Saturday, September 30, 2017

Review: INVERSUS Deluxe


It’s unusual to come across games that break the mold and do something very differently than you’re used to and for me INVERSUS Deluxe fits that bill quite nicely. Conceptually mixing elements of the very classic Go with the pacing and style of a shooter it offers players something familiar but at the same time quite radically different. If you’re a big fan of arcade action, on-the-fly strategy, and perhaps have a friend who can play along with or against you as a bonus INVERSUS Deluxe is well worth your consideration.

To begin with you’ll want to understand that every space in the active play area is either black or white. The color of tiles will determine where you’re able to move and since your opponent(s) is/are the opposite color all spaces you’re able to move over they’re then blocked by. To change the colors of spaces you’ll want to shoot over them. You’re able to shoot in each direction, they're conveniently mapped to the 4 buttons on the controller. While this overall core is pretty simple there’s ample room for nuance and trickery as well. You only have 5 shots, though they will replenish slowly. If you want to send off a burst of up to 3 you can charge your shot but while you’re doing so you’ll slow down noticeably, making yourself vulnerable. Periodically there will also be colored dots on the screen, these will make your next shot move much faster and help you catch your opponent by surprise. For having such a basic foundation INVERSUS Deluxe actually has quite a lot of depth in what you’re capable of with additional strategic options as well.


Your high-level options for play are Versus and Arcade mode. In Versus mode you’ll face off in a sort of duel, trying to eliminate the other player through brute force, trapping them, or some combination of the two. You’ll play until someone wins 3 rounds and with the nature of the game this can be a see-saw battle if people are well-paired. In Arcade mode the levels are generally bigger and quite different. In this mode you’ll have to try to survive as long as you can against an endless sea of spawning enemies that are trying to get you. Here the game will alternate between opponents that don’t shoot but instead converge on you en masse and shooting opponents similar to those you’d face in Versus mode. The two attack you very differently but particularly when they're both on-screen at once it can ramp up the intensity quickly. One of the best things about the game is that it can be even better with a friend and there are loads of options for playing both against each other and cooperatively. With 2 players you can choose to play head-to-head in Versus mode or together in Arcade mode, working to try to hold off the spawning hordes. Bumping up to 4 players it can get a bit more interesting with the option of playing Versus in teams of 2. This versatility, with the game able to accommodate people playing solo as well as with friends, is a cornerstone of the value INVERSUS Deluxe brings to the table if you enjoy the core gameplay.

Given the rarity of indie games including online play it would be a grave error to fail to mention INVERSUS Deluxe not only supports it but does so in a novel way. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a lobby waiting for someone to play with and the game has been set up in a way that is sympathetic to that pain. While you’re waiting for matchmaking to get rolling you can opt to go back to playing a normal game locally by yourself and it will pull you back to the lobby once you made a connection! In the online match-ups I’ve played in everything has been silky smooth and quick, once it found someone, and there’s a nice touch with the game allowing you to map emoticons to your shoulder buttons so you’re able to engage in at least some minimal exchanges with your opponent. In the online lobby you’ll be able to choose whether you’re looking for any type of game or specify which you prefer between 1-on-1, 2-on-2, or arcade modes. You’ll also have an option, if you know your friends are playing, to search for only people on your friends list. Given this being a smaller indie title the level of online support is a pleasant surprise!


Overall as long as you buy into the core gameplay being offered INVERSUS Deluxe delivers a great deal of value for the price of admission. With ample single-player content in the form of Arcade and Versus mode map unlocks as well as cosmetic things like special trails, emoticons, or color schemes if you enjoy playing the game overall you have plenty here to make your way through. If you have a friend available either locally or online there are also plenty of ways to enjoy playing together. Even if you don’t have anyone to play with locally as long as there are people actively playing online when you’re out looking for someone to match up with you’re covered on that level as well. If you like a challenging mix of strategy and action packaged up in an attractive package INVERSUS Deluxe is a full-featured option.

Score: 8

Pros:
  • While its visuals are somewhat simplistic that isn’t to say they aren’t attractive
  • A load of ways to play for one player or more, including superb online support
  • An ample number of maps you can unlock that all change how you’ll need to play to be effective


Cons:
  • If you don’t buy into or get hooked by the core gameplay the volume of content and options won’t help
  • Some maps are more engaging and fun than others


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