OUR RATING: 9/10
The Invincible serves as an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s novel of the same name, but it also stands on its own as a captivating gaming experience. While the game shares the same overarching themes of alternative evolution and humanity’s place in space, it takes a different narrative approach. Instead of following the perspective of the protagonist aboard the Invincible, the game puts players in the shoes of Yasna, an astrobiologist. This change in perspective allows the writers to delve deeper into the themes and offer a fresh take on the story.
The story of The Invincible revolves around a small crew of the Dragonfly, a research vessel that unexpectedly finds itself on the deserted planet of Regis III. The crew’s mission is to uncover the reason behind the arrival of the Alliance’s flagship, the Invincible. As Yasna, players awaken on the surface of Regis III with fragmented memories and the task of locating her missing crewmates. What follows is a journey filled with strange structures, mental maladies, and a deepening mystery that begs to be unraveled. The initial hours may feel somewhat sluggish, with an abundance of brown dust and seemingly endless walking. However, for those willing to invest the time, the narrative hooks gradually reveal themselves, leading to a captivating and thought-provoking experience.
The Invincible offers a first-person perspective, immersing players in Yasna’s journey through detailed interactions and atmospheric environments. The developers aimed to create a sense of realism by incorporating elements such as the weight of Yasna’s spacesuit and the physical toll it takes on her movements. While this attention to detail initially adds to the immersion, some players may find Yasna’s slow walking speed and laborious climbing to be more of a chore than an immersive experience. Players navigate the world, interact with objects, and uncover the story through exploration. Certain objects and locations provide additional insights into the narrative, rewarding players who take the time to delve deeper into the game’s world.
Visually, this game is a feast for the eyes. It’s retrofuturistic aesthetics capture the essence of the 50s and 60s, evoking a sense of nostalgia for a time when people envisioned sleek flying cars and shiny robots. Starward Industries has meticulously designed the advanced technology in the game, featuring big levers and chunky knobs reminiscent of classic sci-fi films like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The environment itself is diverse, ranging from arid deserts to stunning beaches, all adorned with metallic structures and awe-inspiring moons in the sky.
More than anything, The Invincible’s strength lies in its storytelling. The game presents a compelling mystery that keeps players engaged from start to finish. As a sci-fi enthusiast, I found myself drawn into the narrative, even though I had encountered similar themes in other works of the genre. The execution of the story and the skillful writing kept me invested despite my prior exposure to similar concepts.
Throughout The Invincible, players are presented with choices that can impact the outcome of the story. These choices provide a sense of agency and allow players to shape Yasna’s journey. While the game offers multiple endings, it’s worth noting that some players may find the resolutions less satisfying or conclusive than desired. The ambiguity of certain aspects may leave players with lingering questions and a desire for more closure. Nonetheless, the power of choice adds an extra layer of engagement and replayability to the game.
The atom-punk style is beautifully presented, immersing players in a world that combines the past’s retro aesthetics with futuristic elements. From the meticulously designed tools and technology to the breathtaking landscapes, the game’s art direction is a testament to the developers’ attention to detail and commitment to creating a visually striking experience.
The Invincible is a must-play for fans of the sci-fi genre and walking-sim games. While it may not offer groundbreaking gameplay, it is bound to suck you in with its immersive storytelling, compelling mystery, and breathtaking visuals. The slow-burn pacing may not be for everyone, but for those willing to invest the time, The Invincible offers a thought-provoking journey through an unknown planet filled with intriguing secrets. Whether you’re a fan of Stanislaw Lem’s work or simply enjoy immersive narratives, The Invincible is a game that shouldn’t be missed.