Review – Invizimals

We get hands on with Invizimals, the augmented reality game for your PSP. Check out our review after the jump.

When you first start up the game, you are introduced to Kenichi Nakamura, a member of the Research and Development team for the PSP in Japan. Lucky for us his English is perfect so no need to learn Japanese to play the game. He reveals to us that he has found something amazing. Little monsters are hidden all around and you can use your PSP and camera attachment to catch them. Once captured, you will use these little monsters to fight other monsters in Fight Clubs all over the globe. You’ll also meet Professor Dawson, who’ll help teach you how to use special attacks with your monsters. Of course there’s the bad guy, Kaminsky, who wants to steal the newly found technology. The storyline isn’t exactly award material, but that doesn’t take anything away from the game. Kids will enjoy it, and that really is the main target audience.

The gameplay revolves around your PSP camera and the included magic card. You’ll be tasked with searching around your location using the PSP and camera. Once you have found a spot, drop your magic card and use trap methods that are unique to each monster. These mini-games vary and can involve shaking your PSP, circling the monster with your PSP, sneaking up on your monster with your PSP and other things. The magic card has a tendency to fall out of the camera’s view, so try not to get too discouraged during these mini-games. Practice makes perfect. Your kids will get a kick out of looking in some odd places and finding these monsters hidden.

Once you have them captured, you’ll use them to face off in battles using magic and special moves to defeat opponents.  You can teach your Invizimals to learn new attacks and evolve into bigger, stronger, creatures.  You can either play through the story or you can play online. Both Ad-hoc and Infrastructure is available, so you can play locally against another PSP or play online against people all over the world. Players can also trade their monsters online with friends and build up their collection of monsters.

There are 123 total monsters to capture, so you’ll be busy for some time trying to find them all. Each monster has its own strengths and weaknesses and some attacks are useless against certain monsters, so pay attention.  In battle you’ll have to meters for each monster. You meters are on the top left. One is for health, top, and one is for stamina, bottom. Your opponent also has the same two and theirs are on the top right. As you level up your monster, these increase and make your monster stronger and tougher. Your stamina is used for defense and is depleted as you use it. As you play through the story, you are introduced to special attacks that can be selected before going into battle. These are very useful. The earthquake attack will have you shaking your PSP up and down to fill your attack meter and the wind attack will have you blowing on your mic that is built into the PSP camera.

Battling in a real world environment

The graphics for the game aren’t ground breaking, but seeing your monsters fighting in your own environment is very cool. The monsters themselves aren’t very detailed, but that doesn’t really hurt the game. Cut scenes are real world videos and add to the augmented reality of the game.

Invizimals does a great job of taking a tired genre of gaming and breathing some new life into it. Move over Pokemon, because Invizimals should be around for some time to come.