Developer: Magenta Software
Distributor: Ster Kinekor
Reviewed on: Playstation 3
Also available on: N/A
If we had to give it a numerical score: 6/10
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is a wonderfully-themed, marvelously-designed children’s game that is completely let down by the control-mechanics, which are just awful.
Let me be clear – I like and my little daughter absolutely loves the game, but every five minutes I can see the anguish on her face as she thumps the buttons a little harder, trying to execute what she has done a hundred times before, not understanding why this time it just won’t do what she asked, when she asked. I remember the 8-bit days with cheap Chinese consoles, the controllers of such a poor quality that we thought that anything that wouldn’t work was the controller’s fault. We are way past those days with modern controllers, so when a game’s mechanics fumble, the child must wonder what the heck is going on, not comprehending that not all games are made equal.
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is the latest in a cherished franchise, and what frustrates me the most is that it is an absolutely outstanding design that gives children the rare opportunity to sample gameplay that is way more common with adult-themed games, without ever being difficult. The Lost Kingdom is a third-person action platformer that could be described as a junior Tomb Raider meets Ratchet and Clank. There’s the platforming, a charming set of 8 Invizimals, each with their own skill-set. These Invizimals can be upgraded, unlocking bigger and more effective attacks. Each character will suit different tasks across the levels given their skill-set – for example, the TigerShark is the only one that can swim, then Hiro (the boy) can crawl through tight spots. So your child will be thrilled with the different characters, offering different gameplay. The characters are wonderfully charming, and you will see the joy on your child’s face every time a new character is unlocked.
So I really wanted the game to be great, but even with a 2gig plus update, the mechanics are sluggish, clunky and sticky. The scaling along walls for example, if you are not on the exact spot to jump to the next wall, the character just gets stuck there. Now me, with thirty years of gaming, I will know just to wiggle around a bit until I find the spot, but a child will just keep pressing the jump button a little harder for a few s seconds, ruining the rhythm of the gameplay and frustrating the child.
While I personally find clumsy mechanics a total game-breaker, the game’s charm will keep your child wanting despite the frustration, because as I said, it is a wonderfully designed game. The gameplay holds your child’s hand too, narrating tutorials throughout the game as you go along. The puzzle bits are never too complicated, and the gameplay really offers way more than dumbed-down gameplay which is common with children’s games. So this really had an opportunity to compete with the likes of LBP or the Puppeteer with its wonderful designed gameplay. I could even forgive the poor visual quality – the characters and their animations are great as are the cinematic bits, but the game’s world is bleak in texture and detail.
The Bottom Line
The irony of it all is that I would still recommend Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom for the little ones – it is just such a charming title that offers gameplay that you would normally only get in a more adult-themed game, and it’s never too difficult. Just know that the moans and groans will be constant until your child gets accustomed to the clumsy mechanics.
What I liked
- The characters
- Gameplay design
- Difficulty level for a child
Not so much
- The awful, sluggish, clunky controls!
- The visuals
- 2 gig plus title update… for a child’s game?
Read about our ratings here.