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Avicii Invector review - Tribute worthy of a generation-defining DJ

Published: 13:28, 06 December 2019
Hello There Games
Avicii Invector promotional iamge
Avicii Invector

Avicii Invector is a rhythm game that also serves as an homage to the late DJ who worked on its first incarnation. Much like Avicii himself, Invector hits the right keys as it provides the players with an awesome combination of input, visual and audio stimulation.

Avicii Invector is technically a re-release of the similarly named game, Invector, for PlayStation 4 that was released in late 2017. This time around, Avicii Invector is available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

The world-famous late DJ himself worked on the previous iteration of the game while the multi-platform version was developed in collaboration with his family and was set for release just a few days after the tribute concert held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Unlike the start of this review, Avicii's game is anything but doom and gloom. From the moment I opened the game for the first time, went through the main menu and all Avicii Invector had to offer, I felt nothing but hype, adrenaline rush and satisfaction. These may be symptoms of a person that is new to rhythm games but a bad one would fail to provide those feelings, wouldn't it?

Avicii Invector achieves these stimulations through audio, visuals and input combinations, so let's examine those categories each on their own.

Avicii Invector songs

Considering this is one of the most influential artists of our generation as far as the music industry goes, one would think there wouldn't be much to be said that's not already known. The thing is, while I like Avicii's music, I never delved deep into it until this game came along. The game's tracklist consists of 25 songs in total, split across six background areas that are art of their own but more on that in the visuals section.

Valley, the first area you go through immediately kicks off with Can't Catch Me, continues with Pure Grinding over What Would I Change It To and wraps up with The Nights. In short, these first four tracks took me through enough audio stimulation to pique my interest in hopes of finding what else I missed out on. It's not going to be much of a surprise to true Avicii fans, but if you are like me and knew his music only superficially until Invector, all 25 tracks turned out to be great, each in their own way.

Avicii Invector visuals

This is the part where the main differences from the original Invector start to occur. While the three bonus tracks are great to have, it is visual stimulation that will meet you first. Neon-themed backgrounds are beautifully crafted and fit well into the story elements that are presented through comic book-like graphics.

More importantly, the parts that indicate which inputs are coming up and the feedback from how well or bad you time them is spot on. Pressing a button at the perfect time will cause your aircraft to project a coloured circular effect that resembles a soundwave. Chaining these perfects provides more immersion into the song itself, which will quickly get rhythm-lovers pumped full of adrenaline.

On the other hand, missing inputs does not feel too punishing. There is just enough feedback to let you know your streak had been broken or that you are not getting the extra points but it does not feel like the game is chastising you. In other words - Avicii Invector focuses on praising the parts the player does well and provides only enough feedback to notify them when they could do better, without going overboard.

Hello There Games Avicii Invector - The score is bad but the pretty visuals make up for it Avicii Invector - The score is bad but the pretty visuals make up for it

Gameplay and input mechanics

Hello There Games did one hell of a job making the players feel like they are the DJ playing the currently ongoing song. Be it perfect bass timings or the somewhat more subtle kicks, the game will prompt you to press the associated buttons at the perfect time, adding on that feeling of satisfaction that the aforementioned visuals provided.

Difficulty

Players are presented with three walls throughout their gameplay and each of them can have inputs attached. These walls, or lanes, can be shifted by either the arrows on gamepads or A and D buttons on keyboards. This mechanic sounds hard and it usually is, especially on higher difficulties. However, the difficulty itself is well done by the developers.

There are Easy, Medium and Hard difficulties to choose from, with Beginner also appearing but I wouldn't suggest going there. On top of the difficulty choice, the challenge of the songs themselves will ramp up as you progress further. Therefore, the first song, Can't Catch Me, is much easier than Tough Love which is 25th, even if they are both played on the Easy difficulty.

While one might see this as a lack of transparency, it's important to remember there are 23 songs between them, each gradually increasing the difficulty. By the time a player is done with 25th song, they should be more than equipped to handle the first song on Medium. Simply put, Avicii Invector is providing fun while also subtly teaching you to be better at the game.

