AVICII Invector: Encore Edition Review – Nintendo Switch
I used to think I was good at rhythm games. Hell, I would have won that Guitar Hero competition in Uni had I not spend the day in the student union and subsequently messed up the Free Bird solo… Anyhow, it’s been a while since the Guitar Hero and Rockband kits made it out the cupboard, so when AVICII Invector popped onto the Switch, with no peripherals required, I thought, “what a great time to jump back into rhythm games!”
The Solo Artist
There’s always a bit of a gamble when releasing music or rhythm games that focus solely on a single artist. You instantly narrow down your potential user base. That said, AVICII’s music has reached a very wide audience, and I challenge you to listen to the tracklist and not be familiar with some of it.
Now AVICII (Tim Bergling) is no longer with us. After suffering from poor mental health for several years, he took his own life in 2018. In 2019 the Album Tim was released, featuring a number of tracks he’d been working on before his death. And with the release of AVICII Invector: Encore Edition, some tracks from that album have been added to the game, which was originally released on other consoles and PC back in 2017. The Encore Edition is the first time the game has come to the Nintendo Switch though. The additional tracks can also be purchased via DLC for the original game on other formats.
Tim had been collaborating with the team at Hello There Games on the original game prior to his death. His father helped continue the work. The Tim Bergling Foundation was also set up to help raise suicide awareness, and all music royalties from the game go to the foundation.
But how does the game actually play?
Well, quite different to those rhythm games I mentioned before. Unlike Guitar Hero, Rockband, or many other rhythm games, the “notes” or “pickups” don’t come at you on their own tracks. In AVICII Invector you are actually controlling a ship along a path. The style is more akin to F-Zero, Wipeout or Riff Racer. The pickups do come at you down the track, but could be in any lane. The L/R buttons act as a strum for lines across the path, and then depending on the difficulty settings A,B,X and Y are the pickups. But moving your ship into the correct lane also counts as some of the pickups.
During quiet sections of tracks, you also need to actually fly the ship through waypoints.
On, and then there’s the fact the track is actually a triangular prism, and you also need to flip the ship!
Remember when I said I thought I was good at rhythm games? It’s this 3D mechanic that throws me off. On Beginner mode there isn’t too much to deal with; Strum, B button and change lane. Easy adds the Y button as an extra pickup, and introduces the flipping sides. Medium adds the A button, with Hard adding X into the mix too.
My kids can just about handle Beginner mode. Which is great, as the game also has four player local multiplayer. And each player can set their own difficulty setting, and the winner is based on the % of notes hit, rather than score. So even if I go on Medium, my kids can still beat me by playing on Beginner.
But then, I also struggle with Medium on some tracks anyway. Hard? Straight up fail. But again, unlike your Guitar Heroes and Rockbands, failing doesn’t stop the track. You still get to play through to the end. But you need a score of 75% to “pass” the song.
In the Solo mode, you need to pass all the songs from one level before opening up the next. But you can do this on any combination of settings. I tried to do Medium for most, but if I got stuck I had to drop it down to Easy to progress.
There’s even a bit of story
And progression through the Solo mode is not only rewarded with unlocking the new tracks, but also some small story clips of your ship and her pilot. The clips are pretty abstract, though mostly revolve around the pilot shouting about the ship being broken. I do think the story is great though, as it’s open to your own interpretation. I feel that it’s relating somewhat the mental health issues that the Tim Bergling Foundation would be wanting to raise awareness of.
Beyond the story and unlockable section of the Solo mode, there are also several additional tracks, including some secret ones, to unlock through progressing in the game. The Tim and Magma Song Packs, each containing five tracks, come as standard in the Encore Edition, or are available as DLC for the original game. The Magma song pack is worth it for Sunshine alone in my opinion. And the Tim pack is all tracks from the 2019 posthumous album, and each one is fantastic.
If you are a fan of AVICII’s music, then I can’t recommend this game enough. Even if you do suck as bad as I do at it. And if you think you’re good at rhythm games, then try AVICII Invector for a real challenge. Either way, I think you’ll love this game.
8.7 out of 10 – Because that’s the best I could manage on Hard!