Upon first glance of something like INVERSUS I’d be willing to bet that there’d be a strong divide on a reaction. A game that is (almost) strictly black and white in its color scheme seems to instantly intrigue some (me) or completely turn off others (a friend of mine). If you land in either of those camps this game will be either an uphill battle to want to play it, or it’ll be something you may already have on your console. Where the biggest factors should lie are in the way it plays, however, because we all know too well that the way a game looks does not determine the quality of the product. I will help you out here, though – that directly determines the product in this case. And guess what? It works.
Immediately upon taking the controls of your little square it becomes apparent that this game is super simple in the way it plays. You move the left stick in the direction you want to go and in order to shoot you use the Holy Symbols (the face buttons) which in turn shoot in the direction they’re facing (, , , ). The hook is that your color is the area that they can move in. If you’re white, you move through the black and vice versa. When you shoot you change the landscape to that color so you can move which blocks your opponent until he does the same. The main goal is to shoot the enemy. You both can shoot your projectiles and cancel each other out should they connect, which could be the only thing keeping you in the match that extra second.
The levels that you do battle in start off pretty simple, but they get much more advanced and weird/crazy in their designs. Some are downright sadistic, but overall, it helps the game out. No one wants a simple little box to travel in. Some of the levels twist and turn like a crossword puzzle, some have multiple blockers that no one can pass through in any way, and some showcase a “mirror” of some of the action that can confuse and disrupt your game if you aren’t paying super attention. They’re fun and challenging, and there’re dozens here. Well done.
The music is something that’s done particularly well, too. It’s got a trance-y or techno style to it and it fits the game so well. The way the music compliments the gameplay is something I would never have expected, but I really took to the whole experience and the way the movement felt while the soundtrack was playing. Great music choice.
INVERSUS comes with a couple of standard modes to fool around in whether it be online or local. The online mode is just a straight up Versus mode, but you can play the game either 1 on 1 or 2 on 2, and the 2 on 2 can be local or online based, even allowing you to mix it up and play with a friend on your couch against others online. A nice touch for sure. There’s also an Arcade mode that has a handful of levels that you can also tackle with a friend in the same room as you. The goal there is to rack up enough points to unlock the next level. What you do in this mode is what adds a new wrinkle and really allows the color red to reach its full potential. In any mode, you can pick up little red dots throughout the level and those bullets become super fast shots, whereas your standard shots sail slowly. You can collect as many as 5 but they will be used each new shot. So there’s one use of the color, but in Arcade mode, one of the major goals is to take out floating red squares. They are more numerous than your opposite color counterpart, but they do not have the ability to shoot at you. They just come straight for you without abandon. Chaining kills on these guys is essential to get out of tight jams because the later levels where both colors are against you can be really hectic, and it can get that way very fast.
As far as the online experience goes, I had a really fun time. I never waited too long for a game to get going and there have been a surprising amount of players on every time I wanted to get one on. No lag, short load times (online and off), and the same fun experience as offline Versus offers makes this a nice little diversion. It was all so smooth and fast. I have also discovered I’m actually really good at it. Now, look, I’m not the kind of guy to shout my greatness from the rooftops (I can’t anyway, I have no way of getting up there), but unless I played a whole slew of awful players, I’m genuinely pretty great at it. I say this because as I’ve gotten older and away from playing any kind of shooter online, I have been horrible. I may retire while I’m ahead with it. The only sad part is the leaderboards in the game are super lackluster and only track high scores. Bummer, dude.
The Trophy situation is a mixed bag. Some look to be too hard for me to achieve, while others are simple, you just need to put in the time. There’s also not many of them, just 12 in total, and yes, you guess it, there’s no Platinum to achieve. Which is a bummer. Always. We all know my feelings by now on this.
For a game that uses negative space as a major mechanic in a shooter to be as fun as this surprised me. I mean, I assumed I’d enjoy it, but not this much. Speed and precision are your allies here, which is something I’m not usually good at, especially in a twitch shooter such as this. Maybe the 2D nature of it helped. I don’t know, but what I do know is the fun I had was real. Much more real at least than the “love” I was shown by an ex-girlfriend that one time I don’t want to talk about but will if you message me and buy me gifts because gifts help heal all wounds, which is something I read online. I’m still hurting, guys…
Anyway… If it were cheaper, had better leaderboards, and had better Trophies (with a Plat), the score would have gone up. As it stands, however, this is still a great score, and it’s hard not to recommend this to everyone, whether you need a different kind of shooter, or just want another one because you like shooting things no matter what they are…