Fly a spaceship and make some music in AVICII Invector.
I like a lot of games in a lot of different genres, but one of my favourites has been rhythm games for a long, long time. In spite of having no rhythm myself, I do find they I tend to be pretty good at them and find a great deal of enjoyment from this type of game and long for the day that we get a sequel to the single greatest rhythm game in history. But seeing as I don’t see Gitaroo Man 2 anywhere on the horizon, I play whatever I can get my hands on, especially considering it’s a fairly underrepresented style of game. With that in mind, I was quite happy to have a go at AVICII Invector, a rhythm game based on the music of DJ AVICII.
AVICII Invector was created by Wired Productions and Hello There Games shortly after Tim Bergling’s (aka AVICII) sad and untimely death, as a tribute to his music, with a portion of the profits going to charity. The game has you flying a spaceship through six different worlds playing music from 25 of his songs in a mostly similar style to many other rhythm games. Timed button presses will increase your score and multiplier, whilst a boost mode will temporarily double your score for its duration.
I say mostly similar as AVICII Invector combines features from a few different games to try to create something novel. A stage comprises of one song but has multiple different ways of you matching the beat. The most basic is like a cross between Guitar Hero and Amplitude, with you moving your ship left and right on a track to line up with a button that you then press in time to the music. Then there are sections that are similar to the arcade classic Tempest, with you rotating around a triangular tunnel to line up your button presses. Beyond that, there are sections similar to the recent music game Aaero, with you flying freely along the path, lining yourself up to fly through gates. All these different styles keep things interesting, and they change often enough to prevent any one aspect from becoming too stale.
Buttons are tied to ABXY ー I played the Xbox One version ー as well as LB for certain notes and triggers for activating your boost. Which button prompts appear is linked to the difficulty mode you play on, with Easy using A and X, Medium introducing B, and Hard bringing in Y as well. Being the cocky rhythm game champ I am, I went straight for Hard mode and regretted it fairly quickly. Hard is a good description as the notes fly at you thick and fast, alongside constant lane changes to make things even more challenging. Even with the pass rate for a stage being as little as 75% notes hit successfully, I still struggled to get to the end, but perseverance saw me through. I had a second playthrough on Medium mode and found it more fun, allowing me to enjoy the music far more.
The music is, of course, the key component of any rhythm game, and AVICII Invector features music by AVICII. This seems obvious, but it is fair to state that if you don’t like AVICII’s music, then you are less likely to enjoy this game. The music isn’t a genre I personally go for, but it’s not something I dislike either, so I found it quite satisfying to experience as I played through the stages. This kind of European electronic music does work quite well in a rhythm game, so as long as it isn’t a type of music you deeply detest, then you should be able to enjoy it well enough too.
The visuals here are gorgeous, with tons of bright, neon colours constantly appearing on the screen. In fact, the higher your multiplier gets, the more impressive the visuals become. This proved to be a double-edged sword though. As pretty as AVICII Invector was when it was at its craziest, it sometimes made spotting the next button prompts trickier, especially when I had to consider if I needed to rotate around the tunnel. This was especially irritating on Hard mode in which missing a note can completely throw off your timing. Still, it’s an impressive sight, and every one of the six worlds is visually distinct, going from ice planets to cityscapes.
The other downside with the button prompts is feedback. You really need to keep your eyes on the track in a game like this, so getting feedback for successfully hitting a note does help you keep your flow. There was little feedback here, with a successful hit giving you a brief coloured flash that you aren’t likely to notice amongst all the bright lights. Missing a note doesn’t disrupt the music, meaning you can miss every note and still hear the full track. Sometimes I lost my combo and didn’t realise which button prompt I’d missed at all. This is a real annoyance if you are trying to get high scores or are struggling to scrape past the 75% mark on a higher difficulty setting. Something as simple as a controller rumble ー something else that’s missing ー would have made a difference here.
Other than that I don’t really have many complaints about the game. On easier settings it’s quite relaxing to play and enjoy the music, whilst having a really solid challenge at the higher end. I would have liked some unlocks to encourage aiming for higher ranks, something like new skins for your ship, or different backgrounds, but there’s enough to enjoy as it is. There’s even a split-screen mode to enjoy if that’s something that takes your fancy.
As it is, AVICII Invector is an enjoyable music game, something that is somewhat uncommon these days. The visuals link to the music well, and there’s that nagging one-more-song feeling that you get with good rhythm games, as well as that drive to try and hit 100% of the notes, even when it’s at its hardest! I had a good time in the two-or-so hours it took for me to play through all the tracks, and would recommend it to fans of the genre so long as the music is something you aren’t going to dislike.