Developer: Digital Kingdom
Publisher: Digital Kingdom
Category: Arcade, Party, Action, Puzzle
Release Date: 05.17.2018
Local co-op has provided me with some of my most cherished gaming memories. I’ve had some diverse experiences too. From playing Super Mario 3D world with the ol’ ball and chain, her 1st Nintendo experience, to death squared with a complete stranger on the train. For this reason, I will always eagerly try out a new multiplayer sofa game.
Invisiballs is a different experience to the aforementioned games. That’s not to say it is any less fun. The premise is simple, you must navigate a maze like, single screen grid with an invisible ball, whilst simultaneously trying to attack your opponent. Games come fast and frantic, and are loud, nefarious affairs. As you would expect from a game played with others in the room, there are moments of genuine excitement as you navigate the grid for supremacy.
Whilst easy enough to pick up, learning how to navigate a maze whilst invisible has a certain degree of skill and timing your attacks so that you don’t slow down too much is the real learning curve.
The level design in Invisiballs is really varied offering narrow corridors, open spaces and maze like grids. Whilst straight forward enough in execution, each different style challenges you to think about how you approach the level. Narrow corridors make for a nervous, edgy affair as each corner could potentially bring you into a direct collision with your foes. Open spaces offer nowhere to hide and mazes mean, with a little thinking, you can sneak up on your opponents and take them by surprise.
All of this means that, what is a very bare bones experience can offer hours upon hours of party fun.
There are two modes available at launch, Free for all and Gold Rush. Free for all is as the name suggests, every one for their selves. Earn points by killing your friends.
Wait, that’s not right. Scratch that.
Earn points by defeating your rivals.
As well as scoring points, you lose points when you yourself are vanquished. Gold rush is a little different and similar to capture the flag. The idea of this mode is to hold onto the gold for a sufficient amount of time in order to score points.
The 3rd mode, simply labelled ‘coming soon’, could possibly be online or local multiplayer when the game is actually released. It’s also entirely possible that it is something entirely new that will be unlocked in a future update.
Invisiballs offers a tutorial which I would say is certainly advisable to check out before playing as it’s not in any way long but lays out the basics. After that, all you need is at least one friend to play with. And if you have two or three, even better as this game comes alive with more players involved.
The music is instrumental in building the tension as it throbs and pulses throughout, escalating as you get closer to your opponent or when the game is delicately balanced. This in turn cranks the excitement up to the max and really keeps the momentum of the game flowing. It is difficult to explain but without such a (invisi)ballsy, no pun intended, backdrop of beats and melodies, Invisiballs wouldn’t be even half the experience it actually is.
Whilst the presentation is, as the developers themselves say, minimalist, when 4 people are playing together, the screen comes alive with bold vibrant colours. This game looks stunning when in motion. When in full flow, Invisiballs is a sheer thrill ride that rolls along at 100 mph , never giving you a chance to catch your breath. Or rest your finger for that matter.
It is important to realise that Invisiballs was built to be played in tabletop mode, with Joy Cons split almost like a board game. To accommodate this, the Switch is placed flat, not on the kickstand. I personally found the single Joy Con configuration uncomfortable, even with the straps attached. Consequently, I opted to play with a Pro Controller. However, as all you need to play this game is the directional buttons and A button, it is entirely up to the player which control method they decide to use.
Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say, lets have some fun. I love an interwoven narrative, filled with twists and betrayal as much as the next guy. Be that as it may, there is no place for any kind of tacked on story. As shocking as it may be to fathom, there is absolutely no form of plot here whatsoever. And there really does not need to be, so lets move swiftly on from that little detour.
All things considered, Invisiballs is a top notch title in its own right. Its play style is built for local co-op therefore its essential to play with friends. With this in mind, it is certainly refreshing; in a market over saturated with big online experiences, to find a title that reminds us all of the joy of getting together with friends and having a laugh. Given these points, it is important to judge this title on its own merits and accordingly, I can do nothing but sing its praises. By and large, Invisiballs has got balls.
Frantic, breakneck multiplayer experience. Perfect with a friend but the more the merrier. Minimalist yet striking visuals. Surprisingly intense, adrenaline enkindling soundtrack. Varied level design. Slightly bare bones yet incredibly moreish.