Invizimals on PSP has its limitations but the technology behind the game is pretty damn interesting
- Interesting technology supported by the PSP camera, over 100 different Invizimals to capture, lengthy single-player mission, multiplayer offerings are surprisingly robust, combat is engaging
- Story mode feels like an extended PSP commercial, gameplay works against the technology by requiring constant movement around the Invizimal trap card (resulting in frequently connection issues), mission structure feels heavily repetitive and deliberately confined
The PSP Camera is a fascinating piece of technology that just needs a killer app to make it a must-own accessory for owners of the handheld. Unfortunately, while it was developed off some interesting ideas, it isn't the revolutionary experience it needed to be. It's also a missed opportunity to steal some thunder away from rival monster battle franchise, Pokemon.
Before this review gets rolling, let’s establish one thing about Invizimals — the technology behind the game is pretty damn interesting. Using the PSP Camera peripheral and a handy little patterned cardboard “trap card,” the bulk of the game is focused around catching invisible animals — in the real world — that only your PSP can see. Depending on the time of day and where you are, Invizimals can be found almost anywhere: your bathroom, the kitchen, a vacant parking lot, in your morning transit bus, or even on the butt of someone’s jeans.
When you first see the technology at work, it’s stunning. As you lay the trap card on a flat surface, you can move around the Invizimals as your PSP tracks their movements and location in real time, which is sure to blow the mind of any small child. However, the limitations of the technology start cropping up immediately as you start to make progress through the game’s missions. Even when you have a direct, uninterrupted line of sight between your PSP and the trap card, the game will often tell you that you’re too close or too far away, resulting in glitch-heavy monster battles that get completely frustrating in very little time.
Mainly, this problem persists when you’re capturing Invizimals. You’ll only be able to “see” certain monsters if your immediate surroundings have enough light and colour. At a certain point, the game will tell you to find a specific colour, but instead of finding “orange,” you’ll actually have to find the right shade of orange. If you live in a dimly lit, largely monochrome house like I do, this becomes a problem right off the bat, and you’ll have to resort to using a lamp and shaded paper (or a brightly coloured women’s underwear catalogue, like I did). Then, the actual capturing method starts with a mini-game, of which there are several types. Some monsters have to be stunned by lasers from your PSP, others can be guided into jumping onto the trap card, and one mini-game in particular required me to slap my hand down on an Invizimal when its back was turned.
And that’s where the technology and gameplay makes the biggest mess. Moving your PSP often throws off the camera’s sensor, forcing you to reorient your line of sight with the trap card. It’s a problem that’s compounded by the fact that the game requires you to move the PSP both in a fight and during any capture. Collecting Sparks (the in-game currency) mid-battle, shaking the PSP to power-up special moves, and using the camera’s reticule to trace spell-casting symbols — all of these actions interrupt the gameplay and everything else you do. In most cases, it’s usually just easier to move the trap card itself. But even that doesn’t work any more effectively. Ironically, the game is best played sitting at a brightly lit table with a collection of coloured flashcards, and that eliminates the free-roaming fun that most players should expect to have with a portable system.
At the very least, the combat’s fun when you have the perfect conditions set up. Rather than selecting moves in a turn-based format, Invizimals execute attacks in real time with a rock-paper-scissors flow. You can attack, block, or use items to damage your opponent’s Invizimal, with each move draining stamina. There are a few elemental advantages to keep in mind, although most are pretty nonsensical (ice creatures are impervious to slashing attacks, and you “can’t poison a desert”). Aside from how well you manage commands, winning a battle can be the result of several things, from an Invizimal’s level to their equipped “vectors,” so it’s nice that the battles have some spontaneity.
Moreover, the gameplay behind Invizimals is at least unique and memorable, which is more than I can say for the hilariously terrible single-player story mode. Live action cut-scenes introduce you to Kenichi, an over-enthusiastic Sony Research & Development employee who first discovered the Invizimals’ existence. With the premise of live chatting through your PSP system, Kenichi enlists your help in tracking down the different types of Invizimals as he and other characters “around the world” try to find out who is attempting to steal Kenichi’s Invizimal-tracking technology — which, I’ll remind you, seems to mostly consist of a PSP Camera and a patterned tracking card. It’s an overly dramatic narrative that’s almost so-bad-it’s-good, but it’s worth noting that the actors clearly aren’t phoning in their performances.
Still, as you advance through the story, it quickly becomes clear the game only moves forward once you jump through specific hoops. Any flexibility that could be had here is never explored — you stop gaining experience from battles once the game decides you’re sufficiently leveled-up for the next boss encounter, and certain Invizimals can’t be captured for preset periods of time. That means you’ll be stuck waiting for specific creatures to pop up before you can fulfil a mission quota, which seems incredibly odd. It almost seems like the developers want kids to take a break from the game instead of grinding through it.
Developer Novarama deserves praise for what they’ve accomplished with “augmented reality” gameplay on the PSP. Even though the actual game isn’t anywhere near as engaging as it could be, it definitely brings more to the table than what I’ve seen from most other Pokemon knock-offs. Regardless, it’s frustrating that the gameplay and technology work so badly in conjunction that they throw off Invizimal’s central premise. While the packed-in PSP Camera and trap card is handy, it almost would have been better if the game were packaged with some multi-coloured 5-by-5 cards and a flashlight.
Join the newsletter!
Apple iPhone X
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
cloudandco Smart Cane
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Toys for Boys
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Bose SoundLink Micro
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- Australian Game Developers March On, Generating $118.5M In Spite of Limited Recognition and Support
- Overwatch League draws millions of eyes in first week
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By MadCatz
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Razer
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By HyperX
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTClass Super - Application Support Analyst - SMSF solutionsOther
- FTLead Business AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- CCPrincipal Business Analyst - Health & DeliveryQLD
- FTFront End DeveloperOther
- TPSenior Project Manager - Data MigrationNSW
- TP3 x Change and Adoption Managers | Health | 12 month contractsQLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure EngineerOther
- CCTechnical ArchitectVIC
- FTCyber Security AnalystOther
- TPSenior Project Manager - Risk & ComplianceNSW
- FTIntegration LeadOther
- FTSenior Change Analyst / Change Manager ( Banking background)Other
- CC.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCData ArchitectWA
- FTICT Security AnalystACT
- FTSenior Pega Developer (Pega Senior Systems Architect)Other
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- FTApplication Support AnalystOther
- FTNetwork Engineer (RUN-BAU)VIC
- TPBusiness Consulting Senior PrincipalACT
- FTFull Stack Developer - ASP.NETVIC
- CCSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Health - Data Linkage SystemQLD