The tried-and-true of The Invincible, a high-impact sci-fi narrative adventure, attempts to translate Stanisław Lem into a video game.
“The second-class cruiser Invincible, the largest unit available to the Lira base, was photon-operated in the far quadrant of the constellation. Eighty-three crew members slept in the hibernation tunnel on the central deck. The flight was relatively short, deep sleep was preferred to complete hibernation, As the body temperature did not fall below ten degrees. Only automatic devices were operating on the bridge. Their field of view, right in the center of the aiming system, was occupied by a disk from the sun slightly warmer than a common red dwarf. When its circle reached half the width of the screen, the reaction ceased Annihilation of the engine.
For a while there was absolute silence over the entire ship. Air conditioners and computers did not make any noise. The extremely light vibration caused by emitting a beam of light from the propellers, which shot out from the stern like a sword of infinite length, immersed in the darkness, gave off slight repercussions on the ship. Invincible was now walking at a steady speed, as if lethargic, deaf, and seemingly empty. Thus begins the Stanislav Lim novel that inspired Starward Industries to make his untitled game. I tried the invincible Hoping to rediscover the same atmosphere, we were not disappointed.
The version of The Invicible we had the chance to test contained about an hour of gameplay and left us with a very accurate impression of what it wanted it to be, and convex, of what it wouldn’t be. The authors seem to wish to resume the philosophical structure of Lem’s work, grafting it onnarrative adventure Filled with guided interactions, conversational action, where what happens is always, or almost always, significant and, to some extent, descriptive. The player takes on the role of Yasna, a scientist sent on a rescue mission to the third planet Regis. His teammates seem to have vanished into thin air and no longer show signs of life. So our goal is to try to track them down, alive or dead, and try to understand what happened.
there experimental From this point of view, it was really indicative, because it starts right when you meet the rest of the team. The first thing to do is choose how to proceed, this is the path to follow on a vehicle to reach our first destination.
Regis III is a deserted, sandy planet. Right from the start we notice the care that has been taken in representing the place, which is really impressive and very impressive, despite the fact that all you can see around it are the rock formations and sand clouds. Yasna wears a space suit and is equipped with a communication system with which she constantly communicates with her manager, Novik. He talked a lot, explaining all his progress and outlining potential dangers, and in response, he receives directions on how to proceed and hints at the truth behind the expedition. The scientist also explains many theories about what happened, always starting with an observation of what is out there. While playing we will discover that he also has some tools, such as a telescope, a scanner and a kind of electronic folder, where he marks all his discoveries, such as the numbers of the expedition vehicles or the names of the colleagues that have been found.
The pace of play It’s too slow. The Invincible doesn’t seem to be an adequate business for those who are going to pull out if they don’t see explosions for five minutes in a row. In the demo hour, there was never any real action, but the game made us learn a lot about Regis III and its puzzles, and also gave us an explanation of what happened, however incomplete. In this it seems that the developers closely followed Clement’s book, the investigative part being resolved long before the end, so as not to disturb the author’s philosophical reflections on the nature of life. We won’t tell you exactly what’s going on. Just know that we will end up meeting “enemies”, so to speak, but we will not face them in the traditional way. In fact, we will not deal with it at all. Be that way, let’s continue.
During her search, Yasna arrives in an area where there are two apparently dead robots. These are highly advanced machines with systems designed for rock drilling. There is no one around them. Yasna takes photos taken by the security camera of one of the two robots (the cloned technology is 1960s sci-fi, including the microphone always in the foreground, albeit with some concessions to modernity) and finds out more or less what happened to her. Then his colleagues continue his search by observing strange mineral formations that have installed themselves in a channel and that appear to be alive, at least according to the scanner.
The whole is topped with Dialogues Continuous, which can last even for whole minutes, as the multiple-choice system now and then asks us to intervene. In the demo, it’s not clear if our decisions will have an impact on unraveling the story. Replaying it twice, only to choose alternative answers to those given earlier, we did not notice significant changes in events, but only in some dialogues. They’ll probably somehow think about the latter part of the adventure, even if it’s just a way to get us to stick to a certain point of view on the matter. But let’s go further than that.
Despite herself, Yasna discovers that one of the two robots is still active. Somehow he manages to bypass the area he is in and catch up on the rest of the expedition. Here too, she does not do much in the sense that she enters the vehicles and the few buildings that are present and interacts with the various machines in search of recordings and clues that enlighten her of what happened. Let’s say it’s basically a narrative section that, apart from looking for an alternative way to get to a prospecting site (quite and very simple, actually), consists of many targeted dialogues and interactions. This is also the time when a file physical existence Yasna gets stronger, though with an adventure experienced in first person, with unique animations dedicated to different interactions and the player’s need to make some moves directly with the mouse/controller to operate the instruments. In this sense, The Invincible appears to have been designed with great care, to give the player the idea of really being there physically. However, after understanding the team’s fate, the demo ends with an exploration of the excavation site and a choice by Yasna to activate a final event, the consequences of which are left unresolved, with reference to the final version. A version we can’t wait to play at this point in the hope that it delivers on all the promises of this great demo.
It’s obviously too early to make judgments on The Invincible but, as we mentioned, we still have an accurate idea of its gameplay, which has a strong narrative nature, even if it’s not backed by the graphic sequences. The part of the story we played didn’t really pique our curiosity a bit, although we’ve always known to some degree where it would end (we read the novel). From a technical point of view, Starward Industries’ work seemed excellent to us, and the dialogues managed to get us fully into the topics covered. The hope is that the rest of the adventure will also be on the same level, because basically the experience lives on the beauty and cruelty of Regis III and the ability of the scripts to give us a strong perspective on what happened, raises deep questions.
- Lots of dialogue
- Regis III is a cruel and wonderful planet
- Will our choices have weight?
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”