Whilst my first loves are firmly entrenched in the Ska and new-wave punk scenes, I am, like many, a lover of all music. In fact I’d much rather kick back with a set of cans on my head and immerse myself in classic albums than waste away time with Netflix binges and cinema outings. And even though I may not have thought of myself as a ‘fan’ of the works of Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, his death in 2018 was certainly one that was hard felt.
But in tragedy comes light and here and now we’ve seen the teams at Hello There Games and Wired Productions come together to create a celebration of everything the Swedish superstar DJ stood for, particularly in terms of musical clarity with the rhythm music experience AVICII Invector. And if truth be told, they’ve ensured that the rhythm music gaming genre is most certainly alive and kicking with this release, delivering a stunning piece of work that encapsulates some of the finest Avicii tunes the world knows.
Created as a collaboration piece with the man himself, AVICII Invector is of such a high quality that it will not just appeal to fans of the late superstar, but will certainly come of interest to all manner of gamers from around the world. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that anyone with even an inkling of a musical bone in their body will find huge joy from AVICII Invector, from the early moments of first hearing the tunes, right the way through to managing to nail some of the harder difficulties.
Working as a pulse-pounding rhythm action experience, Invector attempts to mix the tunes of Tim Bergling with some skill-based button mashing, all while pushing a semblance of a narrative. It is with the latter in which things are slightly letdown though, as the cartooned cutscenes and space themed tale that interrupts the actual gameplay fails to really hammer home its need. I’ll be honest and say that whilst some kind of tale is appreciated, the vast majority of gamers will be here for the tunes, and the opportunity to find themselves taking in some of the biggest Avicii hits. For that reason alone the break up in play via these cutscenes isn’t really required.
Thankfully, away from those and every single element of AVICII Invector is of the very highest quality; so much so that I’ve been left struggling to find anything wrong with the entire experience.
Playing out much like you would find with any other rhythm-based gaming title, Invector requests you to take charge of a small spaceship hurtling through the galaxy, before kicking back and hammering face buttons and bumpers, while moving thumbsticks in time with the music delivered, perfecting each and every prompt as it falls through the screen. With three difficulty levels in place, it’s easy enough to get started too, with those unfamiliar with the layout of an Xbox controller probably best suited to starting things off on Easy, before progressing through Medium and Hard options.
25 of the best Avicii tracks are available in Invector, with the likes of the global chart toppers Without You, Wake Me Up, and Lay Me Down, complemented by the stunning For a Better Day and more. All of these are split across multiple segments which are initially locked down until you hit specific point scoring objectives in the earlier songs. And whilst this means you’ll first be left with only a handful of tracks to enjoy, it really doesn’t take long before you will find all the songs available to play through. It makes sense to limit and slowly drip-feed the tunes too, giving the opportunity to build up skill levels, game understanding and what is required in order for success to be found. Even though it’s hard to sit here and say that the latter tracks are trickier to play through than those earlier ones, it’s all well delivered and ensures that you’ll rarely find anything pushed out that sees any form of steep difficulty curve.
That is of course until you yourself decide to ramp up the difficulty. It is here, and the move between the three testing levels, where AVICII Invector really comes into its own, with the Easy levels running with limited button prompts – the A button, the X Button, a push on the left thumbstick and a hold of the Left Bumper.
Moving into the medium stages though and a press of the B button is occasionally required, whilst the hardest will see the Y button also actioned. With the gameplay taking place across three different planes too, it is the latter options which see the gamer needing to really focus, with Invector foregoing helpful hints and leaving the movement of the ship across the game board left to the gamer at hand. Should you manage to string together big enough combos, then boosts will occasionally come into play too, speeding play up and providing additional point scoring opportunities, whilst every now and then you’ll discover your ship moving away from the restrictive game board and into the universe around it, requesting you steer it through floating rings for extra points. This is appreciated, if only as it allows for a quick mid-play break from the utter focus that is required in order to hit each and every specific note.
The overall goal of everything found in AVICII Invector is to nail each and every button press, pick up high scores, grab ratings, ensure you find a place on the global leaderboards which are in place, and then go again, attempting to better yourself once more. And whilst this lack of proper gaming goals may all seem a bit redundant for many, I can tell you here and now that once you have managed to bring your very best skills to the table, completing each and every song on the simpler difficulty levels, making the move up and into the harder options will ensure the test – and the draw to keep going back – is very real indeed.
Thankfully, due to the talent of the late Avicii, you’ll never tire of the tunes included either, with the most well-known tracks combining brilliantly with the less common ones to ensure that boredom is never even a consideration.
I’ve been left massively impressed by the tunes, the smooth gameplay, the near perfect calibration of button presses and the test of AVICII Invector; the solo experience alone contains many an hour of gaming greatness. But then also included is the chance to play through these tunes with up to three local friends, with the game screen split into two, three and four segments. This means that each player can battle through the tunes with their own specific difficulty level in place (with even a beginner option in place for those unfamiliar with a controller). Even though the smaller screen size sees the harder options trickier to fully comprehend, with button presses fast blurring into one, on the whole it works really well. It’s certainly as smooth as the solo affair too, even when all manner of visual delights are blasting through the screen.
With these on-screen visuals coming across as super clear, massively impressive and well worked into each tune, yet again there is little to dislike about this brilliant rhythm action experience served up by Hello There Games, Wired Productions and the late, great, Avicii himself. No matter what your musical tastes and no matter what your gaming skill level, AVICII Invector on Xbox One is a classic musical experience that proves that the rhythm action genre is still going great guns. If you have even the slightest bit of interest in the musical scene then you will find huge enjoyment from what this game delivers. I highly advise you to get fully immersed with the serious flow that Invector brings, particularly if you think of yourself as a fan of the brilliance of Avicii himself.