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31 Dec 2023

REVIEW: The Invincible (2023 Video Game) on Xbox

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Invincible," developed by Starward Industries and published by 11 Bit Studios, presents a unique blend of classic hard science fiction and atmospheric gameplay. Adapted from the 1964 Polish novel of the same name, the game offers an immersive first-person adventure, where players step into the shoes of the skilled astrobiologist Yasna on the mysterious planet Regis III.

The gameplay mechanics are akin to a first-person visual novel, or a walking simulator, where exploration and decision-making take center stage. Yasna's tools, such as the scanner and handheld telescope, add an extra layer of depth to the gameplay, allowing players to identify objects and navigate the alien landscape. The branching narrative and emphasis on player choice contribute to the game's replayability, as your decisions shape the outcome of the story.

The narrative unfolds as Yasna, along with her crew, embarks on a scientific mission that swiftly transforms into a search for missing comrades. The game successfully weaves emotional suspense into its science-fiction thriller, creating an experience that goes beyond traditional horror elements. The presence of astrogator Novik, guiding Yasna through the challenges of Regis III, adds depth to the story and enhances the overall experience.

The atmospheric setting and eerie landscapes immerse players in a cosmic, philosophical adventure, where the mysteries of the unexplored planet unfold. The atompunk atmosphere, coupled with realistic interactions with analogue technologies, contributes to the game's unique retro-futuristic charm.

One of the strengths of "The Invincible" lies in its faithful adaptation of classic hard science fiction, exploring profound themes and ideas related to space exploration. The game successfully prompts players to reflect on humanity's ambitions and biases, all while navigating the unknown dangers of Regis III.

The game's positives include its engaging story, impressive graphics, and a standout soundtrack that enhances the overall atmosphere. Multiple endings and meaningful choices add replay value, allowing players to experience different outcomes based on their decisions.

However, the game does have its drawbacks. The relatively linear path and slow character walking speed might deter players who prefer more dynamic experiences. Additionally, individuals prone to motion sickness may find the game triggering.

In conclusion, "The Invincible" is a visually stunning and thought-provoking adventure that caters to fans of walking sims with a penchant for a compelling narrative. While it may not appeal to everyone, those who appreciate a slower-paced, story-driven experience in a beautifully crafted sci-fi world will find "The Invincible" to be a worthwhile journey. I give it a solid 8 out of 10, acknowledging its strengths and understanding that its unique style may not be universally appreciated.

Out Now on Xbox

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