Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Platformer/Beat 'Em Up
 
Rating: PG
 
Release Date: Available Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
2/5


User Rating
1 total rating

 

Positives


Platforming is somewhat satisfying | Multiplayer can be fun, with online play | Good length

Negatives


Average graphics | Level design and combat is uninteresting | Lack of challenge


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Posted December 10, 2013 by

 
Full Article
 
 

The Invizimals series (developed by first party Sony studio Novarama) has been around for about 4 years now. Starting out on the PlayStation Portable, the series has now migrated to PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3. The series has been fairly well known for its use of camera accessories, which allow for AR functionality. The gameplay has generally revolved around capturing a large number of creatures called Invizimals, with players searching their immediate surroundings in order to find them.  Invizimals:  The Lost Kingdom is the first game in the series for PlayStation 3, and it does things a little differently to previous entries.

Unlike the previous games on the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita, The Lost Kingdom doesn’t make use of a camera accessory or any AR functionality. Instead, it focuses the Invizimals in a different way. Breaking away from series tradition, the game is a combination platformer and beat ’em up, which features a selection of just 8 of the series’ many creatures for players to control. The story follows a young explorer named Hiro, who discovers a magical portal which teleports him to the Lost Kingdom. The once peaceful Lost Kingdom is now under attack from a dangerous robot army, who are taking over the land. It’s up to Hiro to defeat them, but he’ll need to borrow the power of the Invizimals who live there in order to succeed.

Hiro makes his way through the game’s large number of short levels, taking on the forms of various Invizimal creatures as he goes. Each creature has a unique ability, and as the game progresses, you’ll need to switch between them more and more in order to advance. The Ocelot creature is the only one that can climb walls, the Minotaur creature can smash through walls, the Tiger Shark creature can swim underwater, etc. Each one adds its own element to the gameplay, and this system is one of the game’s strongest features. As you explore, you’ll come across a large number of breakable structures, each of which contains a number of collectible Z-Orbs. Z-Orbs are used to buy new moves for your Invizimal forms, with each Invizimal having 6 different moves. These are made up of 3 strong attacks, and 3 super moves.

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The moves are used for the game’s beat ’em up sections, where Hiro has to take on various members of the robot army. Unfortunately, these sections prove to be quite boring, and lack smoothness. Hiro’s attack animations are slow and cumbersome in each of his forms, and the enemy AI is very simple. Enemies will barely fight back, and when they do, their attacks are so slow that Hiro can simply pummel them to death before they even land a hit. It’s clear that The Lost Kingdom is intended to be a game for kids, but surely it wouldn’t hurt to at least offer some challenge here.

The platforming sections, which make up the majority of the game, are a bit more satisfying. The levels are just long enough to make you feel as though you’re making a good amount of progress each time you complete one, and there’s some good use of Hiro’s various forms. The level design is pretty simple though, not quite bland enough to turn you away from the game, but not quite interesting enough to keep you engaged either. Although new abilities are introduced at a decent pace, they’re always used in the exact same way, and the platforming itself is very safe. There’s no difficult jumps or timing based manoeuvres, and all of the puzzles are insultingly simple. Even when putting myself in the shoes of a much younger person, I can’t imagine most of this being particularly interesting. There’s a couple of sections that try to break up the flow a little, but it’s not enough. Obviously, you can’t make a game too hard when you’re targeting a young audience, but I feel like this game has the opposite issue. It’s a shame that Novarama didn’t try to work some kind of AR functionality into the game. That feature has basically been the series’ main draw card so far, and stripping it away completely hasn’t done them any favours.

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In addition to the main story, The Lost Kingdom also features a multiplayer mode, which offers a couple of options for taking on up to three opponents in a battle arena. You can use the Cross-Play option to connect multiple controllers to your PS3, or connect with a friend’s PlayStation Vita console locally. Meanwhile, you also have the option of accessing the Infrastructure feature to take on players online. Inside the battle arena, players fight it out in a free-for-all battle. After choosing an Invizimal to play as from a large number of different options, players launch attacks at each other, with goal of trying to reduce each others’ health to zero. With four players, things can get pretty hectic. Although each battle is short, the game gives you the option of having multiple rounds, and it’s a reasonably enjoyable experience.

Graphically, The Lost Kingdom is very average. Character models look really good, but that’s about it, unfortunately. Texturing is simple and just passable, environmental effects (such as water) are ugly, and the general 3D models look fairly rough. Despite this, the game still manages to have a couple of framerate issues, which pop up at seemingly random times. it’s not a game breakingly bad issue, but still a bit disappointing nonetheless, especially in a game that’s not visually imrpessive. The audio doesn’t fare any better, with the game featuring annoying (and sometimes bizarre, in the case of Hiro’s Ocelot form) sound effects, and mediocre voice acting. It’s clear that Novarama hired an actual young boy to voice Hiro, which lends his character some authenticity, but the writing is extremely cheesy (even for a kids game) and often stilted.

Overall, Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is a very average game. It does as many things wrong as it does right, and although it’s clearly intended for kids, the sheer lack of difficulty just feels disappointing. Players can simply breeze through the game, and although the controls, Hiro’s abilities, and platforming are fairly solid, they’re not quite as engaging as they really should be. Combined with some boring combat, and weak audio and visuals, this is a game that I’d only recommend to parents who are looking for a cheap game to distract their kids with for a few hours.


Adam Shurey

 
A well-rounded gamer who believes that no matter the platform, there will always be great games to be found. Whether it's for handheld, PC, or console - he'll play it. Well, as long as he's not too busy getting stuck into the latest RPG.


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