art is by David Roach, inker of comic strips for DWM and coloured by Dylan Teague, artist and colourist for Doctor Who magazine.

The second story feels very much like a classic Who story, to the point where it’s even told in a four-part arc, referencing the format of the show during the Third Doctor’s era. As you can see from the cover, the Menoptera are back, which made me very excited. They are one of those aliens that looked ridiculous on television, but look stunning when drawn, so it’s nice to see them get another outing.

The real key to the both of these stories is that they are written, drawn and animated by people who love Doctor Who – and it shows. The style, the small details and the references all tie it into the show and make it feel that bit more exciting. For example, the second story features Jo Grant’s grandson, Santiago, who only appeared in one episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It’s that kind of commitment to continuity that is really impressive.
We can expect the stories that follow to feature other Doctors and no doubt more classic aliens combined with new characters. This is really exciting considering the vast array of characters from the series available and the endless possibilities for stories. If the first two are anything to go by, I think we can look forward to some exciting adventures ahead.

Overall, the game is definitely a more mature follow up to Doctor Who Legacy. It’s darker, with a greater emphasis on story and drawing the player into the narrative. The artwork is stunning and the stories are so engaging – to the point where I was sad to leave the demo because I was desperate to know how the second story ended.

Tiny Rebel Games have produced something quite special with this game and I’m sure that many Whovians will have hours of fun playing it. You can learn more about the game, scheduled to launch in August, by accessing its page on the Steam website. There’s still several months until Series 11 and this game is the perfect way to get your Doctor Who fix.

[Source: Tiny Rebel Games ]