The Invisible Hand – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation
Developer: Power Struggle Games
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

The Invisible Hand – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Interesting concept
Bad: Really shallow and short
User Score
5.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The world of stock investment and brokering is an incredibly risky one, which has been mystified throughout the years by pieces of media such as The Wolf of Wall Street. What these pieces of media often show is how dirty and ruthless everything can be behind the scenes, once morals go out of the window. The Invisible Hand is not particularly subtle with its message, plunging players into a world of corporate corruption where all that matters is making money.

Story

The Invisible Hand’s story follows the player, a new employee at the investment firm Feiros, who has been accepted thanks to the recommendation of another existing employee. From the very beginning, they are thrown into a tooth and nail competition against their fellow coworkers, whose profit margins they must surpass or be fired. In order to do so, players will be prompted to utilize any means at their disposal, from insider information to lobbying, disregarding any consequences.

To illustrate this, the player’s first opponent in the firm will be a fellow junior trader, who happens to be one of the better-known upcoming investors with solid studies and firm morals. In order to gain the upper hand over this individual, players will soon be prompted by the same person who helped them join the firm to obtain and utilize illegal insider information from the dark web, only further devolving from that point onwards.

Curiously enough, despite containing a story mode where players don’t have to worry about failure, The Invisible Hand’s story remains rather shallow. While a few extra snippets of conversation can be obtained by interacting with the pair of characters found in the office, most of these are reduced to jokes about trading or tips about which stock may rise or fall in the day. To add further to this, after reaching the status of Vice President in the local branch of the firm, a few days later the game simply ends, with no different endings, regardless of the player’s actions. After this, an endless mode, where no further progression may occur, begins.

Graphics

The game’s graphics are rather simple in general, with low detail models for both environments and NPCs. Adding onto this, said environments are rather limited, including only a handful, where all but one, are only seen during cutscenes. Throughout the game, players will really only spend time in the office, sitting at their desk staring at stock charts.

Moving on from the graphical detail into something arguably more important in the game, the UI design utilized for the player’s trading station is generally adequate, although confusing at first. Whilst someone with experience in stock trading may find everything easier to handle, those foreign to this world will require some time to become acquainted with it.

Sound

The Invisible Hand’s sound design is alright, although nothing to write home about. The soundtrack is comprised of entertaining jazzy songs to play in the background and be forgotten after ending the game, while the SFX are the simple things one may expect from the few items interacted with. Additionally, the game also features “voice acting” of sorts, although done in the Animal Crossing style where characters simply mutter gibberish while the dialogues play.

Gameplay

The Invisible Hand is an economy and investment simulator. The main gameplay loop revolves around the player looking at different graphs with the growth rates of different companies, currencies and materials, attempting to guess where to invest in order to maximize the profit.

Additionally, the game provides its players with two different types of investments, long and short. Long investments are those done on a company in hopes its stock will rise in value, in order to sell for a profit, while on the other hand, short ones consist of borrowing shares to sell, in hopes of the price plummeting and buying them back at a profit.

Other than the basic investment types, The Invisible Hand offers its players other tools to play the market. Besides the already mentioned insider information, players are also able to lobby for or against any item in the market, making its price soar or plummet as they see fit. This tool comes at two costs though, the first being a simple monetary one in order to pay the lobbyists. Secondly, there’s the matter of PR, where if players lobby too much, the negative media coverage may have consequences.

Along with the stock market investment, players also have a small separate system where they may buy property in order to lease it to tenants, being also able to furnish said property to increase its value. While this system also comes into play through the ability to throw parties, it still remains little more than a screen to check for a minute before finishing the in-game day.

Besides these direct gameplay mechanics, the only other noteworthy thing included in the game is the ability to make in-game time go faster or slower by drinking coffee or tea. By doing so, players will be able to speed up their investments or have more time to analyze everything, although the normal speed is usually more than enough.

Conclusion

The Invisible Hand is an entertaining but shallow stock market simulator. Offering little in the way of story, graphics, and sound; the game can be utilized as a time killer for an afternoon and nothing more, as it contains barely any replay value. Priced at €10,79/$12.99/£10.29, it is rather recommendable to wait for a sale before purchasing the game.

Personal Opinion

“The Invisible Hand is pretty entertaining for a while until the novelty wears off. The mechanics, and everything else in the game, are rather shallow and get old quite soon. It is pretty amusing that this game was released after the whole shebang with GME and AMC stock happening not so long ago.”

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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The Invisible Hand - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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