- Format: PS3
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Sony
- Developer: Magenta Software
- Players: 1-4
- Site: http://invizimals.eu.playstation.com/en_GB/home/
Brian Blessed 10/10.
But in all seriousness …
Invizimals is a kid’s game; there isn’t really any other way of putting it. It’s not got the broader appeal of the highly polished games of the 3D platformer genre such as Mario, but if you lack a Nintendo console then Invizimals fills that particular niche to some degree.
It’s a new direction for Invizimals, as the other titles – all being handheld arena battle games – focus on battling and collecting, rather than a plot that takes you through multiple 3D levels. It’s a game full of ideas on how to take Invizimals into a world of linear paths and thingummy collecting but it also suffers from glitches, jerky controls that require an unquantified amount of precision – or lack thereof depending on the situation – and the abysmal live action and voiceover sections.
The singleplayer game is a campaign mode where you play as an annoying child who has gotten into the world of the Invizimals. From there you have to restore balance to their world by being lent the power of various Invizimals, before taking their forms and unleashing various flavours of pain on the robotic enemies that litter the levels.
All the different forms have a short attack combo that they can use, three different heavy attacks, and three different special attacks. The heavy provide a little character to the Invizimals, giving you some interesting attacks; but most lie on the not so interesting side. Special attacks are where most of the creativity lies, with burrowing attacks, icy breaths, shockwaves and many other enemy clearing techniques.
Some attacks are interesting (powerful) enough for you to pick that character for all fights, but the repetition of the creative attacks shows how good ideas are beaten like a dead horse. The problem is a lot of the moves have an awkward stiffness that means you don’t always hit what you want or are left open, ready to be pummelled.
Enemies are pretty pathetic to begin with but they will eventually cause you to enter a battle-like state where you can’t access environmental actions or jump to any useful degree. Later on you will find some enemies that will hit you easily regardless of how careful you are and the gun-toting enemies are by far the worst. You have literally no ranged attacks on any of the Invizimals you pick up so you will have to spend time guarding, dodging and making a hasty beeline to them before repeatedly bashing the bolts out of them.
The platforming on its own isn’t great; it’s not that bad assuming that the camera behaves itself but you can’t rely on that. Most of the time it’s simple enough to get where you want but it can be clunky in some areas. On occasion the tedious child has to revert to his natural state to climb through small gaps or shuffle along rocky ledges. It doesn’t add much challenge and it certainly doesn’t contain an aspect of fun to it. It just seems like a way to slow down the game and add a few extra minutes to the clock.
As mentioned before the camera doesn’t always behave and it’s likely due to the sometimes buggy environments – and the fact that it’s not controlled by you. Instead of allowing for full 3D rotation of the camera, we have returned to the guided camera with a little flexibility to move it slightly on its axis. This obviously obscures a lot of the collectibles when you’re searching around and can mean redoing levels to find them.
It is quite a buggy game. Sometimes the camera sticks inside walls or pans behind them to obscure your character completely. Occasionally (or perhaps frequently) you can get momentarily trapped in between scenery or objects and be held aloft for a few seconds – sometimes you will get trapped for longer and eventually get respawned, which isn’t ideal considering the checkpoints are relatively far apart at points and not always at a convenient place.
Outside of the main game, you also have the battle arena; which in all honesty seems to want to be a more action orientated version of Pokémon. Each Invizimal has four attacks with differing elements and damage etc. To reiterate it does seem like a 3D real-time Pokémon in that respect; you fight, gain experience points and get stat increases on level ups.
It has some degree of strategy that needs to be utilised in the battles. There are cooldowns on all the moves, as well as a stamina bar that needs constant replenishment if you want to fight effectively. But as much as it might seem like it’s a good idea to make an effective plan, it rarely works out against your opponent.
It is possible to play this mode in both local multiplayer against AI opponents, and online. Online encompasses both standard PS3vPS3 combat but also allows Cross-Play with the Vita counterpart, Invizimals: The Alliance. It’s not got anywhere near the depth of most multiplayer games, so it will likely only be a short lived distraction.
First and foremost, it is a game meant to appeal to kids and while it might also strike a chord with anyone looking to get a 3D platformer, it’s little more than a game that you’ll play so that you can switch off your higher brain functions. There are some interesting qualities to the game – even if only the basics are there. Maybe if they attempt another game then they’ll iterate the combat to feel fresher with different Invizimals and widen the appeal that way.
Unfortunately none of the good bits make up for the bad, so as brainless as the core game is; any fun features are drowned out by the horrible voice acting, bad checkpointing and the various glitches and camera angles. Not even the ramblings of an insane Brian Blessed can make it rise above average.