When we were invited to the Barbican Centre to meet all things Invizimals last weekend, we were lucky enough to get to play the new PS Vita game before it’s 28 March release date. If you can imagine a dozen small boys tearing around with handheld consoles clutched in their hands, bumping into things and each other in their haste to catch small virtual animals, then you’re doing well- I’ve just about recovered from it all a week later.
Whilst the PS3 Invizimals game is very much a standard 3D platformer, albeit it a very slick one, the PS Vita version is an entirely different kettle of fish.
There is no way to say it without sounding pretentious so I’ll not try to. Invizimals: the Alliance is an augmented reality fully interactive experience that’s ideal for kids and completely wasted on them at the same time (I mean, just think what is actually going on- it’s very very clever). We only had a couple of hours to play with the game at the Barbican but from what we experienced during our play, the key element is collecting the Invizimals as they appear in the real environment around you.
If this sounds confusing, what the PS Vita basically does is some clever stuff with the camera that it has built in to put virtual creatures on the “live” video screen. The game might make you do certain things that interact with the environment to capture an Invizimal- for example we had to find things that were a certain colour to tempt them out of hiding, we had to be very quiet or make lots of noise, we had to stroke the creature via the front or rear touchscreens. The variety was nearly endless, which gave the interactivity an import realism boost.
Once you’ve caught them, the aim of the game is to fight them against other people. There is also interaction between the PS Vita version and the PS3 version, as well as the ability to collect Invizimals from the TV show (UK broadcast yet to be sorted).
The video trailer probably explains the concept better than my ramblings:
From the couple of hours we had playing with it, the kids came away wanting to play more. Considering you can pick it up for around £20 if you hunt about, I’d have no qualms getting it. It’s good fun and if you start to think about the technology behind it, you’ll be very impressed.
Invizimals: the Alliance on PS Vita was released on 28 March and is available from all good retailers.