The Invincible by Starward Industries
The Invincible is a first-person adventure game based on the novel of the same name by famed Polish author Stanisław Lem.
Combining hard sci-fi elements with an atom-punk aesthetic, The Invincible tells the story of a team of explorers and their unplanned exploration of an unknown planet riddled with strange structures and dark mysteries.
The Invincible follows Yasna, a biologist and member of a scientific exploration team, as she awakens with a spotty memory on a world she does not recognize. It soon becomes clear that she and her team were unexpectedly redirected to this world while on their way home, and all has not gone as planned.
A powerful warship belonging to a rival faction (the eponymous Invincible) is en route to the planet, and the team has been working against the clock to learn why this seemingly barren world is of interest to their enemy.
Interstellar and Intertextual
The Invincible combines traditional first-person controls with context-sensitive commands. This results in an interesting mix of immersive moments and the occasional issue where a context-dependent element feels a tad restrictive (such as not being able to traverse obstacles until the story permits it).
Generally, it works very well, and I found the opening scene in particular to be engrossing.
It would be tempting to expect puzzles in The Invincible, but the game is more concerned with telling its story, providing opportunities for investigation, and posing a few key choices than it is in presenting puzzle-based challenges.
Progress is generally tied to exploring the environment and seeking out solutions to Yazna’s problems.
A strong cast of characters contributes to the narrative of The Invincible; I found the voice acting to be excellent with Yasna, in particular, serving as a likable protagonist. The leader of the expedition, Novik, is also well-performed and his conversations with Yasna are always entertaining.
The Visions and the Voices
There is a lot of dialogue in The Invincible, and while this is generally superb, there can be some frustrating moments when an environmentally triggered line interrupts ongoing conversations. That said, I noticed a couple instances when the characters organically restored their previous chat – a really pleasant surprise and something that must have taken some work to choreograph.
The aesthetics and art of The Invincible are some of its most standout features; the atom-punk style is beautifully presented, and the wide array of tools available to the team are all great designs that serve both as world-building and eye-candy.
Speaking of which, the world itself is both varied and jaw-dropping, from eerie deserts to stunning beaches stretching off to horizons that lead up to skies hosting awe-inspiring moons.
This is all backed up by a comic book that provides narrative overviews to catch up between play sessions. The Invincible is an eye-pleasing ride from start to finish.
The Invincible draws on the works of Stanisław Lem and builds on them to create a fascinating world that is a joy to explore. The characters are engaging and well-performed, while the story itself is a mystery always beckoning to the next revelation.
The Invincible is a superb sci-fi experience that drew me into its world with effortless grace, a title worth investigating for any fan of science fiction.
The Invincible is available via the Sony PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, and Steam.
Watch the trailer for Deserted below: