Ballpoint Universe: Infinite Platform: Wii U [reviewed], PC Developer/Publisher: Arachnid Games Price: $4.99 Originally a PC game, this doodle art themed side-scrolling shoot’em up and platformer hybrid has made its way to the Wii U where the transition appears to have gone rather smoothly. The GamePad’s screen serves as an enlarged map of your surroundings which comes in handy for the platformer aspect of the game. To platform or not to platform. At this point you may be wondering how exactly the game accomplishes this mixture of shoot’em up and platformer gameplay. It does it by separating the two play styles through the main story. The story is played out as a platformer where you’re not really facing enemies but just platformer obstacles, i.e. jumping across platforms while avoiding death. For the most part, the difficulty lies in navigating the often confusing game world rather than pulling tricky jumps. As for the tricky jumps, they are usually frustrating not so much because of difficulty but as a result of the clunky platforming. As you navigate the game’s world, you will come across missions where the gameplay switches over to the shoot’em up genre. The premise is that you hop on a battleship to battle your foes. Although I’m a platformer fan, I found the shoot’em up aspect of the game much more entertaining. For starters, there are actually enemies to battle and even bosses at the end of each stage. You also earn currency, defined in this game as ink, which you can use to upgrade your battleship by purchasing new parts for it and upgrading parts that you own. There are four parts of the ship, two that can wield either weapons/shields, one that controls the special attack, and another used to control the ship’s health. A very interesting addition is the fact that you can use melee weapons which are quite powerful in this game as this is not commonly seen in other games of the genre. In the beginning of the game I was reluctant to focus too much on melee due to past bullet hell experiences but eventually learned the way of the melee and never looked back. I completed the game using two beefed up melee weapons and forgot all about bullets. I could have opted for melee/gun or gun/gun though along with swapping either out for a shield if I wanted to be defensive. Take on the boss! It takes ink to pimp your ride. For about $5, you get your money’s worth considering that the shoot’em up aspect has an infinite mode where you could spend additional hours even after completing the story if you wish to embark on that sort of journey. The story was decent but overall, was not too impressed by the platformer aspect. The lack of action wasn’t really the problem either as I enjoyed the casual story telling nature of it but the clunky platforming detracted from it. Where the game really shines is the shoot’em up gameplay but it is a commendable effort to attempt to bridge these two universes together. If they do make a sequel, I hope they polish off the platformer aspect as it had potential. The artwork is also great as the game has an artistic vibe to it with its doodle-like graphics. It reminded me of my old doodling adventures at school during boring lectures except with much more finesse. The music and sounds were not as impressive but still adequate. Pros: +Infinite mode provides good replay value +Melee combat is an interesting focus for the shoot’em up genre +Pleasant visuals Cons: -Clunky platforming -Early stages are rather dull Ballpoint Universe Infinite doodles up a “BUY IT” recommendation for its visual appeal and fun shoot’em up gameplay which should be enjoyable to both casual and veteran fans alike. The platforming aspect is an interesting attempt at combining the two genres together as well despite its clunky implementation. Disclosure: A review copy was used to evaluate this game.