The adventures awaiting the player of Approaching Infinity

The computer game Approaching Infinity may seem extremely simple and uninteresting at first glance. After all, it features a pixelated spaceship flying through two-dimensional space, and painted astronauts walking on a planet whose surface fits on a single screen. But in reality, it’s an almost endless and incredibly exciting adventure.

Комп'ютерна гра Aproaching Іnfinity

The computer game Approaching Infinity

Rogue-like game about space

Have you ever dreamed of a space adventure? About flying around the Galaxy in your own spaceship, transporting goods from the station of one alien race to the shelter of another, shooting pirates with a laser, exploring planets inhabited by amazing creatures, and unravelling the secrets of the universe?

All of this is possible in the computer game Approaching Infinity. It was released in 2020, but it is still in early access on Steam. It’s not that there is something unfinished in it, all the endings are quite accessible right now, but the developers are constantly adding new content and reworking some aspects of the gameplay.

Of course, no one will be surprised by open-world space adventures nowadays. There are many projects similar to EVE Online and Elite Dangerous. However, all of them require powerful gaming computers and dozens of hours to immerse yourself in the world and level up your character and ship.

Графіка у Rogue-alike зазвичай дуже проста, зате вибір можливостей — величезний
The graphics in Rogue-like games are usually very simple, but the choice of options is huge

But what if you just want to sit down and have an adventure without having to spend dozens of hours just to get to interesting game locations? The developers of Approaching Іnfinity solved this problem by creating Rogue-like, or, as they are also called, “bagels”. This is a branch of the gaming industry that sacrifices graphics in favour of creating a truly complex, interesting, and well-developed world.

Player figures, enemies, and various environments are displayed with simple two-dimensional tiles that form the playing field. Sometimes developers go further and use symbols from the code table instead. In this case, you need to read all descriptions separately and train your imagination.

All this is done in order to be able to generate levels and maps without human intervention every time a player starts a new game. After the player creates their character, the game itself creates a unique world for them to have adventures in. Due to the fact that there are usually many more different monsters, races, classes, items, and their properties in bagels than in the average “normal” game, they are extremely large and diverse.

На початку гравцю розповідають про прибуття інопланетян-банкірів
In the beginning, the player is told about the arrival of alien bankers

Meanwhile, the player usually has only one life and one record of the party’s state, which occurs at the moment of exiting the application. That is, when the health scale drops to zero, the entire giant and unique world dies, and nothing can be replayed. This adds an element of reality to the gameplay that the most advanced graphics cannot provide.

The traditional theme of “bagels” is fantasy adventures in a dungeon, from which you need to bring something outside. However, in reality, they have long covered many other genres. So the creators of Approaching Іnfinity decided that this time it would be a space adventure.

Start of the game

The game starts with a suggestion to choose the appearance and initial skills of the captain you want to play as, as well as the ship on which he will start his adventures. Even at this stage, the number of combinations that can be chosen is simply enormous. After that, you are told the background of this world.

На початку гри невеликий корабель знаходиться посеред недослідженого сектора
At the beginning of the game, a small ship is in the middle of an unexplored sector

Centuries ago, the Earth Federation existed in space, uniting many planets. Then a race of bankers entered the historical scene and soon became dominant, and people began to live on only one planet, which they rarely left.

The player is one of the lucky ones. He was once recruited to a ship as a simple crew member, then became an officer, and now, finally, he has received the title of captain and his own ship. This is where the adventure begins.

The screen shows a ship on a square field, most of which is covered in darkness. Welcome to Sector 1! In addition to the captain, there are ordinary crew members on the ship. In the future, they can be supplemented with officers, each of whom has their own class and skills that can be developed. The ship also has equipment, weapons, and a hold that can be used to store various goods.

На станції банкірів можна купити різноманітне обладнання
A variety of equipment can be purchased at the bankers’ station

As the player explores Sector 1, they will encounter a variety of objects: nebulae that obscure the view, asteroid fields that make the journey more difficult, and electromagnetic storms that can damage the ship. There are also a lot of ships of different races flying around in space, and they can be called by radio. It is interesting that they will respond in their own language, which will supposedly be translated for us by a computer.

At the same time, some of the ships may turn out to be hostile and you will have to engage them. Like movement, it takes place step by step and simultaneously for all moving objects. It sounds primitive, but it is actually implemented in a very exciting way.

