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Review: Avicii Invector: Encore Edition

Speeding through livid landscapes onto Oculus Quest is Avicii Invector.

Avicii Invector has already seen success on other platforms; across home consoles the rhythm game has won over fans of the Swedish musician and those more unfamiliar with his music. The game was initially released after the early death of the house music star. It was a game he had spoken about between albums and touring.

AVICII Invector: Encore Edition

Avicii Invector: Encore Edition sees a young woman speeding through abstract worlds in a spacecraft. In order to reach the end of each world, you must tap buttons on the controllers to guide this craft through checkpoints and jumps. It’s your standard rhythm game fare – the timing of button presses needs to match the beat of the song playing in the background and the on-screen prompts.

All of the songs here, it should go without saying, come from Avicii’s back catalogue. There are big, bouncy melodies and crunching beats that rebound off unique instruments and sweeping vocals. Depending on your level of fandom, it’s likely you’ll know many of the tracks, but let’s be honest, if you’re interested in playing this it’s either because you love Avicii’s work or because you’re a rhythm game fiend.

It’s a shame then that the game flounders on that latter point. The core mechanics are sound, timed button presses, dodging the craft left and right, while also using anti-gravity pads to rotate the level ninety degrees, sometimes spinning it like a wormhole. If only the developers had added a sync option allowing players to adjust the visuals and music so they align.

For many of the tracks I played – and it should be noted that I’ve played this game on Switch and PlayStation 4 previously – the beats just weren’t in sync with the prompts on screen, sometimes being off by a whole second. It made for a very disjointed and jarring experience playing on wireless headphones. This could be fixed easily with a latency menu, which is actually included on the console versions, oddly enough.

Then there’s the reason we’re here, the VR features. While it’s disappointing that the cutscenes are presented in a cinema screen style, we’re not here for the story, which is barebones as it is. Throughout the levels the world swirls around you; geometric objects float and twirl, lights pulse behind your head and the rotating mechanic flips the environment. The landscapes always feel otherworldly and alien, but the VR doesn’t add much more to the standard game.

Moments where the craft soars above the playing field to swoop through hoops of light feel encompassing, though also slightly nausea-inducing. There’s also an odd choice here to use the controller thumbsticks, rather than motion control, as it would suit the spacecraft concept. These are minor quibbles though. The blistering feel when I slammed the boost buttons and the world became more tunnelled and claustrophobic – like an underground nightclub – felt exhilarating. 

There’s a sense of motion constantly, like a VR rollercoaster, and when everything clicks into place Avicii Invector: Encore Edition is a thrilling ride through the musician’s career highlights. It does however feel like this version of the videogame is ticking a box, rather than living up to its potential. Nothing overly original comes from the use of virtual reality and the exclusion of a more thorough options menu is a severe misstep.

Edited to remove details of multiplayer, which aren’t available on the Quest 2 version.

2.0 rating
2/5
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