The Invincible Review: Retrospace
Presenting Gameffine's The Invincible Review, a story-driven adventure set in a hard sci-fi world by Stanisław Lem
Price Currency: USD
Operating System: Windows 10
Application Category: Video Game
From the countless PS1 era Mecha games to today’s modern Space exploration games like Star Citizen, No Man’s Sky, and the very recent Bethesda’s full-blown Space RPG Starfield, Sci-fi space adventures have come a long way in video games. Following in the footsteps of Starfield, we have yet another Space adventure this year with a part retro and part Soviet twist. Presenting, Gameffine’s The Invincible review.
The Invincible is a game adaptation of the 1964 Polish novel of the same name by Stanisław Lem, a renowned hard science-fiction writer and futurologist. The game is developed by Starward Industries and published by 11 Bit Studios, and it is set to be released on November 6, 2023 for Windows, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S
Where Space Meets Retro
The game is a first-person adventure game that follows the story of Dr. Yasna, a sharp-witted astrobiologist who is part of the crew of the science vessel Dragonfly. The Dragonfly is sent to explore the uncharted planet Regis III, which is suspected to harbor intelligent life. However, things go wrong and Yasna finds herself alone and with no memory of what happened to her and her crewmates.
The game features a non-linear narrative that is driven by the player’s choices and interactions with the environment. Yasna can use various atompunk tools, such as a telemeter or a tracker, to scan, analyze, and manipulate objects and creatures on Regis III. She can also drive a vehicle to traverse the vast and diverse landscapes of the planet, which range from deserts to jungles to mountains.
It also features a great number of retro-stylized comic strips, that act as recap summaries in a similar fashion as early Max Payne games. This greatly adds to the surreal experience that it tries to establish. Given the fact that Yasna is always foggy on the recollections of her past memories, these comic strips bear great significance for us as players.
A Slow Roller-Coaster
The game aims to create a realistic and immersive experience of space exploration, as well as a philosophical and scientific story that explores the themes of human dominion, evolution, and the unknown. The game is inspired by the works of Stanisław Lem, who is known for his visionary and imaginative ideas, as well as his criticism of human arrogance and ignorance.
Thanks to gorgeous vistas and atmosphere, the game manages to deliver a surreal experience. But sadly that does not help its slow narrative that just takes forever to develop. Piecing together the clues, going through logs, and locating the next objective can make the overall experience quite boring, so much so that even Starfield’s rather bland main story feels like a roller-coaster ride in comparison to this one. But considering the fact that Starfield has no actual vehicles in it, it is a close call between these two.
The game also feels rather restrictive due to limited interactivity with the game’s environment. On top of that, most of the tasks are quite repetitive and desolate during most of their runtime. Despite its branched narrative paths, it feels limited and linear in its scope. It’s a journey with a strong premise plagued by redundant actions. Despite all this, its retro space vibes packaged into a Soviet Space adventure do give it a unique standing amongst its brethren.
Tech Support’s Rough Day
The Invincible looks great and has Nasa-punk vistas that one might expect. It also features great lighting and surreal extraterrestrial maps. However, it does suffer from a few technical issues. Texture pop-ins and low-resolution environmental models are quite frequent, especially if you are using AMD’s FSR upscaling. There are a few other technical issues that should be addressed in the game’s launch day patches.
Thankfully most of these issues do get fixed using NVIDIA’s DLSS 3.5 upscaling. So AMD users would be better off not using any upscaling at all as the game is not demanding on the hardware. But it does put the Nvidia users at an advantage due to its DLSS 3.5 support.
The Invincible does a great job of establishing its retro-themed space journey that feels surreal. It follows a strong premise that feels original and unique. However, it is plagued by its repetitive campaign activities, tiresome exploration, and technical issues. If you are looking for a space-faring experience, this might just be your next pick. Just be mindful of a sale.
Final Rating: 70/100
The InvincibleThe Invincible
- Great Visuals
- Retro Space Theme
- Surreal Atmosphere
- Nasa-punk Vistas
- Slow-paced Narrative
- Linear Structure
- Lack of Interactivity
- Technical Issues