Release Date: 28th September
Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £10.99
As a twin stick shooter you need to have a high tempo theme song and the game delivers one that pumps out techno style. The songs are robotic and they suits the game though it would have been nice to have a bit more variety, the sound effects of shooting and getting shot are nice.
The visuals are minimalistic, effectively you are playing on a grid of small squares and you yourself are a square. Somehow for such a simple set of visuals though the game looks pretty great largely due to the fast paced action and the 60 different colour palettes that you can unlock with each having a simple yet lovely contrast pairing.
The game looks best on the move where you find you can get really immersed into the rhythmic song if you have headphones and the almost hypnotic colour flipping action.
INVERSUS is a negative-space shooter where the playfield looks simple at first but gets more complex as the action unfolds. You use the left Analog Stick to move your character, a small square, around the map with the caveat being you can only move on tiles that are the same colour as you. You use the right buttons instead of the right Analog stick to shoot directionally with X being up, A being right and so on which gives the game a different feel from the twin stick shooters we have become accustomed to in recent memory.
Each shot flips tile colours opening up a path to travel down and conversely closes a pathway for your enemy leading to frantic firing to trap your opponent whilst making sure you yourself are not trapped. Once you get hit you are dead.
The game has two main modes in Arcade and VS, Arcade mode sees you fighting off hordes of enemies which at first cannot shoot back but are trying to push their way through a grid and hit you and soon sees more enemies that shoot back and come in increasingly difficult waves.
VS mode pits you against an opponent in a battle to the death with the first to get to 3 rounds winning the match.
In both Arcade and VS modes you have the same simple weapon which shoots up, down left or right and holding down a direction will charge up for a devastating triple line attack. Whilst you are charging you find yourself vulnerable as your movement slows down leading to interesting use of the move. There are also powerful pick up bullets in the form of either a single extra fast shot or a series of 3, these bullets will almost certainly lead to a kill if you can get them and then shoot them at your opponent. The power ups can be shot so if they land on a tile that you do not control you can shoot it to stop your opponent getting one which is often a good idea.
The game features a level up system that unlock the 60 different colour palettes discussed that will randomly be chosen going forward unless you turn the option off as well as 250 emotes, a nice simple touch which lets you assign an emoji to the four Trigger buttons that can be selected whilst in between rounds.
In addition to levels your score in Arcade mode lets you unlock the next map once you reach a certain threshold and a bunch of additional maps have been added for the Deluxe Version on the Switch which is a nice touch.
Similarly completing a VS battle by winning will unlock the next map in VS mode. In both modes the maps are the biggest differentiating factor and as you go higher up the levels the maps get crazier leading to action packed battles, you will find maps that you can head off screen at the top only to appear at the bottom or to shoot through and other complex structures ensuring that once you get the hang of the game you continue to be challenged.
The game is fun in small doses and the simple additions such as levelling to unlock features keep you coming back for more albeit the game will not likely hold your attention for too long at once.
Leaderboards are a very welcome addition here and there is a lot of depth with each level in Arcade having a high score as well as each VS battle and then corresponding multiplayer leaderboards as well.
Both online and local multiplayer options are supported. The competitive versus mode pits players against each other in 1v1 or 2v2 battles and cooperative Arcade modes pit players against endless waves of enemies as they fight for high scores on an ever-changing board. Versus mode is fun but surprisingly I found the cooperative Arcade mode to be more fun when with a friend, the cooperative nature led to more intricate and longer games that had me fighting for survival. Team play in 2 vs 2 battles where you are with a friend is excellent, teaming up to destroy a pair of enemies felt like the best way to play this game and you can see that it was intended to be played in this frantic action with more players.
A nice feature of Online play is the ability to play locally either alone or if with a friend then together whilst you wait for a match to be found, a simple and yet very welcome feature that keeps you in the action at all times.
The game has been released on PS4 and on Windows but it certainly feels best on the Switch due to its portability and joycon controls which feel great here.
The game is very polished, the single developer Ryan Juckett has experience of working for Bungie and you can see how this experience has let him to developing a very smooth game with no lag, slowdown and excellent coding for Online support.
At the price the game falls amongst a lot of competition but due to its replayability and multiplayer support the game feels well priced though single player offline play will quite quickly become stale.