There is something to be said for simplicity. To be able to pick up a game and instantly understand what is going on, knowing the controls and being able to be competent. But to keep you interested, that is clever design and that is at the core of Inversus.
The concept is that you are either a black or white cube and you fire bullets that turn opposite colour blocks to your colour. You can then pass through them. You can shoot up, down, left or right only and you have limited bullets that regenerate over time.
With a versus or arcade mode the goal is the same – kill the enemies before they kill you. The challenge – they are doing the same thing, turning the maps to their colours presenting your movement. Your shooting then must clear a path for you to be able to move as well as to destroy them. Very simple.
The challenge though is incredible and this comes from a huge variety of tactics and strategies you can employ. For example, perhaps you would try to box your opponent in, limiting their scope for attacking you as you close in. Managing bullet is key, whilst the recharge time isn’t huge it’s big enough that if you try to rapid fire you will find yourself high and dry – and with bullets needed to clear some space for movement, you’re going to have a few issues very quickly.
More depth is added by the ability to charge shots (which fire across three rows rather than just one, at the expense of time) and quick shots, found by red power ups that move a lot faster across the board. An easy to play, but hard to master philosophy exists at the core of Inversus and with up to four players all competing at once it gets very intense very quickly.
I actually found myself playing the arcade mode more, which is a classic type of score attack. Baddies fly in towards you, changing squares to the opposite colour. Killing them is as important as creating your own movement space but others will appear with different movement patterns and even their own projectiles as the speed and volume increases. It becomes tense, stressful and exciting. As more maps unlock different shaped play areas become available which leads to different tactics. A soundtrack exists to heighten this tension and despite the simple look and feel never feels cheap or lazy.
Inversus feels polished, refined, and battle-hardened. In some ways it’s a hard sell, it’s just black and white squares but this shouldn’t put you off. It’s a real gem and I’ve found time fly by as I get more and more involved into trying to beat my previous score (or my opponents) over and over. This is a true indicated of a quality title and for the low price point it is well worth a buy.
Reviewed on PS4