The invincible and inhospitable cold of space – PIEUVRE.CA

The Invincible, a narrative game developed by Starward Industries and published by 11 Bit Studios and set in a retro science fiction universe, wants to assure you in every way that it highlights a philosophical dilemma of great importance. However, in its desire to complete its argument, the title sacrifices pretty much everything except the graphics.

On the planet Regis III, astrobiologist Yasna is separated from her colleagues, who together form a small research team affiliated with the Commonwealth. Eager to find the other members of the crew, our hero will quickly realize that something is wrong in this world. Like another similar narrative game, the excellent Firewatch, The Invincible will attempt to create an emotional bond between Yasna and the mission commander as the latter remains in orbit.

In fact, for a very large part of the game, this will be the only person we are in contact with; On the surface of this strange world everything is desert; The few people who are found there, whether our colleagues or members of the Alliance that is the Commonwealth’s enemy, are largely either deprived of their higher cognitive functions or dead.

Regis III is therefore a real alien planet in the strange sense of the word: there are no friendly, poorly developed inhabitants or vast green meadows here; No, everything is dead, barren. And what about these strange metal structures that don’t appear to be of human origin?

And throughout the eight hours that this adventure lasts, the game will always ask the same question: What are we doing here? Does humanity really need to explore the galaxy? What sense? And why do we shift our ancient conflicts between the stars?

Picture from the game

From vision to implementation

That’s all well and good, even if it’s not overly original, but the developers of “The Invincible” don’t seem to have found an effective way to implement their questions – or rather, undoubtedly those of the novel of the same name – based on development their game – in the form of interesting mechanics.

Instead, unfortunately, we are doomed to participate in a practically uninteresting walking simulator. “Firewatch”, as mentioned above, revolved around the relationship between the hero and that female voice that guided him every day in his work as a forester responsible for detecting fires. Here, the exchange between Yasna and her commander is largely professional, cold or even distant.

Interactions with the environment are minimal: here we turn a key, there we press a button… Otherwise we simply have to follow the path given to us, without the possibility of exploring or going off the beaten path. Worse, the dialogues are sometimes so long that, as we move along at an already ridiculously slow pace, we regularly “skip” dialogues, thus initiating new conversations.

Add to this a multitude of sequences in which we have no control over our character, and you get an experience that is almost as interactive as a movie… and much more frustrating, since we are offered an adventure video game and exploration , which generally means control of a character’s actions.

A rare positive point: The Invincible relies on a retro style in all of its science fiction equipment: from the controls to the furniture, including the suits, the robots, the spaceships and even the cigarettes that our explorers bring from space smoking, everything is reminiscent of the passion for space in the 1950s. A great success that is much more interesting than the often soulless features of contemporary science fiction works.

Despite this visual success, The Invincible is a game so frustrating that we keep thinking about giving up on everything. We see that the potential is particularly poorly exploited, and that only makes things worse. A game to forget.

The invincible one

Developer: Starward Industries

Editor: 11 Bit Studios

Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Windows (tested on Windows/Steam)

Game available in French (UI and subtitles)

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