BIG Festival Preview – Circa Infinity
Brazil’s Independent Games Festival came and went really fast for me. The biggest indie games festival of Brazil and Latin America started on June 27 and wraps on July 7 (one day before our Patreon release!), where many games, Brazilian or not, were exhibited as a part of the event. Fortunately, I had the chance to go and play many upcoming games which I’ll be writing about during the week, so make sure to stay tuned. Circa Infinity was the first contact I had with any game there, so why not start with it?
Developed by a graduate from NYU named Kenny Sun, Circa Infinity was a finalist in the Best Gameplay category. The puzzle game offers twitch gameplay mixed with circular platforms, dressed mostly in black and white pixel art. The player controls a character – who can be either a boy or a girl – on these circular platforms and has to spin them around and find the right spot to flip to the inner side of the circle and headbutt a floating ball. This ball then opens itself as another circle with a new ball inside of it, and the character must begin again on a new circular platform where the process must be repeated until the end of the stage.
There are also monsters inside these circles that stand still, move around, fly, jump, and even flip between the inner and outer parts of the circle. Boss stages and worlds where I had to play with two characters at the same time revealed a frenetic and highly dynamic gameplay, which made things both interesting and difficult at the same time. Since there are no collectibles, upgrades, or anything similar, I could only rely on my own focus and reflexes to avoid touching these monsters. Fortunately, touching a monster just meant going back to the circle before the one I died in.
Due to the game’s art, at a certain point my eyes got tired and I had to stop playing. The game is intense, requires a lot of focus, and the way the colors are mixed is hypnotic, which made the stages a bit visually tiring after some time. On the other hand, many of the game’s positive qualities derive from the art style as well, so I see this problem as intrinsic to the game’s concept and idea.
In fact, the real catch of Circa Infinity‘s gameplay is not the controls themselves and how well they respond to input, but the skills that very few games require nowadays without peripherals, like quick reflexes and heavy focus. Putting these skills to the test in a visually immersive game took me to a higher level of interaction with it. The frenetic soundtrack also helps to set an intense mood.
The high difficulty makes it hard to gauge the game’s length, as it will greatly vary based on a player’s skills, patience and attention. As I said before, it’s a game that requires focus, so without it there’s a very small chance to finish it quickly. The game doesn’t present a story, but there will be more than 40 levels to complete upon release.
Circa Infinity is unforgettable because of its craziness. I will always refer to it as one of the craziest games I’ve ever played. Although there’s not much to do after finishing it, I challenge speedrunners around the world to play it, and invite all readers to take a shot at the game. A free demo is already available at itch.io for PC and Mac, but the game’s release on Steam is not set yet; although it was approved on Steam Greenlight.