WHAT’S BLACK AND WHITE AND AWESOME ALL OVER?
The growth of the action-shooter genre has become center-stage. Tighter controls, bigger explosions, and gun-slinging robots have continued to push the category into a more and more granular experience. Inversus takes the simple idea of a shooter game and creates its own minimalistic niche that is just as addicting as any Call of Duty.
Unlike most shooter games during this console era (though this can be contested), Inversus has absolutely no story – and it doesn’t need to. Though there is a short tutorial to demonstrate the simple mechanics of the game, the design of Inversus just plops you into a game and essentially challenges you to figure it out.
Players begin as a simple square that they control using the d-pad as well as shoot in four directions based on the face buttons. Holding a button will create a powerful charged shot that can make it easier to take out enemies. Like any shooter, ammo is limited and is gradually replenished when you dip below the full capacity of five or when you pick up ammo manually sprinkled throughout the layout. Stakes are sky high though because at any moment you can die. Get shot by an enemy once – you die. Bump into an enemy – you die. The pick-up-and-play mentality can work fine with Inversus, but once you invest some time into crafting a strategy for an area, then the true magic of the game is seen.
Going along with the minimalist idea, Inversus offers two modes: Arcade and Versus. Arcade Mode offers some classic vibes of a typical arcade experience – blast as many enemies as you can before they blast you while getting as high of a score as possible. The six varied level structures were great, but ultimately disappointed me by the lack of variety. The first level begins as a basic rectangle, but later levels really challenged my creativity and ingenuity with gameplay that constantly had me at the edge of my seat. Even with the lackluster volume of variety in this mode, I constantly found myself trying to beat my previous record or earn a high enough score to unlock the next layout.
As much fun as Arcade Mode can be, the main-stage is given to Versus Mode. During this gameplay, players can duke it out against their square counterparts in 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 matches. With a convenient and simple online lobby layout, players can (very) patiently fight for 2D supremacy against another square for a best of 5 battle royale. Once I was finally matched with someone, I was disappointed by the spotty movement and lag, ultimately leading me to switch out of the online mode after a few matches. After a few hours, I tried the online mode again and had no issues. Perhaps the online experience with interference was just a one time issue, but would have been enough for me to leave and never look back.
In addition to online competitive play, the more convenient, and frankly more fun, co-op mode is where the game shines. The old school co-op shooter takes an interesting approach with Inversus and is just as addicting and exciting as any Halo 2 match with my buddies. Essentially identical to the online play, players are side-by-side with their enemies as they try to destroy the other throughout the 27 maps available. The comradery and competition with other players in the same room seems to be a dying act, but Inversus brings it to the limelight in a fantastically enjoyable manner. I found myself trash talking, something I almost never do, while working to edge my enemies towards a fatal mistake. The wins were even better when you were able to look at the defeat in the rival team’s face right next to you.
The Verdict: 8.3 Out of 10.0
Inversus is an unusual shooter game that offers a high caliber of fun for any player of the genre. The simplistic design offers a different set of skills that have been missing from many current-gen shooters. Though the experience can dwindle after a few hours through single-player experience, it gets revitalized by playing with some buddies for a few laughs.
A review copy has been provided by Hypersect for this review on PlayStation 4.
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