IN-VERT – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer
Developer: Ternox Games
Publisher: Victory Road
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

IN-VERT – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Smooth gameplay with tight controls
Bad: Story is pretty much non-existent
User Score
7.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Victory Road’s 2D-platformer IN-VERT made the shift from PC to Switch last month. According to developer Ternox Games, the game offers a hardcore retro experience, although the cutesy promotional artwork suggests a rather easy game. Time to found out just how hardcore IN-VERT really is.

Story

Through a series of comic book-style still images, we’re taken to a post-apocalyptic world. Our protagonist, an unnamed robot wakes up in the middle of a pile of decommissioned robots. The little android has only one thing on his mind: to be reunited with his master. There’s not a lot of meat to the story but all in all, it’s just there so that there is a reason for our hero to go on his quest. In-between worlds, additional comic panels show how the robot relates to this world, and to his master. These short additions help flesh out the world a little more but ultimately, the story seems like an afterthought and is easily glossed over.

Graphics

In contrast to the detailed and lively comic book graphics, the graphics of the levels are kept as minimalistic as possible. The world is rendered in a flat 8-bit style, with primary colors changing between levels. The screen displays as little information as possible: there’s no lives here or high scores. When you invert the world, something that is explained a bit further in this review, the colors shift along with it.

Sound

The first thing you should do when starting up this game is to go into the volume settings and lower them. This is a VERY loud game, especially compared to the normal volume of the Switch. After you’ve done that, there’s not a lot of sound to be found here, however. Each world has its own music, but the same music track is repeated over and over again between the levels. It’s an 80s-style synthesizer soundtrack, which sounds appropriate for the setting of the game, but a little more variation would have been welcome. One thing to note here is that when the robot dies, the music ‘dies’ alongside it for a few seconds: the track keeps playing but everything gets much, much lower. It’s a strange effect but it works surprisingly well.

Gameplay

In theory, IN-VERT is a simple platformer, where you run from point A to point B, overcoming obstacles along the way. The controls are very tight, and the game is controlled with only two buttons and a joystick. Pressing the B-button will make the robot jump, and pressing the R-button causes the world to invert (get it?) around you: greyed out platforms become solid and other, solid platforms disappear.

In order to make it to the end of each of the 75 levels, you’ll need to switch between the two states of the world repeatedly. This is easier said than done, as most levels require precise timing. At times, you’ll need to invert multiple times in a matter of seconds, with perfect accuracy to avoid getting killed. In addition, you’ll often have to take leaps of faith, as you cannot always see where you will land before taking a jump.

These leaps of faith quickly lead to a game that is all about trial and error and memorizing the patterns required for inverting the world in order to pass the obstacles on your way. The game quickly turns into an exercise in frustration, as there is no margin of error and mistakes are made very, very easily simply based on the speed with which you need to make decisions. To help mitigate this, there are checkpoints in most of the levels, where you’ll respawn if you die, provided you reach them first of course. Obstacles include spikes that will kill you if you touch them, bottomless pits and launch platforms that catapult you up or forward. Some light puzzling is also in the game in the form of blocks that you can push in order to create platforms to jump from.

There’s also a boss fight waiting at the end of each game. These bosses are cleared in classic Mario fashion: jumping on top of them repeatedly eventually defeats them. Although the game is punishingly difficult most of the time, everything is done to keep the flow as smooth as possible. You respawn instantly at the last checkpoint when you die, and you have an infinite amount of lives at your disposal. You’ll need all the help you can get because the slightest mistake will kill you, so the mentioned aids are very welcome.

Conclusion

Overall, IN-VERT is hard to recommend to most gamers. It’s a niche game that will only appeal to the more masochistic gamers that enjoy extremely difficult platformers. If you happen to fit that description, you’ll find a lot of value here, but if you’re looking for a game that has more to offer than an exercise in frustration, you better look elsewhere.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
IN-VERT - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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