As someone who loves music and video games, I miss the rhythm action genre. There have been a few games that have come to Xbox One but nothing compared to last generation. After disappointing sales for Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live, it has been up to indie developers to fill the void. This isn’t all bad, though. It has given us Thumper and the superb Aaero. The latest game in the genre to come to Xbox One is AVICII Invector. As the name suggests, this game uses the music of the late Swedish DJ, also known as Tim Bergling. So, how does this latest rhythm actioner stand up?
Like most games in the rhythm action genre, you are tasked with pressing buttons in time to the music. As well as the standard A, B, X, and Y inputs you will also need to press the left bumper when there’s a full line across the runway. You also have to move left and right both when there are arrows on the runway and to move your ship to the right position to hit other inputs. There are three different types of sections. The first is the standard 2D runway. Well, I say 2D runway but it does undulate and go around corners. The second type of section is a triangular prism. You fly along the inside of the prism and pressing left or right on the d-pad (or thumbstick) switches which plane of the prism you are on. The final section is free-flying and sees you navigating through targets.
Of course, any rhythm action game is only as good as its soundtrack. I only have a passing knowledge of AVICII’s music. I did quite enjoy what was on offer here, though. There is clearly a lot of similarity between the styles and type of music on offer. This makes songs that diverge from this a little really stand out. I’m thinking in particular about tracks like Tough Love and the remix of The Nights. However, if you really don’t like EDM then there isn’t going to be much for you here.
The levels do an OK job of reflecting the tracks they are based on. None of them are particularly long, though this does save them from overstaying their welcome. They also never get too complicated rhythmically but this is due to EDM never really venturing into compound rhythms or alternative time signatures. The rhythms may never get too taxing. However, the levels do become quite challenging on the hard difficulty. Pretty much anyone will be able to complete the game on the easiest difficulty. However, the hard difficulty offers a real challenge as the button presses become quite intricate and come at you with real speed.
Visually, things are good but never spectacular. The screen is always busy with various effects appearing and popping either side of the runway. There are six different locations for you to play through with between three and five tracks at each one. It’s just as well you don’t play too many tracks at each location as they do get a bit repetitive. The locations themselves have a decent amount of variety. However, all the tracks in a location look the same. There are also some highly stylised cutscenes. The presentation of these is pretty basic but the aesthetic is quite nice. These cutscenes never amount to much, though. I could not tell you the “plot” of the game and found them to be a little grating. I just wanted to get back to the action.
AVICII Invector is a very good rhythm action game but it just fails to be great. Its limitations are among its selling points, though. The fact that all the music is limited to just one artist does lead to the game feeling a little repetitive. EDM also revels in a variety of sounds, not compound rhythms or different time signatures. This means that the challenge of the game has to come from the complexity of your inputs. It does this pretty well and you will need some pretty epic reactions to be able to complete the game on hard difficulty. This is still a good package. For less than $20 it offers a lot of bang for your buck. And when you also consider that a quarter of all the profits from the game go to the Tim Bergling Foundation, there’s even more reason to pick it up.