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The Invincible Preview: A Classic Sci-Fi Adventure in an Alien World

Few things can elicit mixed feelings of wonder, danger, and isolation like space. Its scope, beauty, and risk are often taken for granted in video games, reduced to a playing field for outrageous technology, incredible powers, and booming space operas.

The Invincible seems to buck that trend, embracing the adventure and dread of visiting an alien world. We took to the field with an early version of this story-driven first-person sci-fi adventure from Starward Industries and came away with more questions than answers about what’s going on in the universe – the whole thing. in the best possible way.

I start my demo by navigating an interstellar rover to another crew’s last known point. It’s clear and the sun is high in the air above a desolate canyon. Strange columns of brown and red stone rise around me, and a deep man-made gash in the canyon wall creates an unsettling “otherness” in space.

The Invincible is based on the 1964 book of the same title by Polish science fiction author Stanislaw Lem. It’s a hard work of science fiction, leaning heavily on a firm set of rules and scientific principles rather than relying on star wars-the magic of space. Expect this game to challenge you philosophically rather than take you on a light-hearted adventure through space.

As I disembark from my vehicle, I climb through an abandoned research station and crawl through a narrow tunnel. In the background is a clearing and a large robot, almost like a miniature automaton of War of the Worlds. The missing crew cannot be found until I come across a body partially buried in the sand.

In these first moments, one thing already stands out. There’s a strong sense of the unknown running through The Invincible. It immediately piques my natural curiosity and fills me with a dread I can’t quite get rid of. Finding that first body doesn’t help; my character reports his findings over the radio to his colleague, and I choose the option to express grim resignation that I’m not surprised to find members of this crew dead.

I turn my attention to gathering information. The lifeless robot is an Antimat, a mobile platform for an anti-matter cannon. I pull the diary from his on-board camera and am treated to a series of semi-transparent slides detailing what happened. The crew had used the Antimat to punch a hole in the canyon wall, but it turned on its human controllers and slaughtered them with its cannon for unknown reasons.

The retrofuturistic technology of The Invincible is openly displayed throughout. It’s all clearly inspired by 1950s and 1960s ideas of what advanced technology “in the future” would look like, similar to the ideas and themes that run through the To fall series, just without the apocalypse (as far as we know so far).

Beyond the slides and Antimat are portable counters, a map, and low-tech optical binoculars. It’s an interesting aesthetic and could be a nice change of pace from the usual high-level sci-fi typical of most games. But we’ll have to wait and see in the final version.

Searching for answers, I sink into a cylindrical hole in the wall. At the other end is a humanoid robot walking in a circle and strange metallic plants with deep, inorganic roots running through the ground. This triggers a philosophical debate between my character and his master about what constitutes life. They clearly have a long history together and the report creates lively conversation.

Eventually, the human-shaped robot walks away. I am, only to see him vaporized by the now awake Antimat. With the anti-matter cannon now trained on me, I prepare to meet the same fate before the automaton inexplicably stops and returns to rest. There is a new tunnel formed by the powerful shot that wiped out the humanoid robot. I enter it and continue to pursue the mystery of the missing crew and this strange planet.

At the end of my demonstration, I begin to have a clearer idea of ​​what The Invincible could be: fire watch in the space. The natural banter and on-foot exploration gameplay already has its teeth in me, and this little slice of the universe is just tasty enough to leave me wanting more.

The atompunk tech aesthetic is extremely compelling, and if Starward Industries can pull off the story adaptation, it could be one of the most interesting games on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC when it releases in 2023. Stay tuned tune in to find out more.