Inversus not only takes inspiration from, but stands alongside the greats of classic multiplayer gaming as an equal. Taking cues from early multiplayer arcade titles, such as Bomberman and it’s ilk, Inversus features a simple premise that absolutely anyone and everyone, including your Nan, would be able to pick up and, more than likely, pose a credible threat to your pixel shooting dynasty. Mind, you’d most likely win, considering that you should have better reactions than her, but she’ll put up a darn good fight. And you’ll love every second of it.
The premise is simple. You play as one of two coloured pixels, be it White or Black, and you have to shoot your opponent, the opposite colour. You can only shoot horizontally and vertically, with each of the four face buttons dictating what direction you shoot. One shot on target will win the round for you, and three rounds wins the game. On it’s most basic level, therefore, anyone can pick up the controller and feel immediately at ease, understanding the fundamentals of the game. Traversal around the playing field is where it gets interesting. You can only travel across blocks of the opposite colour, and you can change blocks to your colour by shooting them. Mind, as can your opponent, meaning the battlefield is ever changing and a path that you used 5 seconds earlier may now not be there.
You also have charge shots at your disposal too, and these charge shots are activated by holding down the face button that correlates to the direction in which you choose to shoot. While charging, and holding that charge, you move slower but, upon releasing the button, you will shoot three bullets; your standard shot, plus one either side. This allows you to shoot around a corner that you may be hiding around, or clear more space for you to move across. Regardless of why, that choice is yours, and there are many tactical, or accidental, uses for it. Power Ups are also present from within the maps, and the one you will primarily find allows a quick shot; a shot that travels at double the speed. Once again, you choose whether this is a single or charged shot, dependant on the situation you find yourself in, but once used you will have to pick up another one upon it re-spawning. The second power up acts somewhat reminiscent to a power pellet from Pac-Man. You will turn red yourself, allowing you to change the colour of shapes just by touching them, as well as firing continuous bullets.
The arenas in which you wage the pixelated wars provide ample amounts of variety, also. As you will able to see from the video found at the bottom of this review, the arenas can vary from simple grids to recurring, repeating cognitive nightmares. Trying to work out where you are in relation to your enemy, and whether they are to your left or right, depending on view point, is a wonderful problem to encounter. Joyous rage and confusion ensues and, ultimately, everyone has a good time. Onlookers can watch with a clearer overall picture of what is unfolding, being able to swap focus between the various pixels and simple, clean graphical effects, and this allows Inversus to be hugely enjoyable not only when playing, but when observing too.
Inversus is, quite frankly, the second coming of a gaming age seemingly forgotten by the onslaught of cinematic triple A titles that are so frequently released nowadays. Games that can explode in joyous bouts of local multiplayer with no practice or set-up before are truly a wonder and somewhat of a rare breed. Let’s hope that Inversus can change that around.