released on Jan 15, 2016

Infra is an atmospheric and completely non-violent first-person puzzle/adventure that deals with the issues of deteriorating infrastructure. The player controls an ordinary structural analyst through abandoned factories, forgotten tunnels and unsafe buildings in a dangerous, crumbling industrial city and its surrounding rural areas. Along the way, the player will be taking photos of structural weaknesses, solving environmental puzzles and unravelling a thought-provoking story centered around corruption and deception.

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One of my favorite games. peak. Incredible vibes if you like urban exploration, walking sims, or documenting and fixing neglected infrastructure. The game doesn't track completion of its puzzles so if you find missing things frustrating you're probably gonna want to have a guide open.

Okay, where do I even start... This game is really weird.

Why is it so long?

No, really. The question is not even out of annoyance. I actually don't think I've played a linear, almost seamless game that long. Especially when you consider how all events happen during one single day, the game feels like it purposefully drags time. Howlongtobeat says it takes 22 hours to complete it, it took me 18 hours, but I was just skipping a lot at some points, so the truth must be somewhere in between. There are some walkthroughs on YouTube that are 5-6 hours long, but that's just bullshit.

Why is it so long?

Lots of things that made you enjoy the game in the beginning become more and more annoying as time goes on. Source is great for such environments, yet the more time you spend underground, the more painful it is to look at. The game regains some of its momentum in the latter chapters, but again, you spend a lot of time in the dark. This is actually part of a bigger issue I have with the game...

I kinda hate the protagonist. His obsession with undeground sewers, tunnels and wasting time becomes more and more obvious the further you play, because why the fuck is he even doing half the stuff he's doing? Why is he so reluctant to just go back to the office? I generally don't like when games put you in situations where there's obviously an easy way out, but it's not achievable due to gameplay or story limitations. That's just bad design. You could've avoided doing that as a developer, but you still did. There were at least 3 or 4 times where the protagonist was LITERALLY outside and could just get the taxi or walk to the office instead of wasting everyone's time, but noooo. He has to climb back to the sewers while the city is falling apart (partly because of him, btw). It's actually crazy. Why are you doing all this??? Just go to the fucking office! You can literally climb over the fence or break the glass door. Instead, you just have to go back underground and waste time doing god knows what. "I don't get paid enough for this shit!!" my brother in Christ, YOU can't get your ass back in the office and prefer to crawl through the sewers. You're in a prison of your own making. And probably smell like shit. The epitome of that is the moment in Chapter 9 when Mark's colleagues just took a helicopter while he was crawling through some trashed and abandoned buildings (once again) and reached the power plant faster (and cleaner). Though the point can be made that he's just THAT bad at his job, always doing anything but what's really necessary. Or that his colleagues really do hate him that much.

And what's with the voice? Sorry, I know it's really subjective, but the guy's voice is fucking obnoxious. Almost uncanny. Even at the start of the game, it feels like everyone talks normally, but he sounds like he just learned to talk yesterday. Or like he's a robot. He is overacting, his emotions sound so fake, and for god's sake, why do you have to make all these comments and "witty" remarks about everything with your annoying voice shuuut the fuuuck uuuup!!!

Why is it so long?

There are obviously thematic reasons for such a slow pace. I guess. It touches on lots of stuff like corruption, the government's and executives' lack of accountability, the divide between white and blue collars, ecology and the importance of proper maintenance. There are moments when you enter a really long hallway, and it becomes obvious that the slowness and tedium are there on purpose. In fact, I kinda like that, it works. But the game is inconsistent in the ways it presents its themes through the gameplay and sometimes the movements and puzzles are just boring, repetitive, or easier solved by trial and error. And there are so many moments that are just dumb. Are you really telling me that the guy who spends hours easily jumping across abandoned facilities cannot climb over the fence or roadblock, swim, survive a 2-meter jump, or just break something? You don't have to be Gordon Freeman to be able to do that. This feels weird considering the number of times he straight-up breaks in and trespasses on someone's property, but I digress.

Why is it so long?

