The Invincible PC Review: The Wonders Of Discovery
I absolutely adore narrative-driven games, with almost all of my favorite games being in this genre. Their ability to immerse you in their complex storytelling allows you to escape from everyday life, explore brand-new worlds, and connect with compelling characters. Perhaps even more interesting are video game adaptations of books, ones that take established narratives and allow you to be immersed in ways previously unimaginable. The Invincible is one such game; a game that adapts the novel of the same name by Stanisław Lem so successfully and respectfully that it offers a truly gripping immersive experience.
“The beginning of The Invincible took me by surprise as it immediately pulled me into the game’s underlying sense of adventure.”
In The Invincible, you play as Yasna, a space explorer who wakes up on the planet Regis III unexpectedly. It’s unknown to you why you’re on this planet at first, as Yasna doesn’t remember anything, immediately offering a compelling mystery to be solved. Of course, Yasna wasn’t alone when she arrived on Regis III, and so she sets off to discover what happened to the rest of her crew.
The beginning of The Invincible took me by surprise, as the disorientation of Yasna not only paralleled my own confusion but also immediately pulled me into the game’s underlying sense of adventure. I wanted to know more about Yasna, Regis III, and the mysteries waiting to be solved. In a way, it was comforting then that Yasna was also just as confused and curious as I was, as it allows the two of you to stumble upon those brilliant “ah-ha” moments as you uncover the secrets The Invincible has in store for you together.
Thankfully, in a very Firewatch-esque fashion, Yasna is not alone and has The Astrogator, Novik, to accompany her on her journey. Novik speaks to Yasna through her comms, as he sees and hears everything she does. He’ll help her maneuver through tough situations, control robots, send things to the planet while also getting information from it, and, most importantly, be someone to talk to during your expedition. Without Novik’s presence and interaction, The Invincible would be a far lonelier experience, so I was extremely grateful to have him by my side.
“There is a wonderful underlying sense of hope and understanding throughout, which keeps both you and Yasna going.”
The Invincible does a magnificent job in its storytelling. It manages to weave its central mystery alongside its philosophical themes throughout. You’ll slowly be introduced to its core concepts and themes, from its wonderful sense of adventure and mystery to its more complex discussions, with your understanding of it all growing as you play. It was a great experience to learn more and more as you progress, not least because Yasna is experiencing it with you. Seeing her scientific mind comprehend the experiences you have with her is as reassuring as it is compelling.
You’ll experience a variety of scientific phenomenon that causes there to be a lot of heightened uncertainty during The Invincible’s story. During these times of uncertainty, Yasna will experience moments where she gets overwhelmed and doesn’t want to continue. It adds to the emotional core of the game, as well as builds her relationship with Novik as he attempts to help and guide her through these struggles. There is a wonderful underlying sense of hope and understanding throughout, which keeps both you and Yasna going.
You’ll also be required to make important narrative choices, with or without the Astrogator’s help, which can result in a number of unique outcomes. These not only add to the game’s replay value but also increase the tension, and your snap decision-making could lead to unforeseen consequences. It’s an enjoyable addition that also gives the game a choose-your-own-adventure flair, which feels in keeping with its novel roots.
“There are so many moments of awe-inspiring beauty in The Invincible, and it’s definitely worth stopping for a moment to take it all in.”
Of course, what makes this video game adaptation of the original book so special is its dedication to the retro-futurist aesthetic so prevalent in sci-fi book covers from the time. The game’s visual was one of my favorite aspects, not just from the start when you first land on the scarlet-hued planet but also as I dove deeper into the story and discovered what scenery Regis III had to offer. It was amazing to see as you walked through the various locations and terrain how vastly different things could look but also how beautiful this unknown planet could be. There are so many moments of awe-inspiring beauty, and it’s definitely worth stopping for a moment to take it all in.
There was also a believability to the environments of Regis III, from its sprawling vistas to the intricacies of its topography. It was fascinating to see how certain elements of Regis III came together, especially because despite being so different from Earth, it feels, in many ways, similar. The Invinciblehas a plethora of moments in which I was convinced that Regis III could be entirely possible, as everything had a scientific explanation.
Beyond the game’s phenomenal environment design, you’ll discover retro-futuristic robots, technology, and housing. The overall art direction brilliantly brings the retro-futuristic aesthetic and technology to life. The Invincible will help you shape your own view on this kind of retro-futuristic technology and atompunk tools, not only as you dive into the game but also as you think about your own surroundings. It makes you think about just how much humans rely on technology, even based on a 1950s concept.
“The environment itself also impacts gameplay, as when in a windy area with sand, it will smother your helmet and block your view.”
Of course, you’ll be doing more than simply wandering and talking, as The Invincible has you perform a number of tasks as you attempt to rescue your lost crewmates. From utilizing a number of unique and suitably sci-fi-esque tools to a driving segment through beautiful landscapes, there’s a variety of tasks to perform. While they don’t extend too much beyond realistically crafted animations, they still feel very much interactive, as opposed to a passive walking simulator experience. You’ll also have to make those aforementioned hard choices that will affect the outcome of the story, as well as your overall gameplay experience.
The gameplay of The Invincible is simple and executed well. Walking around, going through gaps, and running all feel realistically immersive, such as the way Yasna grunts when going through gaps and panting when her stamina runs out. The environment itself also impacts gameplay, as when in a windy area with sand, it will smother your helmet and block your view.
As you go up and down ledges, and climb up cliffs you can feel the weight of Yasna’s backpack and spacesuit, showing just how much this technology can make certain tasks difficult. But even though this may sound like a difficult game mechanic to work through, the controls make these hard tasks for Yasna easy to execute when playing. The Invincible has a simplistic control scheme as well as easy movement, making going up and down rocks as simple as moving the analog stick on your controller.
“The Invincible is a phenomenal game that has done a wonderful job of translating a fantastic book into an even better video game.”
From the moment you begin The Invincible, you’ll be instantly immersed and captivated by its compelling narrative and striking visuals. Its rich lore-heavy narrative and intriguing themes heighten the twists and turns that carry the story. You’ll grow to love Yasna and her companion Novik, in large part thanks to the phenomenal voice performances, and find yourself on the edge of your seat as you uncover the game’s mysteries. It can all be a little overwhelming at first, but you’ll find yourself at ease with understanding each of the game’s more complex scientific breakdowns as you continue the game.
The Invincible is a phenomenal game that has done a wonderful job of translating a fantastic book into an even better video game. Its retro-futuristic art style compliments the concepts that it discusses, and there won’t be a moment during your playthrough where you’re not curious about what you’ll discover. I highly recommend The Invincible to anyone who enjoys narrative-driven sci-fi adventures
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC; code was provided by publisher.
The Invincible Review
The Invincible is a thrilling and immersive narrative-driven sci-fi adventure game that expertly adapts the book its based on. Its compelling cast of characters, core mystery and love of retro-futuristic science is engrossing. The overall art direction is effortlessly striking and makes you want to explore every corner of the strange planet you're on. This is absolutely a game for fans of narrative-focused experiences and classic sci-fi novels.