Review – AVICII Invector

EDM is a music genre that can best be described as an acquired taste. Yes, it is repetitive as hell. Yes, it’s so artificial that it sounds like whoever composed it has never seen an actual acoustic instrument in their entire life. Yes, it’s very commercial. With that being said, there have been some standout musicians to come out from this scene, most notably Swedish-born Tim Bergling, also known by his stage name, Avicii. With some chart-topping hits such as “Wake Me Up” and “Levels“, the producer was at the peak of his career until his sudden suicide in 2018, at the brief age of 29. One of his posthumous releases is the brand new game AVICII Invector, a game he and developer Hello There Games had been working on since 2015.

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A few seconds of tranquility before chaos ensues.

With all due respect to the deceased man, I wasn’t expecting a lot from AVICII Invector at first. Even though I was glad to see that a part of the profits are going to be donated to the Tim Bergling Foundation, a foundation set up to tackle mental health awareness and suicide prevention, I was worried I was about to tackle yet another cheap licensed game. Especially with 2019 having so many other underwhelming titles, such as Race With Ryan or the Zombieland game. I was wrong. What I got instead is one of the best rhythm games to have been released in a long time.

AVICII Invector‘s gameplay is certainly unique, but it will feel a tiny little bit familiar to anyone who has ever played DJ Hero and that older Audiosurf game for PC. You control a small ship through a set path and your objective is to hit the notes that appear onscreen according to the song’s beat. You’ll need to switch between pressing some of the Dualshock’s face buttons, the L1 button, as well as the left and right directional buttons in order to adjust your ship according to the position of the notes onscreen.

Each song also features slower-paced sections in which you’ll be able to freely move your ship around. Your objective is to fly through a few rings according to the song’s beat. All in all, the gameplay is chaotic, and it doesn’t feel as natural as other rhythm games based on actual instruments, like Guitar Hero or Taiko no Tatsujin. Nonetheless, it’s very fun and challenging.

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You need to fly through a few rings every now and then. Don’t worry, it’s better than Superman 64’s sections.

The game is a visual treat. Almost everything in this department works brilliantly. The contrast between the minimalist and low-poly spaceship you play as and the heavily detailed sci-fi backgrounds is a feast for the eyes. Everything is complemented by a ton of particle effects onscreen, with the game almost maintaining a constant 60 frames per second.

Being a music game, the soundtrack is obviously the most important thing in it. The EDM-heavy soundtrack will most certainly repel a big percentage of the rhythm game audience, especially those who are devoted to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Trust me though, it’s not a bad soundtrack at all. There is a bit of reggae in here, some dubstep, a little sampling of old-school electronica, and even some tracks influenced by rock music. Avicii was easily one of the best and most creative EDM artists out there and his music even makes me feel a little bit nostalgic. Avicii’s music was always present in every single party I’d attend back in my college days. It is a weird personal connection to an artist I’d otherwise not pay too much attention to outside of college parties, with the exception of a few songs that would always play on the radio. I was glad to find out that his lesser-known tunes are as good as his biggest hits.

Sadly, the soundtrack, and the game as a whole, is quite brief. There are only 25 songs in here. I can’t even blame the developers for that, as this is a case in which the artist himself didn’t compose that many songs before his death. So while the amount of tunes in this setlist might be disappointing in terms of quantity, it still covers every single phase of his discography. Ranging from his earlier, sample-heavy beats to his later radio-friendly, acoustic-driven EDM anthems.

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It’s a mess, but it’s a fun mess.

AVICII Invector is not only a fantastic rhythm game in its own right, but also a great tribute to a great artist who left this world way too soon. It’s a title that pleases the eyes and the ears, as well as provides players with a unique, chaotic, and addictive gameplay loop that can entertain not only EDM fans, but anyone who’s a fan of music games in general. I was expecting this game to be yet another licensed cash grab, but it ended up being a true work of love by fans and for fans, and one the best rhythm game released since Rock Band 4. Tim would have most certainly been proud of how good this game ended up being.

 

Graphics: 9.5

Almost everything in the graphical department works brilliantly. The framerate is high and constant. The contrast between the minimalist spaceships and psychedelic backgrounds is a feast for the eyes. The amount of particles onscreen is great.

Gameplay: 8.0

Think of it as a mix between DJ Hero and Audiosurf. It’s easy to learn and you’ll be playing it in no time, but it gets absolutely chaotic in faster sections.

Sound: 9.0

The entire soundtrack is obviously comprised of Avicii’s songs, and for EDM standards, he was easily one of the best out there. Sadly, due to his short career, the game’s soundtrack is not very long.

Fun Factor: 8.5

More than just a simple licensed rhythm game, AVICII Invector is a fantastic tribute to the late producer that is only hampered by its short duration and setlist.

Final Verdict: 8.5

AVICII Invector is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of AVICII Invector was provided by the publisher.