Whilst Nintendo seem to have the monopoly on the “collect them all” genre with Pokémon continually raking in the cash, PSP owners also get to go outside and collect some weird and wonderful creatures, and whilst Invizimals doesn’t have the advertising power of One Direction to tell you how good it is, this new Invizimals game turns out to be a fun and addictive title and yet another reason to try and find your PSP camera.
Though I have not played any of the previous titles, Invizimals: The Lost Tribe very gently takes you through the gameplay basics with a very easy to follow video introduction, which once out of the way you begin your quest in earnest. Being one of the best Invizimal trappers you are requested all over the globe, following leads deciphered by using the eye and solving riddles in the form of jigsaw puzzles from another trapper called Keni who went over to the Invizimals world in the previous game, now you are piecing to together what happened and of course, lots of trapping Invizimals and fighting them.
As you race around the globe you will have plenty of opportunities to trap new Invizimals. Here the camera will lead you around your surroundings, using the proximity radar which sounds like a Geiger counter; with the closer you get to your target, the more frantic it clicks. If you can’t find anything the game will hive hints like try somewhere else or try finding a specific coloured surface. Once the radar is at full click you then lay your trap, waiting for the camera to lock on and then bang your hand on the trap to bring out the Invizimal. You are then tasked with trapping and keeping them which are carried out via a mini-game based in the augmented reality world, with some requiring you to use an Invizimal like a snooker ball, have them jumping for fish, gathering escaped souls and even eating sheep, they are over relatively quickly and when they work, they are great fun.
Hosting 150 Invizimals to find and collect, they all have a wide range of powers and looks including some really hard to catch bosses. Each of the Invizimals have a base element that makes it easier for you to choose the most appropriate before a battle with fire, earth, ocean all having their own weaknesses and strengths. Once you have a reasonable group you are able to enter into fights to make your Invizimals even better. There are a range of battles to enter, the Club Fights are one on one fights based on the Invizimals local to that area, Tournaments pit you against other professionals and new Tag Team fights, allowing you to tag in a partner whenever required.
Battles are quite straight forward; again lay your card down and your Invizimal will burst from the ground, ready to scrap it out. Each Invizimal has four basic attacks which are dependent on the Invizimal themselves. Most of the fights turn out to be very close affairs, with the game having a very high difficulty curve. To master the battles you need to be wary of not just on your health but also your stamina, with each attack and block using it up you are often left waiting for it to recharge, open to attacks.
Even when waiting for a recharge you are not left entirely on the ropes as you are able to purchase and sell Vectors from the shop at any time. Vectors are extra powers that you can take into the battle arena, how many though is dependent on the fight rules. For a few Sparks you can purchase stamina and health boosts, shields, walls and even some super powers like earthquake, with you shaking the PSP to create a crack in the arena, firewall where you ignite a wall of fire or the obscure Balloon, where you aim at the enemy and blow into the microphone, causing them to expand and eventually pop. With every successful attack your enemy will shed Sparks, light blue orbs that you move the camera target over to collect which act as currency. As well as Sparks, random Vectors also appear on the arena, grabbing these may give you an advantage of a new power, but also could damage you even further. Very early on you start to realise that you will need Vectors to win fights, so picking on the lower ranked Club Fights not only helps build your cash flow but also the Invizimals ranking.
As you win fights you gradually level up your character, with every rank allowing you to add vital points to their stats, boosting Life, Stamina, Stamina recovery, Attack and Armour. You can also unlock the ability to customise your Invizimal with different colours and even evolve their looks. With you lovely Cerberus puppy turning into a ferocious three headed, snake tailed hound from hell and your cute Frostee penguin growing razor sharp talons
Of course all this ranking up and customisation is worthless without being able to show it all off and invisible has a decent assortment of online functions with local and networked games available.
Graphically the game looks great with really well created 3D models allowing you to move the camera around the arena for that perfect camera view and a decent amount of cut scenes involving a host of actors including Brian Blessed. Sadly the PSP Camera can at times cause more headaches than necessary; static fights are mostly ok as the camera does not need to be moved often, however this falls apart when you are playing the trapping mini-games, with lots of movement required, the camera will lose focus, causing the augmented reality areas to turn into a right mess, with items appearing all over the place, often resulting in a failed trap, annoyingly this is most prevalent in the boss games, making it a lot harder than it should be and causing lots of frustration.
Invizimals: The Lost Tribes is at times enjoyable, but it is let down by the surprisingly hard difficulty setting where grinding becomes a necessary evil and a patchy camera that messes up far too often.
Rating: AverageReview Policy
You can order Invizimals: The Lost Tribes here.