Review: Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom (PS3)

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Title: Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (6.5 GB)
Release Date: January 29, 2014 (EU/UK) / TBD (US)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developer: Magenta Software, Novarama, XDEV
Original MSRP: €34.99 (EU), £24.99 (UK), $34.99 (US)
ESRB Rating: TBD
PEGI: 7
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is exclusive to the PlayStation 3.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Editor’s Note:
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is integrated with Invizimals: The Alliance for the PlayStation Vita through Cross-Play. The review for Invizimals: The Alliance is available here.

For the first time ever, we get the chance to step into the world of the Invizimals in a full third-person adventure on the PlayStation 3. Parts of Europe have had this game for a while now, along with an animated TV series, toys, playing cards and apps. So far no word on these coming out in other areas but we can hope.

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Gameplay:
Instead of tracking and capturing Invizimals like in the PS Vita game, you are on an adventure to stop an evil robot army which is threatening the Invizimals way of life. Playing as a young Invizimal hunter named Hiro, you travel into their world to stop the evil menace. You have the ability to transform into the Invizimals that you defeat in battle, so you’ll spend almost the entire game as one of the 16 unlockable creatures like Ocelotl and Tigershark.

For each area, you find an Invizimal with abilities that’ll help you progress through that section all the while collecting Z-Sparks which you can spend on unlocking special attacks and new moves. But you can easily play the entire game with just the standard attacks. You don’t even have to worry about figuring out which character’s ability you would need when solving puzzles or traversing the environment, as pressing triangle will automatically switch to the correct Invizimal and perform the move/action. This is very welcome for the younger player as you can play almost the entire game with three buttons: Jump, Attack and Action.

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For a third-person adventure game the path is very linear with only the odd hidden or branching path that always leads to a dead end and occasionally a locked door. To find out what’s inside you have to spend 100 Z-Sparks, which seems like a lot but there’ll be containers and chests with more collectables inside. Before I forget, I should mention the third-person camera. For the most part it works well but can get frustrating when you need to move towards it or doesn’t follow you when exploring a little alcove. I can understand that taking away the need to control the camera also makes it easier for the younger player but the developers should have spent more time testing and tweaking.

Along with being caught on scenery many times, it seems to be lacking in the polish that you’d expect from a Sony published game. In one play session my characters would constantly fall through a pair of lifts and I only just managed to get past the section. On another occasion one little hit from a tiny enemy flung my Invizimal half way across the map to his death. I wouldn’t say these are game breaking bugs, but does get annoying especially for the younger player.

There are many Quick Time Events (QTEs) which have you press certain buttons (Circle, Square, Triangle and Cross) at the correct time. It is very forgiving and never got frustrating. I particularly enjoyed a boss battle which featured a mix of fighting and QTE.

Visuals:
With a fixed camera and simple graphics in both the scenery and some characters it’s reminiscent of an early PS3 title. None of it looks bad and maybe I’ve been spoiled by the PS4 or some recent PS3 titles, but I can’t shake the feeling that this game needed more time. It has got some nice effects and the levels are expansive but when I want to go off and explore but run into an invisible wall instead I feel almost cheated.

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With so many different playable characters they surprisingly end up being just that, characters. The Invizimals steal the show, their looks and attitude are so defining that it almost makes up for the other graphical shortcomings. It becomes very noticeable when you enter the battle mode of the game, seeing the sheer amount of variety to each Invizimal and the detail they all have is outstanding.

Audio:
Brian Blessed introduces each Invizimal you find and is quite amusing, some Invizimals even mention him at latter points in the game which I found funny. Each area has its own audio track and most are good but forgettable with one exception. When first hearing it I was pleasantly surprised but after several minutes it became very tedious.

Collecting Z-Sparks makes a very nice jingle and the robotic enemy sounds are also quite good. It would be nice to hear more variety when you’re beating the nuts & bolts out of the robots as those sounds can get repetitive.

Online/Multiplayer:
Along with sharing Invizimals with the Vita you can battle against each other or even team up and battle online. With the option to fight random strangers or friends in an easy to learn but hard to master battling system it is easy to get caught up in the quick battles which can be very tense and fun if they’re fought against an evenly skilled opponent. But be aware of the random players who have collected the hidden rare Invizimals that can devastate a new player in a few seconds.

You can trade with your friends and even take you Invizimals on the go by transferring them to the PS Vita.  As you battle, your pup will gain experience, level up, and eventually grow into a colt. If you devote enough time to your Invizimal, it may turn into a max. I’ve only unlocked a few of these by finding them hidden in the story mode, but they are an awesome sight to behold.

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If this section hadn’t been included then I would have scored this game about 40% lower. I think of it as a whole separate game and would love to see a Cross-Play version come out on the PS4. It massively extends the life of the game and when you battle with family or friends everyone ends up having such good fun.

Conclusion:
Considering the lower price point, a child-friendly adventure and the excellent battle system, this is a good value especially if you have the Vita game already as they both work well together.

It does have a few problems. I constantly got caught on scenery and the camera positioning could be improved but overall I enjoyed my time in the Lost Kingdom and would love to see a sequel. Until then, the Battles and trading will keep me going.

Score: 
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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