Nimbus Infinity Review – Cloudy With A Chance Of Missile Rain

Do you like giant robots? Well, get in the cockpit because 2023 seems to be full of them. And here we have a high-speed mecha action game from indie outfit Gamecrafter Team and publisher GameTomo.

Nimbus Infinity, the sequel to Project Nimbus, understands the appeal of strapping young teens into a life-and-death situation, delivering an anime-esque story campaign and large-scale battles. But the lack of polish and extra oomph stops it from being an easy recommendation for mecha enthusiasts of all kinds.

Make no mistake, there’s fun to be had in Nimbus Infinity, it just comes with a bunch of caveats and requires a measured expectation before going in to really get the most out of it.

Presentation

Nimbus Infinity is set in a near-future world where we are this close to a fully unified world government, but the powers that be continue to wage war not only in the air, but outer space, using their extravagant space fleet and mechas, the Battle Frames.

The battle space in each encounter is huge, not only to make room for your big giant robot, but also the many, many adversaries that can appear on-screen. The catch, is that you rarely see them up-close. So there are just a speckle of pixels that somehow you have to shoot down using your arsenal of weapons. But that’s where the cool bit appears, when you lock-on to enemies, there’s a picture-in-picture frame zoomed into them, so you can make out in some form who you’re fighting and if your shots hit them or not.

And there’s more. Enemies, just like you, can fire off missiles upon missles, filling the clouds with smoke, sparks and miscellaneous particles that can bring down the frame rate. No really, even on a higher-mid-range gaming PC (13th-gen Intel Core i7, Nvidia RTX 4060 Laptop) the game couldn’t really keep up with the sheer amount of bombardment being displayed on screen at one time.

When in the thick of a firefight, it’s just sensory overload in the best way. Beeping alarms kindly letting you know missiles are heading your way so please get out of dodge. The jumpscare when you hear bullets hit the frame signifying that there’s an enemy mecha near you and you should sift through the madness and spotthem quick. The constant bickering of radio chatter that may or may not be a lore dump or a tutorial message adds even more to the chaos, for better or worse.

However, there is one lacking thing about the audio, the boost sounds. What, no big booms when you hit the boost? The one cool thing about piloting big mechas is the satisfying boost sounds that Nimbus Infinity disappointingly lacks. It’s so soft, and barely audible. It could’ve been done better to really punctuate the massive speed spike you get when pressing the left trigger, but alas, it was not to be.

Similarly, laser weapons, which they are plenty, doesn’t really make much sound, which is annoying. The best thing about mech/mecha games is that immense feedback you get when piloting a hulking piece of metal carrying weapons of mass destruction. In that aspect, Nimbus Infinity lacks punch.

The cutscenes, delivered in a mix of in-game scenes and visual novel-style presentations, feature full voice acting, and it’s good to see the voice actors giving them their all in the performance. And the music goes hard in a good handful of instances.

One major gripe I have in Nimbus Infinity is the subpar UI. There are good aspects, like having a small video to demonstrate the new action being introduced. But the text placement is off, sometimes overflowing off-screen. The game uses long descriptive words to describe a controller button than just show the corresponding controller button like most games would have done. Navigating the spaceship during the story campaign is weird as you’re not sure what is highlighted and what is clickable. The UI, and UX, could have used more love, it feels off when navigating the menus as it is right now.

But you can pilot Warspite in the first person from the cockpit view, though. That’s a cool touch.

Gameplay

Nimbus Infinity sees you pilot the Nimbus Frame named Warspite. The campaign sees tofu delivery kid Taiyou Iwata somehow stumbled into a stumbled Warspite, with its main pilot injured. Now he’s being asked to get into the robot and voluntarily join the military in some conflict. Not a bad way to celebrate New Year’s Day.

Nimbus Infinity is a mecha game where your mecha constantly floats. You don’t quite have six degrees of freedom here, but you can float higher or lower with button presses, and you’re not babying a limited energy meter.

There’s only one weapon button though, but you can cycle through up to four weapons via a weapon wheel.

Controlling Warspite is good, but crank that controller sensitivity just a bit more and it becomes this utter weapon that zips around and can turn fast while boosting. The movement is nailed down.

The combat itself, unfortunately, isn’t up to snuff, at least for me. It’s cool that all weapons are projectile-based, but you really have to use the lock-on to do any sort of damage. Manual aiming isn’t viable. Not because the aiming sucks, no, but the scale of battle here means that for the most part, your targets are usually way off the screen as just a speckle of pixel. And by the time you’re near them, the field of view is so large that you only see a mecha of your size looking really tiny up close. And that’s if you can see them stay still long enough to actually see them because they’re not.

