It’s not everyday that you get a new release from developer Luca Redwood aka EightyEight Games right out of the blue. In fact, it’s been a couple years since his last release Photographs launched. So what’s been going on with Luca? Well, you see, there has been this whole pandemic thing, and… yeah. So Luca took it upon himself to make a “lockdown game" during the pandemic, as many other developers have done. A great use of time, if you ask me. The result of that is a game called Infinity Island for both iOS and Android, and at the risk of sounding like too much of a fanboy, Luca Redwood has totally nailed it once again.
What do I mean by that? Well, the game that put Luca on the map way back in 2012 (Wow, almost a decade ago!) 10000000, and its follow-up You Must Build A Boat in 2015, were master classes in incremental progression. It was like someone took a fast-paced matching game mechanic and married it with a progression loop that you couldn’t put down as you went just a wee bit further and further with each play through. Well, it wasn’t “like" that actually, it was exactly that, and that’s what made those games instant classics. Infinity Island is that same type of master class in progression but built into a more typical idle game and, like, a fishing game and pet collector? It’s a pretty weird one.
That weirdness is totally part of its charm, though. As Luca himself says, his previous game Photographs was kind of dark, and so Infinity Island is 100% cheery and silly throughout. You start off by taking a vacation to the titular island itself, and I’d be lying if I said that the simple “going on a trip" interactive intro with its authentic airplane dings didn’t make me miss the pre-pandemic world of actually going places. I’m sure that was the point, but it surprised me just how hard I felt it.
Once you arrive on the island you catch your first pet. This is done by way of a weird hookshot fishing mini-game, that reminds me a lot of the fishing mechanic in Ridiculous Fishing. Not totally the same mind you, but similar. Basically the entire game is built around this fishing mechanic, so it’s nice that it’s actually a satisfying and fun little timing-based mini-game, because you’ll be doing it a lot.
Once you’re comfortable with the fishing, you’re set free in the game, and you’ll come to find that absolutely everything can be upgraded and leveled up. Your pets act as money generators, and your money gets funneled back into upgrading things like your harpoon or building and furnishing the treehouse on your island. Fishing is how you’ll acquire additional pets as well as collect crates filled with various resources or items, which can be used to level up your pets and make them generate even more cash. It’s all one big glorious skinner box, and I love it.
In reality I could spend hours trying to detail all the various upgrade systems, missions, and numerous activities you can do in Infinity Island, but the game itself is free for you to try for yourself and, well, I imagine you probably get the gist of it if you’ve played any sort of idle or incremental game before. But have you played one from the creator of 10000000 before? No you have not, and that’s where Infinity Island comes in. Welcome to flavor country. This will certainly be my new favorite obsession for the next few days or however long it takes to max everything out, and like I said before, Luca Redwood has indeed nailed it once again.