INVERSUS, an indie game that within a minute of booting it up I couldn’t help but just remark out loud to myself “Wow. Just wow.”
The game has two parts: Arcade and Versus. Both modes offer different gameplay. Survival against waves of enemies in arcade and a head to head mode for versus.
The most noticeable thing about INVERSUS the first time you play it will either be how simple the control scheme is or how genius its main mechanic is. By shooting you create terrain you can move on, when your opponents shoot back they create obstacles for you and terrain that they in turn can move on. It’s got the hallmark of a great game: Easy to learn, hard to master.
In arcade mode wave after wave of enemies causes you to have to remain painfully aware of where over a dozen moving enemies are, all of whom create impassable terrain in a radius around them but don’t shoot. After a short while you’ll encounter enemies much more like you, who can shoot but thankfully don’t move as quickly as you do. You’ll find yourself letting enemies get closer and closer to you so you can take them out in a chain of explosions, at the cost of losing precious passable terrain.
Versus is where you begin to see both advanced strategies and advanced maps that further prove the genius of the game. Battlefield control is paramount, by giving yourself more room to move you allow yourself more options regarding how to not get shot, but you also need to focus on not getting trapped in a corner where a well-placed charged shot (like a regular shot but fires two more projectiles adjacent to your main shot) can take you out.
Maps in the game can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be, some are just simple arenas, others are mazes reminiscent of Pac-Man. All of them will have different spawn points for power-ups (fast shot, invincibility and interestingly a power up that converts blocks you touch to passable terrain), requiring adjustment of strategies on the fly. Further complicating maps is that some maps loop, requiring mind-bending awareness of your flanks so you don’t get hit on the flank by a shot you didn’t even realize was possible.
In my time with the game I made sure to play some local multiplayer versus and rest assured it provides all the competition and frustration a game of Mario Kart or Smash Bros would. The game may not be as replayable after a hundred hours as those games but for the cost it’s worth every penny. If versus isn’t your thing then arcade provides a very solid challenge with a soundtrack that allows for players to “zen out” and really get in the groove which is a great feeling. With all that said I can heartily recommend INVERSUS as a great budget game to make you expand your mind a little and experience some pretty novel gameplay.
INVERSUS is available on PC and PS4, you can get it on Steam here.