Over the weekend I slipped on the hard hat and hi-vis jacket of a structural analyst investigating damage to a hydroelectric dam and drainage tunnels along a river in Infra [official site]. It's a first-person explore-o-adventure game with puzzles to solve and large infrastructure projects to admire. I'm not one for puzzling but I did hugely wandering through these industrial installations, snapping pictures of damage and hazards for my report. I was playing now because developers Loiste Interactive have announced the third and final episode will launch this Wednesday and wow, a disaster sure is coming to the city of Stalburg.
First, back to my wanderings. Infra opens in our consulting group's open with a co-worker's presentation of our mission: assessing current state of water-related infrastructure in the Stalburg region.
I was genuinely delighted to discover that was my mission, and that my button prompts were to advance slides. These low-key, real-world scenarios are so rare in games.
I was sent to assess a dam but first, I explored the offices. The architecture is excessive.
The IT team are WILD.
The office art is... perfect.
After faffing around for ages, probing every corner of the offices, I set out to the river. It is delightful. I examine a damaged bridge.
I perhaps make a damaged hydroelectric dam worse through something I believe might have been an optional puzzle.
And rather than reveal everything I saw, I'll just say I snapped a lot of screenshots.
Infra is also a puzzle game, one with lots of puzzles involving switches, buttons, levers, and keys. They are, unsurprisingly, largely to do with wiring and mechanical systems. They involve following startup procedures or shutting systems down, figuring out ways into places, and generally poking around. I do not enjoy many of them but I at least appreciate they're thematically appropriate. I have several times paused because I couldn't be arsed with a puzzle, only to return because I wanted to keep exploring. I enjoy this enough that I'm willing to solve puzzles, which is rare for me.
Given the game's technical focus, it's no surprise that Loiste seem to think a lot about placing wires and pipes, but I'm glad that they do. Some places have efficient and tidy wiring with cable clips aplenty, while others are messes. Pipes seem to connect and lead places. It feels right. I do enjoy the balance between the industrial and nature, those places being maintained and those overrun and reclaimed.
Infra also has a lot of optional bits. Photographing damage isn't strictly necessary but you can be sure I documented every crack, leak, spark, hole, collapse, and safety report. Plenty of its puzzles are optional too, there to tease the brain and expand the story. Stalburg's key infrastructure is possibly built on corruption and conspiracy, see, and I have enjoyed feeling out some of its mysteries.
I've not quite finished the second episode of Infra yet, but I am certainly astonished to see quite how bad things will get by episode 3. This new trailer is... did I do that?
Infra: Part 3 is due out this Wednesday. The full game costs £18.99/€22.99/$24.99 on Steam. I'm hoping to catch up in time for the finale's launch, and perhaps you might too.