The Invincible centres on out of this world storytelling

The Invincible challenges you to rethink human dominion. It’s a story-driven adventure set in a hard sci-fi world. Developed by Starward Industries, it challenges you to explore a barren planet and face unforeseen threats.

The Invincible is a slow-paced, narrative-driven experience. Most of the time you will be walking around, adoring amazing views of Regis III, learning about the setting and the world that the protagonist exists within, all while trying to figure out what the hell is happening on that cursed planet. You assume control of astrobiologist Yasna, who must explore the planet Regis III on behalf of her missing crewmates all while facing an unknown threat.

Visually and audibly it’s a great experience. The mood and setting perfectly convey the world, and suck you right in. You can feel the emptiness and loneliness that the character is experiencing. That said, despite Regis III being a desert planet, it doesn’t look barren and you never feel like you exist in a void; Big props to the level designer for that. Even tiny details are amazing. For example, the climbing gear has its own detailed animation on how it’s installed and used.

There is one issue I disliked though. Due to the game being story-driven, there are invisible walls pretty much everywhere, forcing you along certain paths. It’s way too overused and busts the immersion open; You no longer feel like you’re on a different planet where you could explore everywhere because the walls claustrophobically force you along set rails.

There’s also no manual saving. I simply don’t understand why a game such as this doesn’t allow you to pick when to save. Luckily, auto-saves were frequent enough. However, there’s no reason for this game not to have a manual save. It forces you to either lose progress or leave your game on standby until you get back from dinner, school or work.

It would have been great if the designers had allowed us to wander a little wider around Regis III — even if there were cave networks, former facilities from attempts to reach the planet or simply wider valleys that could be explored. Games like Journey managed to create wide-feeling areas that still had a clear direction: this would have been welcome here. As the whole point of the story was to originally explore the entire planet this would have worked quite well. Navigating terrain was a bit buggy at times, and the walking speed was slow — a significant downside considering the type of game it is, and how central that is to it.

The storytelling in this game is okay, although maybe a video game isn’t the best delivery method for a story that originated in a novel. The fact that conversations can be cut off and never be picked up again by advancing to the next checkpoint discourages moving forward — which is the core concept of The Invincible. Despite any negatives about the storytelling, though, the voice acting was phenomenal for the two main characters, particularly Novik’s acting.

I loved The Invincible, specifically the art style and story, but I can only recommend it to fans of sci-fi or retro-futuristic aesthetics, and specifically those who are willing to deal with the slow pace. When it comes down to it, this is a ‘walking simulator’, but choices matter much more than I expected. The slow walking speed affects how fast you can complete the game, but overall, the style and story were worth those drawbacks!

The Invincible is available now for PC, PlayStation and Xbox.

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