Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon – Infinite Combate is one hell of a long video game title, isn’t it? It’s a bit ridiculous really, but what else would you expect from a video game based upon an anime series that quite literally lives up to its title, with protagonist Bell advised by his Grandfather to adventure through dungeons in order to pick up some hot babes? I’ve probably made it sound a bit seedier than it actually is there, with the anime actually a pretty enjoyable and action-orientated affair. Infinite Combate (we’re not using the full title!!) makes for a good time too, even if it is a little simple in design.
Infinite Combate re-tells the first season of the anime series, with protagonist Bell finding himself falling head-over-heels for a brave adventurer named Aiz who rescued him from the wrath of a minotaur. See, Bell was adventuring a little further into the dungeon than he should have been, with his world one that’s tied to various gods that have taken form in the human world to encourage them to become adventurers. They even level up along the way, with their stats and levels actually addressed in the real world… neat, huh? With the aim to win Aiz’s heart in his sights, Bell looks to become the most powerful adventurer in the land, all whilst encountering an array of other ladies that seem to be constantly trying to woo him along the way.
The story plays out across visual novel style sequences, so you can expect to do plenty of reading in-between all of the game’s dungeon-crawling. There is some Japanese voice acting on offer in some of these sequences so there is an air of authenticity in place that fans of the anime are sure to appreciate, though the fact that animations are limited to facial movements only with the characters does make everything feel a little bit static on the visual front. There’s no doubting that the story remains true to the anime with how events play out though, so returning fans will be happy to re-live the story of Bell and Aiz once more. There are even some story events that are unique to the game to be encountered too, giving players an additional outlook on the series’ characters as well as what’s going on behind the scenes in the world.
The action of Infinite Combate takes place in the titular dungeons, with players leading either Bell or Aiz through an assortment of hazardous environments as they look to take enemies down. Combat itself is fairly simple in design, with players able to utilise a quick attack, a slower but more powerful attack, and a dodge to swiftly move out of the way of any danger. Magic attacks also come into the mix to give players a boost or the chance to unleash damage from range, whilst supporting party members who join you in a dungeon have abilities that can be used to dish out some hard-hitting attacks on your foes when charged.
It’s all very simple in design and accessible from the get-go, with most enemies going down fuss-free as long as you mash away at them with a string of successive attacks. Bosses can offer a bit more of a challenge, but as long as you track their movements and figure out their attack patterns they can be pretty straightforward to conquer too. It’s certainly a basic experience as far as action-RPG battling is concerned, with little in the way of grinding required to progress. Ok, I am probably selling it a little short there because some enemies will attack in mobs and you’ll often have to isolate them in order to take them out harm-free, but you’ll still never really feel like the odds are stacked against you.
As you beat up enemies, crawl through dungeons, and complete side quests, you’ll earn skill points that can be spent to improve your stats. Alternatively, you can boost your capabilities by purchasing new equipment and upgrading it, which is a quick and effective means to boost your defensive or offensive capabilities. Much like Infinite Combate’s combat mechanics, it’s all very simple in design and doesn’t offer the depth seen in similar titles, but it doesn’t stop it from being a satisfying means to improve your characters. The simplicity of the game can actually work in Infinite Combate’s favour and I constantly found myself doing ‘one more dungeon run’ throughout my playthrough of the roughly twelve-hour campaign, with the enemy variety and boss battles making each dungeon run feel fairly varied in design (even if the dungeon layouts themselves weren’t always packed to the brim with personality).
Interestingly, when you beat the main story of Infinite Combate you unlock the ‘Extra Mode’, which adds an extra emphasis on dating into the gameplay… the clue is in the game’s name really, isn’t it? In ‘Extra Mode’, you pretty much do more of the same dungeon-crawling you’d have done in the main game, except this time around you unlock Date Points which can be utilised to unlock additional scenes with datable characters, with some sweet, silly, and risqué sequences available for players to uncover. It adds something extra for players to dive into post-completion and the additional scenes will certainly feel worthwhile for fans of the anime. It does add an extra focus on grinding to get those Date Points though, so expect to do a LOT more dungeon-crawling if you want to see everything that Infinite Combate has to offer post-completion.
Between everything that’s on offer, Infinite Combate does give players a fun experience based around the anime series – however, it does have a few imperfections that prevent it from striving towards anime-adaptation greatness. For one, there were plenty of typos to be found in the game’s text, whilst some sentences didn’t always make full sense. In fairness, this doesn’t ruin the experience in any way, but they will certainly be noticeable when working through the visual novel sequences of the game. Then there’s the fact that the combat and adventuring mechanics are very basic in design, with a focus placed on button-mashing and just picking the right moment to dodge. Again, this doesn’t make the game feel bad by any stretch of the imagination, but those hoping for some depth or challenge with the game might find themselves a little underwhelmed by the simplicity of it all.
Infinite Combate offers a charming and enjoyable adaptation of the anime series, even if its gameplay elements are all very simple in design. Whilst the combat mechanics are fun and the visual novel-style storytelling engaging, it always feels like there’s a little something missing; not enough to make Infinite Combate feel like a bad game, but enough to make it feel inferior to its action-RPG counterparts.
Still, there’s certainly a good time to be had with Infinite Combate, especially if you’re a fan of the anime series. This your first-time experiencing Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Well, it’s a good place for beginners to start with too, with its re-telling of the anime’s first season offering everything you need to get totally absorbed into its wonderful yet wacky fantasy world.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC