The Invincible, the tried -

The tried-and-true of The Invincible, a high-impact sci-fi narrative adventure, which tries to translate Stanisław Lem into a video game.

“The second-class cruiser Invincible, the largest unit available to the Lira base, was photon-powered the far quadrant of the constellation. The eighty-three crew members slept in the hibernation tunnel on the central deck. the journey was relatively short, deep sleep was preferred to complete hibernation, in which the body temperature did not drop below ten degrees. Only the automatic devices were in operation on the bridge. Their field of vision, right in the center of the aiming system, was occupied by the disc of a sun a little warmer than a common red dwarf.When its circle reached half the width of the screen, the annihilation reaction of the engine stopped.

For a while there was absolute silence over the entire ship. The air conditioners and computers made no noise. The very subtle vibration caused by the emission of the light beam from the propellers had ceased, which, coming out from the stern like a sword of infinite length, immersed in darkness, gave slight repercussions to the ship. The Invincible was now proceeding at a constant speed, as if it were inert, deaf and apparently empty. “Thus begins the novel by Stanisław Lem that inspired Starward Industries to make his game and whose title he keeps intact. tried The Invincible with the hope of rediscovering the same atmosphere, and we were not disappointed.

Narrative adventure

The dangers are there, but we haven't had a chance to experience action scenes

The dangers are there, but we haven’t had a chance to experience action scenes

The version of The Invicible that we had the opportunity to test contained about an hour of gameplay and left us a very precise impression on what it wants to be and, convex, on what it will not be. The authors seem to want to resume the philosophical structure of Lem’s work, grafting it into a ‘narrative adventure full of guided interactions, and a dialogued action, in which what happens is always, or almost always, significant and, in a certain sense, descriptive. The player takes on the role of Yasna, a scientist sent on a rescue mission to the planet Regis III. Her teammates seem to have disappeared into thin air and no longer show signs of life. Our goal is therefore to try to track them down, dead or alive, and try to understand what happened.

There demo from this point of view it was really indicative, because it starts right when you meet what remains of the team. The first thing to do is to choose how to proceed, that is the path to follow aboard a vehicle to get to our first destination.

Regis III is a desolate, sandy planet. Right from the start we notice the care taken in the representation of the place, truly remarkable and of great impact, despite the fact that all you can see around is rock formations and clouds of sand. Yasna is wearing a spacesuit and is equipped with a communication system with which she is constantly in contact with a lei responsible for her, called Novik. She talks extensively, explaining all of her progress and illustrating the potential dangers, and in response she receives guidance on how to proceed and hints of the truth behind the expedition. The scientist also elaborates many theories on what happened, always starting from the observation of what she has around her. As we play, we will discover that she also has some tools, such as a telescope, a scanner and a kind of electronic folder, on which she marks all her discoveries, such as the numbers of the expedition vehicles or the names of the colleagues found.


Yasna performs several actions, all with dedicated animations

Yasna performs several actions, all with dedicated animations

The pace of play it is very slow. The Invincible does not seem to be a work suitable for those who go into withdrawal if they do not see explosions for five minutes in a row. In the hour of the demo there was never any real action, but the game made us learn a lot about Regis III and its mysteries, also giving us an explanation of what happened, however incomplete. In this the developers seem to have closely followed Clemont’s book, in which the investigative part is resolved well before the ending, so as not to disturb the author’s philosophical reflections on the nature of life. We will not tell you exactly what happens. Just know that we will end up meeting “enemies”, so to speak, but that we will not face them in the traditional way. Indeed, we will not address them at all. Be that as it may, let’s continue.

During her research, Yasna arrives in an area where there are two apparently dead robots. These are very sophisticated machines with systems designed to dig rocks. There is no one around them. Yasna takes photos taken by the security camera of one of the two robots (the technology reproduced is very 1960s science fiction, including the microphone always in the foreground, albeit with some concessions to modernity) and finds out more or less what happened to her. colleagues, then continues his research by observing strange metal formations that have installed themselves in a canal and which apparently are alive, at least according to the scanner.

Mysteries abound

Mysteries abound

The whole is topped off with dialogues continuous, which can go on even for entire minutes, in which, every now and then, a multiple choice system asks us to intervene. In the demo it is not clear whether our decisions will have an impact on the unfolding of the story. Replaying it twice, just to select alternative answers to those given previously, we did not notice significant changes in the events, but only in some dialogues. They will probably reflect in some way on the final part of the adventure, even if they could simply be a way to get us to adhere to a certain point of view on the matter. But let’s go further.


Regis III is a ruthless and desolate planet

Regis III is a ruthless and desolate planet

Despite herself, Yasna discovers that one of the two robots is still active. She somehow manages to get past the area she is in and reaches the rest of the expedition. Here too she does not do much, in the sense that she enters the vehicles and the few buildings present and interacts with the various instruments in search of recordings and clues that illuminate her on the incident. Let’s say that it is an essentially narrative section, apart from the search for an alternative way to reach an excavation site (very fast and simple, actually), made up of many dialogues and targeted interactions. This is also the time when the physical presence of Yasna becomes stronger, despite the adventure is experienced in first person, with unique animations dedicated to the various interactions and the need for the player to make some movements directly with the mouse / controller to operate the tools. In this sense The Invincible seems to be choreographed with great care, to give the player the idea of ​​really being there physically. However, after understanding the fate of the team, the demo ends with the exploration of the excavation site and with a choice made by Yasna that activates a final event, the consequences of which are left unresolved, referring to the final version. Version that we can’t wait to play at this point in the hope that it will keep all the promises of this fascinating demo.

Clearly it is too early to make judgments on The Invincible but, as we mentioned, we still got a precise idea of ​​its gameplay, which has a strongly narrative nature, even if it is not underpinned by filmed sequences. The portion of the story that we got to play intrigued us not a little, even though we always knew more or less where it would end (we read the novel). From a technical point of view, the work of Starward Industries seemed excellent to us, as well as the dialogues were able to make us fully enter into the topics covered. The hope is that the rest of the adventure is also on the same level, because fundamentally the experience lives on the beauty and ruthlessness of Regis III and the ability of the texts to give us a strong point of view on what happened, raise profound questions.


  • A lot of dialogue
  • Regis III is a ruthless and fascinating planet


  • Will our choices have weight?

#Invincible #Nerd4life

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