The Joy-Cons are among the niftiest of the Nintendo Switch’s additions, with its HD Rumble being among its more notable innovations. Invisiballs attempts to take complete advantage of the HD Rumble effect, with it being the game’s chief mechanic. Described as being a next-gen game of hide and seek, vibrations are your only feedback to determine your location. It’s a great mechanic, especially since the HD Rumble has been fairly underutilized thus far). Unfortunately, playing Invisiballs is a bland experience. While the game improves with the more players who join in, that limits Invisiballs’ appeal.
Invisiballs place you and your friends in a neon map. Fitting to its name, your avatar soon becomes invisible, leading you to rely on the vibrations on your Joy-Cons to determine your orientation. Besides that, you can also use your “attack” to see your location, though that will also reveal it to all. While there are different game modes, your goal in Invisiballs is to run into rival players while in attack mode. While that has the potential to be a frantic and fast-paced party game, Invisiballs never quite reaches that potential.
The aesthetics of Invisiballs are great, however. Featuring a neon, almost Tron-esque atmosphere, Invisiballs’ visuals is the best thing about it. It also features a soundtrack that matches the visuals perfectly. One particularly great touch is the slow motion zoom-ins during a successful attack. It really highlights this games visuals, and really gave off a Tron vibe. I just wish the excitement of playing Invisiballs matched the wonderful aesthetics.
As I mentioned, Invisiballs has two modes, Free for All and Gold Rush. Free for All is all in the name. All players simply run across the battlefield, trying to attack their rivals along the way. In the end, the one with the most points (kills) wins. Gold Rush keeps that concept, but adds a bit of a twist to the formula. Treasure spawns on the map, and the first player to run into it while attacking gets to keep it. A timer then starts. If opposing players can knock into the one holding the treasure, the treasure respawns. But if the timer runs out before any players can do so, the player holding the treasure gets to keep it.
(There’s a third mode in Invisiballs as well, but at the time of this review it is not yet available).
While the game modes hold the potential to be a fast-paced multiplayer game, Invisiballs just never gets there. A lot of playing a round is just moving around a mostly empty battlefield and seeing if anything happens. This can be remedied by changing the map up, and more importantly, increasing the number of players. But there lies another problem.
Invisiballs is multiplayer-only, meaning you need at least two players to play. Since the game can only be played with a single Joy-Con, you immediately have the ability to play with another person. Unfortunately, playing with two players is probably the worst way to experience Invisiballs. There’s just too much dead space to really have an enjoyable time, even on the maps that are made for two-player play.
Four players is definitely the way to go here. But the fact that four players, and four Joy-Cons, is the optimal way to play, creates a bit of a barrier to truly enjoy Invisiballs. With the added players, there is more of a frantic pace to the proceedings, but not a lot more.
The trademark feature of Invisiballs, using haptic feedback to orient yourself, is cool, but not wholly successful. The way it works is you get a vibration when you hit a wall, using that to move yourself around. It’s cool in theory, and does work a lot of the time, but there were also many times when I thought I was in one area and turned out to be somewhere completely different.
Overall, I would best describe Invisiballs as missed potential. With great visuals and an intriguing premise, Invisiballs could be a great multiplayer party game. However, it’s simply too slow-paced to truly make an impact. The best way to play the game, as advertised, is four-player, but unfortunately anything other than that is not memorable. Hopefully the third mode will shake things up, but on a system dominated by multiplayer games already, Invisiballs doesn’t rise to the top.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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