Ballpoint Universe: Infinite Review

Ballpoint Universe Infinite Wii U

Ballpoint Universe: Infinite is a fine example of Wii U owners being spoiled. Whenever I get a new game, I don’t always have control over the tv so I naturally play them Gamepad only. When I tried that today but couldn’t get anywhere, I initially thought, “How could Nintendo allow this broken game on the eShop?” It wasn’t until I stepped back and realized it might need both screens that I finally got to play. The result was an unexpected surprise shooter combined with a tedious and frustrating platformer.

Story

The story of Ballpoint Universe is a mystery at first. I’m actually still a little confused about the whole thing. It appears to be a war between doodles and “logical art” but there appears to be a twist in the end and yet it isn’t. If I sounded confusing right there, that’s exactly how it was. I did find some humor in the game, but I feel like mostly only computer programmers would understand since the lines were really a program script. Other than that, there isn’t much else to say other than the story tries to point you to the next mission, though sometimes it does a poor job on that as well.

Graphics

The art style is unique. I actually thought it was pretty cool. It has a high school doodle vibe and it works. You control perhaps the simplest doodle and fight against more artistic drawings that I wish I could draw. Okay, maybe there were only 2 enemy units that I thought were cool, but otherwise the idea works.

However, the rest of the world has its charm

However, the rest of the world has its charm

For the graphics, it mostly appears on the TV screen; sometimes with a dynamic camera while the gamepad has a simplified version in the form of a map. This map comes in handy for a variety of reasons. First, the graphics on the TV can be overwhelming and hide the path. Second, the viewing angle is too small for some platforming, though sometimes the gamepad doesn’t have it much better. Third, it helps you find the hidden Golden Sketches thanks to the usual wider view. The situation changes when you battle as more important detail is on the TV while only the combat is on the gamepad. I preferred the gamepad, but I would look at the TV for Health, Overload, and Ink.

Sound

When I first turned on the game and attempted my gamepad only play, I learned to appreciate sound. The game’s music may be run of the mill, but it works just fine. A game without sound is a less pleasant experience than one with decent music.

Gameplay

There was a time when you needed to discover on your own how to play. There was no 15 page long text tutorial, but instead you simply pressed buttons until you figured the system out. However, those days were accompanied by a physical manual you could turn to if necessary. Ballpoint Universe: Infinite does not even have the manual. While you can find out everything about gameplay you need to know by experimenting, I found the lack of a manual disheartening.

As I mention a few times over, the platforming is frustrating and tedious. Why do I repeat this? Because the game makes it so you won’t forget it. Since you can only reach your destination via platforming, you have to travel all over the world and if you get lost, then it is a nightmare. Some characters might mention where I needed to go, but it isn’t obvious where that place is exactly unless you remember some other character telling you “This is it.” This is even worse if you load a saved game. Right as I beat the game, my system froze for the first time since I bought it. When I reloaded my save file, I found I had to reopen some paths I had already done just to progress to the end again. If there was a shortcut, then I could not find it. On the bright side, the developer did insert a lot of save points to try and relieve the frustrations.

Where to go now?

Where to go now?

The highlight of the game is the shooter missions. You control a little ship with four customizable parts and shoot or slash through enemies and collecting ink. Sounds simple? It is, but I actually had fun with it. I would test myself on obtaining as much ink as possible without losing a life. If I failed to reach the Gold Status, I knew I could come back later with better weapons so I had no problems. Sure, the lack of a manual or tutorial made things a little confusing at first, but I eventually learned the controls and planned my goals for new equipment.

Ready? Go!

Ready? Go!

Once you beat a mission, you can replay it easily from the pause menu and obtain the bonuses. If you find the character who gave you the mission, then you can replay it that way as well. The big prize for each mission is a Gold Sketch which is obtained by having 5 lives at the end of the mission. I haven’t figured out if there is something special about collecting them all yet, but it’s fun collecting as it is.

Replayability

Since it’s easy to replay the missions once you unlock them, the game bears some replayability. While the developers tried to reward the tedious platforming by hiding Golden Sketches, there isn’t any joy left once you do find them, thus the easy Mission Replay is essential. If you tire of the missions, you can try the Infinite Wave challenge found in the Home Garden, which is where you start off when you load a game.

This sounds like a High School Student's daydream

This sounds like a High School Student’s daydream

 

Glitches

As I played through the game, there were a few occasions where I encountered some glitches. Only the freeze at the end forced me to shut down the Wii U. Some glitches actually helped me progress while one forced me to return to the “Home Garden” in order to progress. I also encountered a few occasions where the A button did nothing but it was fixed if I moved to a new area.

Overall

I was pleasantly surprised by Ballpoint Universe: Infinite. Sure, my expectations were low at first, but for a $5 game, this worked fairly nicely and better than some $15 games I’ve played. There is plenty to unlock, purchase, or levels to master. While the individual missions might be easy, you can try to go through the Infinite Wave challenge which you can find in your “Home Garden.” My recommendation is for sidescrolling shooters who are also patient platformers. If the developers decide to update the game, I believe it can greatly benefit from a wide area map option and being able to warp to old areas.

 

Ballpoint Universe: Infinite Review
While the score might not reflect it in someone's opinions, I did enjoy the game. It could use some work and updates, but the shooter gameplay was fun for me.
Story6.5
Graphics7.5
Sound7
Gameplay7
Replayability7.5
Pros
  • Shooter Gameplay
  • Ship Customization
  • Easy Access for Replay
Cons
  • Tedious Platforming
  • Occasional bad screen size
  • No
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0
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About The Author

Feature Writer/Game Reviewer

Blogger in the IGN community and no longer for Always Nintendo. You can find him still blogging in the IGN community as FalconRise