When you see the initial marketing and footage for Maximum Games new snowboarding title Mark McMorris Infinite Air it’s difficult not to draw comparisons to the much lauded Skate franchise by EA. This comes primarily due to the fact that the control scheme is built largely around inputs made via the analog sticks and triggers rather than the face buttons on the controller.
Much like Skate, Infinite Air is relatively easy to pick up and play but difficult to master. Both games took some time playing in order to rewire the brain into this new way of playing, to the point where now it seems like the only logical method.
Unfortunately for Infinite Air this is where the similarities end.
Where Skate had a steep learning curve it always felt like you were slowing learning from your mistakes. With Infinite Air however once you take off from a jump it feels like a pure game of chance as to whether you will land a trick or not as you seemingly have very little body control midair. This is particular evident once you begin experimenting with the more complex flip and barrel roll trick sets. These complex tricks require you to combine the triggers with the analog sticks prior to a jump to “charge” the rotations but once airborne you have very little control over the outcome.
Game mode wise Infinite Air is also rather limited with an open mountain to explore, a series of challenge modes and finally a community generated content section. This create-a-park section may be the most intriguing feature of the game. If the community thrives they may be able to create some very compelling parks as they build with challenging controls in mind.
Whilst Infinite Air is a very nice game to look at graphically it sadly just doesn’t have the polish it really should. One example of this is the respawn mechanic which will often place you back onto a flat piece of the mountain with no momentum or even worse a never ending crash loop. Another is the repetitive, frustrating gameplay loop which when combined with the incredibly difficult controls only leads to frustration rather than fun.