Invector Rhythm Galaxy – Galactic beats

I always wanted you to go into space, man

As the sequel to the Avicii focused game, Invector Rhythm Galaxy expands its musical repertoire considerably.

I enjoy rhythm games quite considerably, even though I still lack any rhythm myself. There’s a satisfying flow to a good music game like Spin Rhythm or Kickbeat when you manage to keep in time to the music with flashy effects on the screen reminding you of how great you are. 2019’s Avicii Invector from Hello There Games was one I particularly enjoyed thanks to its varied approach to musical button tapping, and this sequel does pretty much exactly the same thing but with a wider net of genres. More of the same isn’t a bad thing, as such, but there are a few choices in Invector Rhythm Galaxy that I feel are a step backwards. 

If you played the previous game, you’re getting pretty much the same deal here, but with new songs. So if you liked the old game, take a look at the track list and see if it interests you knowing that the gameplay has barely changed. For the newer players, Invector Rhythm Galaxy has you flying your spaceship along a track, tapping buttons in time to the music. Sometimes the track is a flat path, and you’ll need to move left and right to make sure you’re lined up with the notes. Other times the track is a tunnel that you need to rotate to line up with the notes. Occasionally, during more chilled-out sections of a song, you can freely fly along the track whilst trying to pass through rings. The difference between the path and tunnel seem meaningless until you play it, with those tunnel sections in particular being very intense.

It looks like there’s a lot going on, but it’s quite easy to follow until you miss a beat and you scramble to get back into rhythm. The tunnels are pretty tough for this,

A nice new addition from the sequel is a casual game mode that is played solely with LB for the bass notes and the A button for the lead notes. This is a great feature for younger players or those who find coordinating lots of button presses difficult. Each time you up the difficulty, an extra button is introduced, with Normal adding the X button, Hard including B, and Ultra including Y for the absolute maniacs out there. Ultra is not messing around, and even Hard is a pretty solid challenge. Mechanically speaking, it’s fun! Lots of difficulty options means you can tailor the game to how you enjoy it, and the responsiveness is solid enough even though the feedback is a little lacking at times.

The campaign has a little story about a group of friend’s going on a road trip after one of their number had a family member pass away. It’s really just fluff to frame why you’re flying to different parts of space, but it’s sweet enough. Each stage in this mode has a target note percentage to reach to complete the song and move on. Hitting those targets on Hard is pretty tough, and Ultra is just bananas. I found myself switching between Normal and Hard depending on the song, and the game doesn’t penalise you for changing the difficulty as you play through, which is nice. The campaign is how you unlock a few new songs and ships to use in the single and multiplayer modes, so it is worth playing through.

Whilst there are leaderboards for the more competitive players, there isn’t an online multiplayer mode. But there is a split screen option which is an excellent, and oft missed, inclusion in an arcade-style game like this. Brilliantly, each player can independently choose their own difficulty level, and the winner is determined by the percentage of notes hit rather than overall score. This means that a highly skilled player can play against a novice opponent and still be soundly beaten. My daughter beat me on several occasions thanks to this feature and I couldn’t be happier with that fact. As far as I’m concerned, more games should include this sort of feature in split-screen modes. The likes of Mario Kart have it right, so why aren’t there more?

Split-screen mode is great, especially as each player can select their own difficulty.

The visuals are as great as they were in the previous entry, with lots of flashing lights and gorgeous backgrounds to enjoy that don’t really interfere with your focus on what matters. The previously mentioned lack of feedback is still an issue from the last game. It’s often hard to tell that you’ve missed a button prompt due to being out of time as you get a tiny sound to indicate a missed combo or a split second of noticing a greyed out note. I don’t think it’s clear enough and considering you can fail some songs if you miss too many notes that feedback is sorely needed at times. The expanded UI isn’t a great improvement on the original either thanks to the information being spread further across the screen rather than being focused at the bottom. Don’t you dare look at your streak, score, or boost metre as you’ll lose your combo.

Now the sounds, which are key to a rhythm! The feedback is still an issue, yes, but on the whole the sound is excellent. Missing a note doesn’t break the music itself, so you can enjoy the songs even if you slip up, but the track list is where I feel Invector Rhythm Galaxy falls down a little. I feel this is spreading its net a little too wide. I’m not especially a fan of Avicii, but the songs that were included worked well for this sort of game genre thanks to everything having a solid rhythm that you could keep track of. Some of the songs here though have beats that are quite hard to follow and change considerably throughout. I realise that this is a personal issue, but I simply couldn’t get to grips with a few of the tracks and found them much less enjoyable as a result. Tiesto’s Hot in it and Paramore’s Ain’t it Fun flowed really well, but Payback by Kojey Radical and Blasterjaxx’s Legion just felt all over the place to play. I feel as though I’d enjoy another of those more focused experiences, with a tighter, themed selection of songs to play with. Maybe I’ll see something like that with the inevitable DLC.

You can charge a boost meter that has you go insanely fast but doubles your score for the duration. It’s useful for the No Shield challenges as it prevents you from failing the track too.

Potentially personal issues aside, Invector Rhythm Galaxy is a solid inclusion to the rhythm genre. Yes, it isn’t perfect, but there’s a good variety of songs to enjoy in a visually impressive package. If you liked the previous game and want some new songs, then this will do the job. It won’t sway others though.

Invector Rhythm Galaxy is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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