In IN-VERT, you play as a robot who’s looking for the girl who created it. To do so, you must travel through two parallel dimensions at the same time. This happens by “inverting”. You hit a button and you’re in the same place but in the alternate world. If there’s an obstacle in your way, you can switch over and it will be gone. This creates a lot of opportunities for complex puzzles that require quick reaction times. The graphics are very retro and it’s a pretty short adventure, but could take you longer depending on skill. As with most platformers, it introduces new puzzle mechanics and progressively gets more difficult.
Here’s what I liked:
Fast-Paced — Jumping and inverting at the same time and barely making it proves to be exciting. You feel like you’ve really achieved something when you survive by just a few pixels. The levels are pretty short with very forgiving checkpoints, making it perfect for playing for short amounts of time. The controls are mostly tight and allow for perfect timing jumps that let you feel good about your landing. It does have a few areas that you need to think, like how to get a block to the wall you need to jump over. Otherwise, it’s mostly a speed runner’s paradise.
Sort of Nostalgia — It feels like you’re playing something from the ’80s. The colors are all pretty bland and the design seems like it was inspired by Space Invaders, especially the bosses. This would have been a perfect game to include in an arcade. It’s very doable but takes a few tries to get the hang of the correct inverting. The soundtrack is also full of retro vibes. It’s kind of a happy sound with quick beats. Even though you didn’t play it when you were younger, you feel like you could have.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
No Extras— Besides the main campaign, there’s really nothing to do. I would have figured there would at least be a time attack mode. Instead, you just complete it and never look back. The first time through a level can be fun, but it’s not something that would make you want to play a second time through. The color schemes vary for the levels, but you don’t have any control over what you want them to be. The game has been on PC for a while and in that version you can actually create your own levels and share them so others can play what you’ve built. I am not sure why it was excluded, but it really could have used it.
Later Stages — Through the first few worlds, there is a nice incline in difficulty but the challenge comes from creative leaps of faith that get more intense. I felt that, in the last area, all the cool ideas were dropped and, instead, you were forced to complete extremely difficult levels that rushed you with a wall moving behind you. The skateboarding levels will be where most people choose to move on to another game. The timing seems off and the skateboard makes no sense at all in the world. I never completed all of the levels, choosing to give up because of a wall I just couldn’t seem to jump over. It catapulted me reverse into another wall and I died – more times than I would like to admit. There are no hints or previous explanations for the arrows on the walls or how they work. These stages also decided to ditch most of the fun elements from the beginning and middle areas.
Another “short but sweet” game that doesn’t show off with graphics. Not every game has to look amazing to be entertaining. What IN-VERT does well is that it provides you with decent entertainment at a great price. Without extra modes nor a very good story, you might give it a few hours and never play it again. The exclusion of level creation seems to really weaken the release on Xbox. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just missing what sounds like more than half of what the game is meant to be. If you’re hunting for achievements, you’ll be happy to know it’s quite an easy 1,000 Gamerscore you can get without even having to beat half of the stages.
Score: Limited Appeal
IN-VERT was published by Victory Road and developed by TERNOX on Xbox One. It was released on January 8, 2020, for $4.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.