If there would be one way to describe INVERSUS it would be a mix between PAC-MAN and Asteroids. You have to follow paths you can carve out all while shooting at enemies that swarm around you. Of course, there are powerups to pick up too. The game is simple enough to jump right in and complex enough for those that really want to achieve high scores and be the best online. Yes, it is fun as well.
INVERSUS is a game that has you controlling a black or white square moving around on a black or white, row/column palette. You can only travel on and fire shots based on the color opposite of yours. The attacks you unleash also change the color of the palette board so you can travel all over the map. This is done in conjunction with holding red square enemies and other A.I. squares, that attack back, at bay in arcade mode. Be wise not to underestimate the red enemies though just because they don’t have a shooting ability. They can travel wherever they want and can overwhelm you if you’re not careful.
All of it is beautifully mapped to the controller. Pushing triangle fires up, circle fires right, X fires down, and square fires left. If you hold any button you will gather up a charged shot. This fires projectiles in three rows instead of just one. It is possible to run out of shots but they slowly recharge. It’s all about thinking ahead or having very good retreating skills. There are multiple lives to use or earn if you’re not very good under pressure.
There are also three different powerups to use if you collect them. The first is just a red dot but allows you to fire faster and more powerful projectiles. The second is an outline of a red square. This gives you a one-time use shield. The last is a solid red square, that has only appeared in multiplayer for me, but it makes you invulnerable for a short time and you can travel wherever YOU want regardless of color.
Arcade mode sadly only has six maps to play on. You unlock subsequent levels by acquiring enough points on the previous map. Don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy the gameplay but the map selection is quite scarce. Even if the areas have uniquely different shapes, outlines, and designs. There are a ton of varied multiplayer/versus maps though from movement restricted tunnels to lopsided valleys. Some levels give you the ability the travel from the right side of the screen to the left and vice versa. Just like the old days of arcade games.
Once you’re done with arcade mode (and the high score chasing, trophy hunting mission) you’ll find yourself in the online or local multiplayer. There are no A.I. enemies. Only a 1v1 or 2v2 experience. Needless to say things can get hectic. Here is where INVERSUS becomes a perfect hybrid of twitch reflexes and foresight planning. I found myself laughing and going “o man” even if I got horribly crushed. Especially if I got corned to the point I literally couldn’t move. You’ll find that no set strategy works on any given map in any given match. The palette board will have transformed so many different ways that I could argue each match is different from the one before it. Especially if it was on the same level.
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