Invizimals Review

Invizimals (Available only on PSP)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Action/Sim
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: novarama
Release Date: October 12th, 2010

Parent Talk: Cute creatures, goofy dialogue, and cartoony violence make Invizimals the perfect game for all the kids in your household.  Anything seen during Saturday morning cartoons is about as offensive as Invizimals.

It seems like years have gone by since we first saw the PSP Camera prototype…wait a minute, it has been.  Why Sony chose to release the camera add-on with Invizimals is beyond me.  The twist is that it’s a child’s game, meaning the attach-rate for the camera isn’t going to be high.  Given all the news I’ve been posting about the PSP2 and PS Phone, I doubt Sony really cares.  They’re in next-gen mode now.

The Great: It’s awkward to play a game that’s so obviously meant for children when you’re a full grown adult.  At least Invizimals’ really neat concept stood out.  Imagine Pokémon, but in the real world.  Kids could eat that up, no?  Invizimals and its PSP Camera support bridge the gap between the real world and the game world.  You set out a special trap card on any surface in your house (coffee table, floor, etc), then look through the PSP screen.  Before long, little creatures begin to appear!  Play a mini-game and presto, you’ve captured a new friend that you didn’t know was hiding in your house.

The Good:

+ Fight Club.  Upon collecting your invizimals, you battle by heading into virtual arenas and pitting them against other trainers from all over the world.  During such, short live-action cutscenes play out introducing players to the trainers.  It’s extremely childish, but it works the game’s audience.

+ Simple, but addictive.  Invizimals come in six different types, and each bears four unique attacks that are strong or weak against a certain elemental type.  This is standard fare for this genre.  Fire is weak against ice, etc.  Battles never require heavy strategy because fights are semi-turn based.  After a series of attacks, the invizimals must recharge their stamina bar.  Powerful attacks drain it quicker.

The Bad:

– Not much else.  There is a game here, but not much of one.  It doesn’t take long to realize that Invizimals is really a tech demo, but kids won’t know that.  To them, this will be the coolest thing since yesterday’s Sonic X episode.

The Ugly:

My camera experienced a few instances of failing to locate invizimals anywhere in my house.  Sometimes the trap card can become confused with the background surface color.  Kids should make sure to not reuse surfaces.  It adds to the mystery.

The Lowdown:

Invizimals isn’t for 99.998% of our readers, but that doesn’t mean someone won’t find this review useful.  Anyone raising young kids should buy this; they’d get a kick out of it methinks.  I know I would have at a young age.  For everyone else, naturally pick something else.

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