The Invincible (PC)

It’s been around 6 months since this sci-fi adventure from Starward Industries, based on the works of Stanisław Lem, was released to steam. The Invincible has been viewed with interest since, and now we have it to take a look at, was it worth the wait? Lets have a quick look…,

You are a highly qualified Commonwealth astrobiologist named Yasna. Even in this future the space race never ends as you and your crew end up on the unexplored planet Regis III, hopefully ahead of an Alliance ship The Invincible. The scientific expedition quickly turns into a search mission for lost crewmates as you awake on the planet with no recollection of events. Be careful of the path ahead and question every decision you make as the mysteries of the planet could bring danger.

Being based on a novel could be restrictive, but the developers here instead follow quite a lot of the events in the book (from what I’ve heard) but give it to you from a new perspective in Yasna. Luckily for me I haven’t read the novel so the story that unfolds is all new, and the way its presented here, almost entirely from the first person view or during radio chatter, kept me invested as the mystery and discoveries started to pile up. Delivery certainly helps as the radio chatter between Yasner & the Astrogator always seemed natural. Curiously there are some choices to be made, either dialogue or actions, which don’t always seem to change the overall flow of the story much but does in fact have consequences on which one of the numerous endings you’ll receive. With at least 6 or so hours needed per playthrough, may take a while to see them all.

Presentation is no slouch in supporting the world and narrative crafted. It has a slightly stylised look that helps to mask the odd weak texture or effect, but that also doesn’t stop it having some of the most beautifully realistic alien vista’s. There’s a continuity in the design of everything that creates a pleasing world to explore. The atompunk aesthetic really sells the visuals as well, each human device or structure is well designed in this style and packed with detail.

The audio also compliments the visuals perfectly. The music by Brunon Lubas is almost perfect and doesn’t try to get in the way of the journey, it seems right having audio mainly focused on radio chatter and the environment etc – you are stuck in a space suit of sorts. Luckily you wont need to worry about the games performance, 4K/60 was easy enough on my system (R7 5800X3D/32GB/RTX 3090) with the added bonus of the DLSS/DLDSR combo for a smooth & crisp image quality. Probably could have pushed for 120fps but I’ll take the better image quality instead given the pace of the game.

As you may no doubt be aware by now, this is what could be regarded as a walking sim. You’ll be spending a lot of time walking, or jogging, around due to the investigations, but every now and again there’s also some buggy rallying through the alien terrain. You’ll have a few tools to aid you as well, binoculars, trackers, detectors etc, but its really your own keen eye that will get you the most clues. Keeping an eye an eye out for these things may not also net you some extra story or additional conversations, but can aid as well by filling out your mission journal. This journal starts empty at the beginning, but the map and everything you see & find gradually fills it out, detailing not only your journey, but your discoveries as well.

This sense of discovery is what it thrives on, it had me searching every nook & cranny of an alien desert for clues, or scanning every vista for the tiniest of signs. In a way its a good job it does as the actual gameplay, as you would expect, is relatively basic. Played entirely from first person, all you need to fully control the character is the analogs and 3 buttons tops. To be fair the devs probably could have made some elaborate puzzles or interactions, such as fleshing out the extracting of info from bots etc, but there’s just about enough to not detract from the rest of the game.

The Invincible is fantastic. without a doubt one of the best, if not the best, I’ve played of its ilk. What it manages to do is tap into the young me that used to sit in front of the TV as a kid watching all those sci-fi shows of the 60’s & 70’s. The sense of mystery & discovery is never too far away here, with the aesthetic certainly fitting those old sci-fi shows too, and the book is used well to keep the narrative grounded. Some may bemoan the lack of meaningful gameplay, but for me it was of little consequence as I couldn’t stop playing once I’d started anyway. If you prefer your sci-fi stories deeper than surface level, or more like old shows & movies, then The Invincible should be worth your time.



A polished and faithful retelling of a classic sci-fi novel that latches on to the young nerd in all of us yearning for discoveries.

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Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.

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