This week I’ve been taking platforming adventure Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom for a spin on the PlayStation 3. Invizimals isn’t the biggest brand name in the gaming market, but it promises plenty of gameplay for a younger audience and some fun looking characters that caught my attention. The gaming market used to be full of titles like Invizimals, but with the popularity of titles in the Lego series, Ratchet & Clank and many others that are available on PlayStation hardware, many of the more unique and original titles have fallen into obscurity, especially in a still very FPS / online multiplayer focused market.
Created by the development team at Magenta Software, The Lost Kingdom is their first console title and it ties into the Invizimals series after the PlayStation Vita sequel Invizimals: The Alliance, focusing on the story of the alliance and renegade Extractor Industries. Taking the roll of Hiro who is sent through the Shadow Gate into a the Invizimals world, Hiro is set the task of joining forces with the creatures he encounters. To be honest, it’s all very run of the mill in terms of plot, borrowing from all the mediocre aspects of titles like Pokemon and Skylanders, but leaving out the same attention to detail and lore that has made such titles stand out on their own. The most interesting aspect of the game’s story is that cutscenes are played acted out with real people overlaid into the FMV, doing a steady job of narrating the plot as you progress, but also pretty much spelling out everything you need to do, leaving little to the imagination for those who like to work things out for themselves.
Gameplay is a little basic, ok it’s very basic, but it’s very pick up and play friendly that will no doubt appeal to a younger audience. As will the game’s story and kids TV style acting. The gameplay involves fusing your body with that of the Invizimals, unlocking the ability to perform new tricks such as climbing, swimming and various basic attacks, with the ability to switch characters on the fly to complete various tasks. However the gameplay does have a collect-a-thon aspect as you gather up Z-sparks to help level up your characters, but in the end that’s the be all end all of each level the game throws at you.
Liniar level design with only a few alternate routes from time to time mean that it’s fairly easy to find your way, which will once again appeal to those purchasing the game for a younger audience as the game is very accessible. There is a more involving Battle Mode that lets you fight it out with your best creatures, a welcome bonus, but it offers no benefit to the main story.
Graphics and presentation are reminiscent of games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Skylanders and similar explore / collect games, but the constant narration telling you everything that needs to be done, as well as how to do it, ruins the adventure and exploration aspects of the game.
The game is fundamentally a bit rubbish, but strangely still entertaining to play. It’s simple gameplay may not innovate, but the colourful characters and fairly decent voice acting are still pretty fun regardless. Those wanting a series adventure full of exploration and discovery, as well as better challenges will no doubt want to stick with tiles such as Lego Lord of the Rings or Skylanders, but for a fun and innocent game for kids to play, Invizimals has a lot going for it, especially for parents like myself who refrain from letting their younger children play titles like Call of Duty.
[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9cbcK5EKB8[/youtube]
“Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom lacks innovation and the gameplay is pretty basic, but colourfulpresentation and a fun, if somewhat clunky story will certainly appeal to a younger audience.”
- Good graphics and presentation
- Easy to pick up and play
- Fun and entertaining characters
- Can be picked up pretty cheap despite its recent release
- Can be paired with the Vita release to share content
- Battle mode adds value
- Constant narration is like a gaming sat nav, walking you through every aspect with little or no room for working things out yourself
- Doesn’t compare well to bigger titles like Lego and Skylanders
- In game camera can be a little restricting at times