Come on, if you’re going to take a weapon into battle, a guitar is a damn good choice, right? They’re what you’re armed with in Infinite Guitars, the new release from developer Nikko Nikko that sees a rag-tag gang of heroes face off against giant mechs with nothing but their guitars to defend themselves with.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Infinite Guitars takes place in a world that has been devastated by a war against the mechs, with the remains of the land not leaving much for humanity to live off. You play as JJ, who adventures across with her grandfather, but would much rather simply spend her time shredding some riffs on her guitar. Things take an unfortunate twist for her though when her energy core (the thing that keeps people alive) is broken, meaning she has to replace it. This means embarking on a journey across the ravaged land, though this journey won’t be a simple one – especially with the mechs that’ll cause you problems along the way…

Whilst I enjoyed Infinite Guitars’ storytelling and world, it lacked the depth to feel as memorable as other RPGs. It has a Saturday Morning Cartoon kinda vibe to it, which is fine for the most part, but also meant it was a little hard to take the tale serious at times. You’ll bounce between different events like they’re nothing, whilst a lack of exposition in some sequences saw them falling flat rather than leaving a lasting impact on your journey. It’s fine for the most part (and the characters in the game are a likable bunch), but I did find it hard to engage with them and their plight at times.

Fortunately, the core gameplay loop is a lot more fun. Players will get to explore a variety of locales across the world, with each bringing with them scrap to grab (which gives you experience and can be used in multiple ways), hazards to evade, a few puzzles to solve, and, of course, enemies to battle. Each area feels good to explore, though the occasional tricky section might leave some players a little frustrated. Having to complete rhythm-based actions to open up some areas could get a little tiresome too, especially since there wasn’t much variety between them. For the most part, though? It’s cool to explore, whilst the vibrant variety of locales and slick visual style adds plenty of personality to the experience.

“It all ultimately boils down to performing the same sort of QTEs and rhythm-based actions over and over again, which might not really be for everyone.”

Then you have the battling, which certainly sparked a bit of excitement with its unique approach. Each showdown is turn-based, with the enemy typically going first unless the player managed to strike them first in the field. When an enemy takes their turn, it’s all about moving your character on a 2D screen to dodge their attack. Target reticules will appear that you can either run out of the way of or hit the dodge button to avoid, with a heavy emphasis based on quick reactions. In honesty, this can make some encounters feel a little easy – especially when you figure out the rhythm to avoid most attacks – though I still found it satisfying to successfully outmanoeuvre incoming attacks. That being said, the frequency where an enemy would hit two attacks in quick succession without giving you the opportunity to avoid both could be VERY annoying, with some battles getting a little unfair in this regard.

When it comes to attacking, everything you do is performed via QTEs that dictate how much damage you deal. When you’ve picked the character you want to attack with, a meter will fill up that you have to press a button to stop. The closer it is to 100%, the more effective your attack will be, but be warned: if you go past the 100% mark, it’ll reset back to 0% and fill again, putting a risk versus reward element in place where you have to decide the best approach to take. Honestly? It didn’t take too long before I figured out the best moment to stop the meter consistently, but again, it still felt good to hit those critical hits. Alternatively, some attacks take a Guitar Hero-style approach with players having to mash or hold buttons as they move across the screen, which will probably feel familiar to anyone who has played an instrument-based rhythm game before. It’s a neat idea, though it never does anything too complex to test your skills that much.

I really enjoyed the combat in the game, whilst I haven’t even mentioned how stylish it looks with the colourful hand-drawn visuals and over-the-top actions. However, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get a little bit repetitive the longer you play. I’m a fan of rhythm-based games so it never felt boring, but you will be doing a lot of the same things over and over again in battle. Some cool ideas are introduced such as the duet attacks, whilst different members of your party can inflict different effects with their varied abilities, so there’s SOME strategy involved. However, it all ultimately boils down to performing the same sort of QTEs and rhythm-based actions over and over again, which might not really be for everyone.

Check out some screenshots down below:

I guess the other issue is that the main gameplay loop doesn’t change up that much at all when playing. It always feels like you’re exploring an area, dodging hazards, and battling enemies, with not much on offer to differentiate one from another outside of a change of aesthetic. You’ll pretty much see everything Infinite Guitars has to offer in the first few hours, so if it doesn’t click for you then, you’re probably not going to enjoy it. It doesn’t help that the game isn’t always forthcoming with guidance either, with some areas leaving me stumped as to what I needed to do for a short while… maybe a few way markers wouldn’t have gone amiss?

I’d be remiss not to mention some of the glitches I encountered too, with audio and visual bugs showing up throughout my playthrough. I even had to reboot the game a handful of times to get through some sections, which wasn’t ideal. Whilst the developer has addressed a few issues already, it hasn’t been the smoothest of performances as far as technical issues are concerned.

Before ending this review, I have to talk about the soundtrack because it is stellar. There’s a brilliant blend of genres going on here, and whilst you’ll hit some electrifying guitar solos in battle, it’s some of the more easy-going tunes that I loved the most. It’s just really, REALLY good – but hey, what else would you expect from a game based around battling with guitars?!

Infinite Guitars Review

Infinite Guitars has some really cool ideas and an intriguing world to explore, but the repetitive gameplay loop might not be for everyone. It’s not that anything in the game is bad at all, but rather that doing the same things for hours on end might leave players a little bored after a while – even if the rhythm-based action can be a lot of fun.

It’s a shame there are some technical issues and it won’t be for everyone, but those who like to play RPGs with a bit of a twist ought to give Infinite Guitars a look. It won’t be the best game you ever play (and I’d probably recommend giving it some time for all the bugs to be fixed), but it has some really neat ideas on show as well as one hell of a soundtrack.

Developer: Nikko Nikko
Publisher: Humble Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch