The term ‘shooter’ has been synonymous with gaming since its inception. The idea of shooting projectiles towards a target is an elementary one, and it continues to evolve and take on various other forms, becoming a staple of many gaming diets in the process. And every so often, it’s good to take a step back and see how such a simple mechanic became a mainstay in the industry.
Developed and published by Hypersect, INVERSUS is a single or cooperative shooter, reminiscent of arcade games like Tank – with the exception that shots are fired on a vertical or horizontal axis – that combines elements from the action shooter genre, with simple strategic puzzle gameplay.
What do I mean by simple? Well, the twist with INVERSUS is that there is no real barrier, but your freedom to move depends on how many tiles on the battlefield are flipped over to your colour. In order to land a shot on your opponent, the player must navigate the ever-changing black and white landscape. Your walls become your enemy’s path and vice versa, and each shot fired flips the tile colours over in your favour. So your goal becomes simple. Shoot, block, and destroy.
Of course, this is not to say that the game lacks any depth, INVERSUS provides a multitude of game modes. Single or cooperative play in the arcade mode, or one vs one, and two vs two in local or online multiplayer. Throughout the game, there are many challenging maps to unlock, each designed to heighten tension and cause an itchy trigger finger to fire.
In single player, players will be matched against adversaries with single shot fire and destructive roaming abilities. During these battles, there will be power-ups available to help give you an edge, such as shields, overcharged shots, and barrier-breaking movements, all of which can be combined for lethal combinations.
Each player starts with five shots, and ammunition recharges over time, but you can replenish your stocks quickly by collecting bullets left behind by your disintegrated enemies. So some different strategies will need to be developed for the various map scenarios. Conservative and calculated shots or just sporadic spray and prey are a few obvious examples.
Although the game has competent A.I. opponents, INVERSUS truly shines best when duelling against your friends or others. While waiting for players to join the lobby, be sure to access the arcade mode to hone your skills in the meantime.
INVERSUS can be played via keyboard or controller, in a non-traditional setup, adding to the challenge and intensity. Movement is simple with a WASD setup or analogue stick respectively. But firing in any direction will require the directional keys, or action buttons on a gamepad to be pressed in the direction you want to aim your shot – I’m sure I made that sound harder than it actually is.
The graphics are made up of clean black and white tiles which are linked into the core of the gameplay mechanics, and the animations are smooth and operate flawlessly. Occasionally, a mirrored image of the players will appear on selected maps, which could potentially put you off your game – on purpose. The sound effects seem to pay homage to the arcade games of the past. Shot blasts are similar to those of Space Invaders or Galaga, and explosions are just as epic. All while enjoying an electric techno soundtrack by Lyvo that will keep the heart rate pulsing.
The developers have worked hard on creating a game that is straightforward in concept, but will still make you think, and most importantly is fun. Any and all budding developers can read all about the games development in their blogs on game design on their official website.
I do have to admit, I’m not very good at it. Coordinating my fingers to fire the projectiles in different directions isn’t my greatest strength, especially when I’m hard wired to use the buttons for other functions. However, with having won numerous awards over the last two years, I can say that INVERSUS is something special and great time to play solo or with friends with a high replay-ability.
INVERSUS is available now on PS4 and Steam. Be sure to check it out.
Tim Pearce is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2. Go say hi over on MeatBaitMedia!