At some point I started thinking, "Is this some kind of office clerk's idea of an adventure?" And kinda yeah, that's exactly what it is. Dungeon crawling, solving puzzles, exploring creepy places, but in real life and as a part of a job. Yet there's still something really strange and frustrating about this game that I can't really put my finger on. It's definitely unique, it doesn't feel like other walking simulators or puzzle games. I wish there was no score to this review because I don't actually hate it. There definitely was a vision and I respect that. It just left me really frustrated. Make of that what you will.

I want to preface what I'm about to say with the fact that if you like puzzle games where you must entirely find the solution yourself without any hints then this is the game for you. There's more than enough of that to spend hours on.

With that being said, those of you who are like me and want some semblance of (video game) logic toward a conclusion in puzzles, Infra is a test of frustration. For the handful of hours I got through this, every puzzle I found was met with a sense of dread and calling it quits for the day.

The way puzzles are structured are fairly straightforward. You walk into a location, are met with infrastructure that's in serious disrepair, and need to fix it to progress. That's all the guidance you get outside of the odd note here and there. As such, puzzles are less about finding the correct solution and more about finding whatever it is the game wants. To me, that process is grating and makes me feel like I'm walking in circles finding that one thing I didn't interact with.

I completely understand why the developer did this. They wanted Infra's puzzles to feel as realistic as possible, at least within the ability to actually complete them. On the front of uniqueness, there's few games with puzzles quite like it. It's just not for me and, judging by the fact 35% of people have gotten just under halfway through the game, it's not for a lot of people.

Though outside of things that could arguably come down to personal tastes, the voice acting for this game is laughably bad. It's mostly due to Finnish voice actors not speaking their native language which isn't the fault of the actors themselves, but it does make any line delivered feel unnaturally wooden. I almost considered swapping the language at times and just reading the subtitles, which is tough since I tend to have a tough time putting subtitles to emotion.

For what it's worth, there are things Infra gets right. Its world is gorgeous and arguably some of the best Source 1 content we've ever gotten. It also has decent music whenever it interjects. For my tastes though, it isn't enough to carry the experience. I really wish I could love this game as much as other people do, but the only way I see myself playing without losing my sanity is to look up all the puzzle solutions. Not super interested in that idea.

I think this deserves a port to modern consoles more than any other game. I don't know why but walking around in this game, looking at the scenery, it just puts me in a mood. Fucking love this fucking thing yeahhhhhh.

the most finnish eurojank source adventure game i think i've ever played (positive). even if the puzzles feel like kind of a slog at times, and the battery drain mechanic is kind of just an annoyance (luckily, you can edit the configs to decrease the rate that it drains, or just turn it off completely), every environment has an endless amount of care put into it and the photography helps to incentivize you to explore every little crevice you can, find every document and easter egg.

i do wish it was made a bit more obvious at times which path leads you to the next area and which is optional, because there are multiple times where i'll walk into a hallway thinking it's more map only to be met with a level transition. still, i'll definitely replay this at some point, maybe check out the surprising wealth of fan-mods too. i like this game quite a bit, even through the tedium.

Wow, where do I even start? This game is so unique and definitely not for everyone. But if you can get absorbed into this game like I did, you won't stop thinking about it.

The exploration is amazing due to the simply beautiful world design and stunning, picturesque moments. I've played some games that look really good with their fancy schmancy graphics, but this one's different. I took 65 screenshots while playing because the game looked amazing and I wanted to capture the moment. I think the Source engine helps it here, creating a sort of creepy yet alluring atmosphere throughout the whole game.

The game is long, it could be seen as a 20-30 hour walking simulator. But it's really more of an exploration-puzzle game. The only downside is that some of the puzzles are obscure or easily missable and I had to use a walkthrough for many sections in the game. Without the walkthrough I would've spent a dozen more hours wandering aimlessly. It can also be hard to remember what keys you have. The game would've really benefited from an inventory, or even a simple list of keys.

The game is pretty funny too, some of the things Mark says, but also the actual story. Like, this guy had the craziest fucking day at the office. Once you think you've seen it all, Infra keeps throwing new locations at you that get bigger and better as you get further into the game.

If you can deal with a slow-burning game, try out Infra. The gameplay is slow, yet the pacing is anything but.