Екіпаж корабля
The crew of the ship

However, the most interesting object in the first stage is the bankers’ station, which is hidden somewhere on the map. After docking with it, the player gets the opportunity to replenish supplies, repair the ship, hire a crew, buy and sell goods, equipment, weapons, and take quests. After dealing with the station, you can continue to explore the sector. On the way, you may encounter stars, planets, black holes, pulsars, and finally, an exit point to hyperspace from which you can travel to other sectors. However, there is no need to rush there, because on one of the planets of the sector, the player will find the key to unraveling what happened to humanity.

Planetary adventures

When approaching a planet for the first time, the crew explores it from orbit. They report on the composition of the atmosphere, existing dangers and features, dangerous alien animals, and gravity. After that, it is possible to land on it. This is done by a team of several crew members in a shuttle, and they can be joined by the captain and officers.

There are several types of planets in Approaching Infinity: Earth-like, airless, toxic, high-gravity, or hot. There are also gas giants, but landing on them is impossible at all. For the rest, the crew lands in spacesuits and with their weapons at the ready.

Планетарні пригоди
Planetary adventures

The planet itself resembles a large square of tiles, just like the sector, but it is abundantly filled with mountains, water, lava, trees, buildings, and much more. There are also many friendly and not so friendly creatures, valuable items and artefacts. There is a lot of it, so every landing is an adventure within an adventure.

And inside it, there may be another one, because it is a “bagel”, and under the surface there may be multi-level caves that can also be explored. This reveals one of the most interesting mechanics of the game — data. They gradually accumulate as you explore sectors, planets, and caves and can be sold at stations. Moreover, their price is variable. Planet maps themselves can also be sold after 100 per cent exploration, however, they become unavailable for revisiting.

Further journey in Approaching Infinity

As a player travels through the sectors, they discover that the world of Approaching Infinity is even bigger than it seemed at first. At the stations, you can hire officers, each of whom, like the captain, belongs to a certain class and has skills that can be developed. In other words, the game also has a certain role-playing system.

Спілкування з інопланетянами-сигорнами
Communicating with the Sigorn aliens

In addition, you can change ships and modify them in any way you like. All you need is money and you earn it not only by completing missions but also by simply engaging in trade, i.e. transporting goods between sectors and stations.

The stations themselves, as it turns out, can belong to different races. Thus, peaceful Cigorn traders will gladly recognise you as a member of their herd. The warlike reptilians Groofs will try to fight the protagonist of the game to the death even if they have extremely friendly relations, simply because they love this business above all else. And the space scientists, the octopus-like Tentaculons, will teach you how to create equipment for the ship yourself.

New objects are also appearing in space all the time. For example, there are the remains of damaged ships that you can land on. Exploring them is similar to visiting a planet, only done in a slightly different way.

Який же rouge-alike без повзання печерами?
There is no Rouge-like without wandering through caves

Every time a player thinks that they have understood everything about this game, it throws something new at them. Mysterious temples that store artefacts of ancient races, creatures that live right in space, giant structures that occupy an entire sector.

The game also features politics. In total, it has 10 endings, and each of them requires completing quests of a certain race. The problem is that they often contradict someone’s interests, so when a player establishes relations with one faction, he or she inevitably quarrels with another. And the further you go, the more intense the gameplay becomes.

Is it worth playing Approaching Infinity?

With all of the above, playing Approaching Infinity is extremely easy and enjoyable. You just need to click the mouse on the screen. For a space adventure simulator, this is an unprecedented luxury. Usually, you have to memorise up to two dozen different keys and their combinations, otherwise you won’t get anywhere. But here, everything is solved through the on-screen interface, which, although not simple, is quite understandable.

Дослідження пошкодженого корабля
Exploring the damaged ship

The adventures in this game are also incredibly addictive. Because at any given time, our hero has tasks to complete, and to do so, he needs to perform just a few actions, which, however, can take up to half an hour. Although, in the end, you can take your time with almost any quest here and just fly through space, fight pirates, and trade.

By the standards of most “bagels”, Approaching Infinity is a fairly mild game. It does not end after the slightest mistake. However, it is better not to make big ones. Because they cannot be fixed, and when your hero dies, you will have to play from the beginning, and this time everything may be completely different from the last time.