Invector is a funky new rhythm game created by Hello There Games and famous EDM DJ “Avicii”. If you don’t know who Avicii is, you can come join me in the old-person-with-no-taste-for-new-music boat. I went in to Invector without knowing a thing about it, apart from the fact that it was a rhythm game. With years of novice-level Dance Dance Revolution under my belt, I figured Invector would be enjoyable and fairly easy for me to pick up at a moderate difficulty level. I read a little more and realized that all of the music was by this Avicii guy, who was supposedly famous but completely foreign to me. I cringed, thinking of how the music would undoubtedly be so far out of my element that I wouldn’t at all be able to enjoy myself at all, let alone keep in time. I sighed, fired up the game, dove into the opening level…and fell in love.
Invector opens with the one song I knew at the outset – Waiting for Love – and introduces you to the gameplay. You control a little spaceship along a constantly-moving track, pressing buttons in time with the button prompts to earn points, in time with the music. At slow points in the music, you are flung off the track and fly through space (or any of the other environments you visit), earning more points by flying through rings.
Certain prompts may be labelled with multipliers, which obviously do wonderful things for your points at the end of the level. With enough points you also get the option to shake your controller and go flying along the track or through space, which is as fun as it is challenging (read: terrifying). With every few levels you complete, you are treated to a short story segment with the pilot of the spaceship, Stella. The storyline is pretty basic, albeit not unenjoyable, so the actual levels are the real driving factor to keep playing Invector.
Even in the tutorial level, I was delighted by the environment art, which was absolutely gorgeous in a lovely, stylized way (though it really does earn its epilepsy warning). The button prompts stand out brightly on the track and respond fairly to your controller input. As you play along with the music, you feel like a complete bad ass without being on edge about trying to pass the level. Invector is as thrilling and fun as it is relaxing and calming. Even when you know you’re doing terribly, I guarantee you’re still going to be having a lot of fun.
Each song is available in three modes – easy, medium, and hard. I started playing the first 10 or so songs on medium, until my ageing 25 year old reflexes reared their ugly head and I was forced to downgrade to easy. At this point, Invector really endeared itself to me because of how fair it was. It’s clear that Hello There wanted you to have a good time no matter your skill level with rhythm games, because you can change between your original difficulty and an easier difficulty at any point and continue through the story on that lower difficulty all the way to the last song (which is exactly what I did). However, if you started on medium and wanted to move up to hard on a later song, you will need to pass in medium difficulty first.
I really approve of how fair and respectful of the player’s enjoyment this choice was, and that’s absolutely a point in Invector’s favor when it comes to accessibility. I managed to get my boyfriend (not a rhythm game player) and a fellow DDR player to have a go at the game, and both picked it up incredibly easily and had a lot of fun. If you choose to take on hard mode (or even medium in some of the later songs), you will be in for a challenge that will put your reflexes to the test. However, if you fail out, you won’t know until the end, and for me that’s preferable to getting kicked out mid-song like you would in a game like DDR for failing too hard.
As for the music, while it was completely new to me, I was surprised how much I enjoyed almost all of the songs, especially For a Better Day, which has been my ear worm for the past four or five days since first playing the level. Without trying to sound like a morals-conscious soccer mom, Avicii’s brand of EDM is inoffensive as can be. In fact, inoffensive is about the worst the music gets, and the rest is downright catchy and addictive. Invector has introduced me to a brand new (to me) genre of music and an artist I can really get behind. If Hello There and Avicii made this game solely to pimp the DJ’s music, then at the very least they have achieved that goal through me.
Invector also offers global leaderboards for each song on each difficulty, just in case you’re feeling competitive. However, if you’d rather not face up against the rest of the world, then you could try out some local multiplayer. The screen can be split to include up to four players, although I only tried it out with me and one other player. Despite all of the crazy lights and fast-moving environments, playing Invector on two player splitscreen was easy and just as enjoyable as playing alone.
I’ve searched high and low for criticisms of Invector. I’m still struggling to find any. Unless you absolutely despise rhythm games, Avicii, or EDM, Invector will have you grinning from ear to ear with every song.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.