Controls

This is another area where Hello There Games did a great job. Controls are intuitive on all offered input methods. For keyboards, it's WASD for switching lanes or controlling the aircraft in free flight sections, with arrow keys for associated pickups, spacebar for bass pickups and Enter for boost.

For PS4 controllers, it's either the arrows or left analog stick for direction controls with square, triangle, circle and X for pickups. The best part is that bass control can be activated with either L1 or R1, giving the player choice of using the controls the way that's more comfortable to them. Similarly, boost input can be either L2 or R2.

Xbox controllers work the same, just with different labels. It's X, Y, B and A for pickups, LB or RB for bass and LT or RT for boost.

Bottom line is that players are given much freedom with their input method and those using keyboards can rebind the buttons. The only nitpick I managed to find is that you can't bind boost to Num 0 because the game doesn't recognize numpad inputs. The workaround is easy though - shutting Num Lock down did the trick for me as the game recognized the same button as End.

Multiplayer

Given that this is a rhythm game, this thought probably crossed your mind by now. Yes, it has local split-screen multiplayer that supports up to four players. Two-player split-screen worked fine for me even on a 21" monitor but it might be wise to get something bigger for three or four players. Oh, and you can mix and match keyboard and controller players on PC.

There is no online multiplayer outside the leaderboards though. This can be a bummer for some but nothing is perfect.

Leaderboards

There are global and local leaderboards to look forward to if you are of a competitive nature. The boards are separated for each song and each difficulty so whether you specialise into one song and play it to perfection or become a jack of all trades remains at your discretion.

Players on these boards will be split by several layers that rate their performance. Their high score will depend on how many perfect pickups they collected, the percentage of collected pickups in a track, streak length and how well they use their boosts. It is fairly deep.

Hello There Games Avicii Invector - Totally not the Easy mode and totally not the only leaderboard I topped Avicii Invector - Totally not the Easy mode and totally not the only leaderboard I topped

Story

I left what I believe is the weakest link for last. Then again, it's a rhythm game and story cutscenes can be easily ignored. Anyway, the story follows Stella, the pilot of the aircraft you are playing with on her mission that is not described at all immediately while she is clashing with HQ over the orders. The plot point is revealed later on but it felt as underwhelming as it was confusing.

There is still the possibility this is some sort of artistic expression I didn't comprehend but ultimately, the story cutscenes felt like the only part of the game that is forgettable.

Performance

As is the AltChar custom by now, there is the performance rundown at the end. Overall, Avicii Invector is a beautiful eye candy that is also well optimised and will run at 60 FPS on available platforms. As far as PC goes, the Steam page lists a 3 GHz CPU and 2 GB of RAM as minimum requirements, which should give you a good idea about what you need. Yes, a potato should have enough processing power to run this game.

There are only two instances where I encountered issues. Two song starts, across hundreds played, poured ghost inputs over the track but this happened at the very start. A simple restart at the beginning fixed this issue.

The other problem I ran into was two cutscene starts that were glitchy and would freeze for a little while. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience with two minor inconveniences over the journey.

Hello There Games Avicii Invector - Now that's more befitting of a gaming journo Avicii Invector - Now that's more befitting of a gaming journo

Verdict

Avicii Invector is an enjoyable rhythm game and fantastic local multiplayer experience that caused hype-induced adrenaline bursts on several occasions to present players. Even when we were fumbling the inputs on Hard difficulty, we found ourselves giggling uncontrollably at both the failures and the adrenaline rush that wouldn't leave.

The lacklustre story, rare glitches and input/note combinations in a few songs that didn't feel impactful draw the experience back a little bit. In the end, it comes out as an 8/10 rhythm game that we recommend to anyone into the genre, or even looking to get into it.

It will be worth the time but in case you are wondering about the more material side of costs - it is $19.99 / €19.99 / £14.99. It's 20 per cent cheaper than a single goal explosion in Rocket League and a portion of the proceeds will go to Tim Bergling foundation , which is raising awareness of suicide as a global health emergency and promoting discourse about mental issues, as a means of prevention.

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