|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Novarama||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Capturing these little creatures requires a variety of techniques beyond locating them and corralling them on the capture card. These mini-games include swatting, yelling, blinding, blowing, balancing, and navigating them through an obstacle course. You never know what youre going to have to do next, and thats part of the fun. If you get stuck and cant find a specific creature, the game will give you hints. Without spoiling the fun, let me just say that youll want to search for these little monsters in rooms that contain the most variety of colors and good lighting.
Battling makes up the other half of the gameplay. Its got a good deal of depth compared to Pokemon, with a good assortment of moves and strategy elements. Other moves will be unlocked later in the game. Youll typically start each battle with a strong attack followed by numerous smaller ones. Blocking is a defensive move designed to prevent or limit damage from the enemy. All moves require Stamina, and the bigger attacks use large amount of Stamina, forcing you to recharge before you can make another move. This leaves you totally vulnerable since you cant block while charging.
Blow into the mic to create a windstorm. Put your hand over the camera to create a shadow and unleash a lightning attack. Shake the PSP and start an earthquake. You can look forward to these Vector attacks later in the game. When you defeat an enemy, it releases Sparks. Capturing these Sparks with the camera can be tricky, sometimes causing you to lose sight of the capture card and ultimately your Invizimal. But Sparks are important as they are the games currency and can be used to purchase more Stamina and special Vector moves. Invizimals increase in size and power every five levels. Its not as deep a leveling process as a standard RPG but it does give the game depth and dynamics.
Each Invizimal is individually rendered for a unique appearance, and each is engineered for unique performances. A lot of attention and care was used in creating these creatures so its not a stretch of the imagination to believe these things actually exist. You supply the backgrounds, but you are limited to flat surfaces so dont expect a lot of variety other than woodgrain and colored tablecloths. The in-game sound effects are mostly limited to combat and dont vary much. Tutorial videos contain most of the extra production values with good narration and animation.
Multiplayer modes extend the replay value as you can challenge a friend to a one-on-one battle, or join a group of fanatics online where you can trade, swap, and barter creatures, Vector attacks, and Sparks. All these elements can be combined and configured to make the most appealing deal. Other players can negotiate further with you. This mode will be of little use to beginning players who havent acquired much in the way of currency.
Invizimals hints at better things to come, but you may as well get in on the ground floor and start rounding up these creatures before they overrun your household.
CCC Senior Writer