The combat will see you constantly boosting to dodge incoming missiles and lasers, locking on to targets, and then circle-strafe and moving ever closer to the ideal range of your weapon of choice. At its best, it’s like fighter planes dogfighting in the air, where it’s a constant game of cat-and-mouse. At its worst, you just spray and pray hoping that the shots land and you don’t get overwhelmed by the arsenal of missiles and lasers being thrown at you that are just so many I don’t even think it’s possible to dodge any of them.

You do have a melee button, but unfortunately it’s kind of lame. Not damage-wise, it does decent damage apparently. But you wouldn’t know it because the animation looks iffy, attacks don’t seem to connect yet they deal damage and again, there’s no “oomph” to it all.

You can customise the Warspite, but you can pick a loadout of weapons for the four slots, and even change the weapon’s colours. Unfortunately, I don’t find any of the alternative weapon choices to be any good than the default ones. Plus, the default loadout has the least weight, hence making the mecha faster, so if you want to push for that build you don’t need to, that’s by default. Also, there should be a way to save a loadout so you don’t have to pick all the weapons again, and worse, do the custom paint jobs again. But there isn’t.

The campaign does have heart though. Every mission has an interesting gimmick, showing how well versed the developers are in what makes mecha cool. From fighting in the clouds to a one-on-one duel with a pilot as strong as you in space, the missions always have a strong hook to them which is nice to see. Shoutout to the one level with the giant overbooster, which definitely screams Armored Core For Answer. If only navigating to the objective wasn’t a pain. Again, the game’s UI isn’t fool-proof, so you have to pay attention to a small, grey text that may or may not be in your field of view to keep yourself from getting lost at sea.

While the developer team’s ambition is there, it’s just unfortunate the execution doesn’t do it justice. The design can feel sloppy at times. There was supposed to be a victory lap moment, but it becomes a trial by fire as you are thrown into an unfamiliar loadout and must face impossible odds. There were also encounters where they were just, too, many, bloody, lasers, everywhere, and I have no idea how I as a player is supposed to deal with all of this. While there are barrages upon barrages of missiles need to be avoided. And the characters kept rambling on some exposition. And when I survived that encounter, albeit with lower difficulty, it left me perplexed at how did anyone ever pass that encounter without taking emotional damage.

And then, when the game displays mission complete, the game fades out, too quickly before whatever final line by a character currently speaking can finish, and then you suddenly go back to visual novel mode. The transitions between a mission end to the start of the hub segment is jarring, even a fake loading screen would have made it feel better.

Overall, the gameplay of Nimbus Infinity can be rough in the edges. But there is fun to be had if you can tolerate its shortcomings.

Content

Nimbus Infinity offers a story campaign that runs about five hours or less. It’s a decent romp, nothing too special about it.

There is also a Survival mode, where you can pick a loadout and attempt to survive a neverending onslaught of enemies.

It’s a small game with a small scope, so don’t expect too much. But as it is, the portion is just nice. At least the game isn’t padding for content.

Personal Enjoyment

2023 is the year a good amount of mech games are releasing, and now as the resident mech enjoyer, I have to check this game out. I need to get in the mood for the big one to arrive.

Nimbus Infinity frustrates me from time to time. The game crashes occasionally, there are so many aspects that need additional polishing, and early on, the game had a bug that impedes any progression in the first mission, which really put me off early on.

Now, despite the objective criticisms and genuine frustration I have had, this game is being made by a small indie team from Thailand, and understandably, the game dev scene over here still needs more time (investment) to grow.

For a small team to be able to ship this game is a massive feat. It’s fair to expect more polish, since it has been in Steam Early Access previously, but I’ll cut the GameCrafter Team some slack, in hopes that they take the criticisms here as feedback to make the game better, or better games in the future.

The mission design is enough to win me over, and the anime-as-anime-it-can-be story is dumb fun for me.

Verdict

Nimbus Infinity lives to be the high-speed mecha action game it wants to be. Albeit with some flaws. Its short but sweet story campaign should give mecha fans what they want, though the game lacks that “oomph” fans would expect from piloting giant metal beasts.

Don’t expect Nimbus Infinity to be a great mecha game, but the thrills it provides come from a team that loves mecha as much as any mecha fan is.

Played on PC. Review key provided by the publisher

6.5

Nimbus Infinity

Don't expect Nimbus Infinity to be a great mecha game, but the thrills it provides come from a team that loves mecha as much as any mecha fan is.

  • Presentation 6.5
  • Gameplay 6.5
  • Content 6
  • Personal Enjoyment 7

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