Infinite Dunamis Review (3DS eShop)

Kemco’s Infinite Dunamis is a JRPG developed alongside EXE-Create. Those who played previous Kemco/EXE-Create games like Alphadia and Unlucky Hero will find Infinite Dunamis to be quite familiar, but not so much in a good way as the same problems with smooth scrolling and confusing design remain intact. It would be nice to see a smoother outcome in future Kemco/EXE-Create titles, but these minor issues can be overlooked once you get the hang of things.

Infinite Dunamis follows the story of Luke, an orphan with a talent for engineering. He comes across a cyborg woman named Estelle when searching through a cave and thus his adventure begins. The premise of the game is very standard, but Infinite Dunamis tries to separate itself by incorporating science fiction. Sure, there are robots and cyborgs, but the fantasy element totally outweighs the science fiction and the end result is still “generic JRPG.”

I’ve played Kemco’s Asdivine Hearts, and although it fell to the similar generic JRPG fate as Infinite Dunamis, the game’s characters and their interactions endeared me. For some reason I didn’t feel the same with Infinite Dunamis. The characters interact and share conflict, but it’s not as amusing or interesting as in other JRPG titles. Following the usual trope of being an argumentative brat for the majority of the game, Luke is not particularly likeable. Of course, the characters will always pale in comparison to larger budget games such as Final Fantasy, but personality wise they do not hold up well even when compared to other Kemco titles which is a bit disappointing. The characters are in their usual “anime” JRPG style — detailed and nice to look at, but generic.

The story itself tasks you with defending the kingdom from an evil enemy and dealing with obstacles along the way. It can get quite mundane, however, as all of the caves, forests, and even the quests are similar. There’s not much to get you going as the first half of the game revolves entirely around gathering information, while the occasional cut scene pops in and only confuses matters by not really making much sense. The translation was a little disjointed in places, but I was still able to understand the dialogue.

The world map is handy and displays your target location on the lower screen. Using the map, you can visit the game’s various dungeons, complete quests and beat formidable bosses with the help of your team, and random turn-based battles keep your journey interesting. There are also a few strategies in place to mix up combat. For example, a bar shows the turn order of each character/enemy and also displays elements called Gaia Stones, which are randomly placed along it. The Gaia Stone affects whoever reaches it on the bar, which can work in your favor or against you. For example, you can get a full heal or receive an instant death. Some characters have the ability to manipulate the stones, however, but it’s difficult to incorporate a real strategy with them. Another element is the Accel Gauge, which is a little easier to understand. Once it fills up, a character is granted an instant turn in battle to unleash a special attack. It’s tedious work for not much in return, but can be combined with the Gaia Stone system, albeit with not much of a pay off for the time and effort involved. Success in battle earns you experience points, items and money. Enemies will sometimes drop crystals which Estelle can use to improve her stats or achieve random effects during battle.

Magic is learned by the character equipping a ring of its respective element, giving them work points and access to more spells. The use of magic depletes your Magic Power, so it’s up to you to decide when to use spells. Weapons become stronger the more you use them, so you’ll have to decide if it is best to keep an old weapon and make it strong, or ultimately get a new one that can provide new skills. The way in which weapons teach you new skills is interesting, as they require you to think about what you carry and how you spend time trying to find them.

The repetitive music seems unashamedly reminiscent of Pokémon and Final Fantasy at times, but it’s not terrible. There is an online feature to share your stats, but not much else in the way of extras or unlockables. That said, due to the various ways to develop characters through weapons and so on, the gameplay can last up to 20 hours or more – quite impressive for its $10 price tag.

Infinite Dunamis is a decent game with good intentions, but it fails to bring anything new or exciting to the already saturated JRPG market. The addition of the science fiction element is interesting, but it could have been much stronger in order to bring something different to the genre. Although it’s not going to win any points for originality, the game has some solid attributes such as good character progression in the form of its weapons and magic systems. The combat, story and character interaction leave a lot to be desired, but it’s all down to personal preference and expectations. I also feel the game could benefit from more online features such as playing alongside your friends in a team to gain EXP. Nonetheless, Infinite Dunamis is a decent way for JRPG fans to get their fix until the next big release comes along, especially with its large amount of gameplay and reasonable price.