My foot taps along to AVICII songs whenever I hear them on the radio, but I’ve never been a massive fan.
AVICII Invector, though, a rhythm game centred around the late DJ’s discography, might have just changed that. With a fantastic presentation, easy to pick up but hard to master gameplay, and a soundtrack that feels like it was composed with a rhythm game in mind, it’s one of the best entries to the genre in recent years.
Originally released back in 2017 as a PS4 exclusive simply as Invector, AVICII Invector has been refined in order to relaunch itself across all platforms. Its visuals have been tweaked and new content has been added, so even if you’ve played Invector before, it’s probably worth revisiting the game in its new, final form.
But if you’re new to the game – as I was – it’s hard to be disappointed with anything that AVICII Invector throws at you. Even if you’re not a big fan of Tim Bergling’s work, as long as you can stomach a bit of dance music, you’ll undoubtedly find your head bobbing along to the game’s 25 tracks. There’s an excellent mixture of AVICII’s catalogue on here, from the biggest bangers that you’ve undoubtedly heard on the radio countless times before to lesser-known album tracks, but all of them fit perfectly in the collection.
In terms of gameplay, AVICII Invector is more or less what you’d expect from a rhythm game: at its simplest, you’re hitting buttons to match the prompts as they come up on screen. You’re represented by a rocket ship in-game, zooming forwards along a track. As you come up to button prompts, you’ll need to tap the corresponding button on you controller. There are three difficulties to choose from, and the one you go for will determine how many different button combinations will appear in the game. On the easiest difficulty, only two of the face buttons will be used, along with the left shoulder button and the directional controls. Ramp up the difficulty and not only are more presses thrown at you, but you’ll need to use more of the face buttons, too.
But even on the easiest difficulty, AVICII Invector isn’t a walk in the park. It starts out very straightforward, easing you in with the simplest selection of songs. But split up into levels, each with a handful of songs, it soon gets challenging. Thankfully, you only need to hit a very lenient 75% of notes on a song in order to ‘pass’ it, which should be doable for most. But those that want to attain 100% perfect streaks on all the songs will find it a tall task on the later tracks, even on easy. Turn it up to medium and hard on the later tracks and your head will be spinning.
You see, not only do you need to push the right buttons, but you also need to move left or right to switch lanes occasionally. There are three parts to a level: some on straight tracks, where you’ll need to be in the same lane as a button icon in order to play the note; some in a tunnel, where you’ll need to bend and curve around the sides in order to play some notes; and inbetween these, you’ll be free-flying your rocket, manoeuvring through targets in order to keep your score multiplier up.
It’s all beautifully presented; set against a futuristic backdrop of blue and purple hues. The music levels are interspersed with short video segments, playing out a short narrative – it’s a nice touch with some lovely art, but doesn’t really add much to the game. AVICII Invector is all about the music – and thankfully there isn’t too much to detract from that.
If you’ve ever enjoyed one of AVICII’s songs even just a little bit, AVICII Invector makes for one of the best music rhythm games this generation. Outside of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, it’s hard for the genre to feel so immersive without a plastic instrument in your hand. Yet AVICII Invector makes rhythm gameplay feel natural with a controller. Once you’ve played one track, it’s hard to stop yourself jumping straight into another, and another – and before you know it, you’ve blasted through all 25 in one sitting.
It’s fine though – with three difficulties and score leaderboards, there’s plenty of reason to keep on playing. It’s a game I’ll certainly be coming back to again and again, hoping to perform just that little better each time.