With a string of hit singles and a Mike Posner nod, we suppose the next step for Swedish superstar Avicii is to get his own game. Step forward Gothenburg-based indie Hello There’s Invector, a saccharine rhythm action release set to the backdrop of 22 thumping electronic dance tracks. Your interest is probably going to be determined by your stomach for the soundtrack, but if you’re a fan of Europe’s elite brand of electro house, then you’re going to have a jam.
The gameplay itself is actually fairly simple, adopting a spacecraft-themed musical highway similar to what you’ll have seen in titles like Amplitude before. The twist is that there’ll be segments where you'll fly off the notation chart, adopting full 3D control of the ship in semi-on rails Race the Sun-esque flying sequences. Otherwise you’ll be flipping a triangular prism tapping along to the beat, or working across a wider lane filled with familiar button prompts.
There are multiple difficulty tiers and these do increase the complexity of the gameplay, but it never really reaches DragonForce on Guitar Hero levels of challenge. Ultimately, the title’s more about spacing out, imagining you’re sweaty and shirtless at a Swedish house party, punching the air while someone spills WKD down your skinny jeans. The aesthetic, all glitter and firework displays, matches the music nicely – and it simply looks cool on the screen.
As for the setlist, well it’s sweeter than an alchopop shitmix stirred with sugar canes. While our receding hairline makes us feel more like the man from the Levels video than the hot young 20-somethings the music is intended for, we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a guilty pleasure. There’s a reason songs like Wake Me Up have topped the charts around the globe, and there’s not one dud on the soundtrack as far as we’re concerned.
Of course, if you don’t like Avicii then you’re going to be bang out of luck, and that’s the gamble that Hello There has taken. In our opinion, by focusing primarily on one artist the package has a kind of sonic consistency that you don’t usually get in music titles with wider variety, but if you’re not a fan of the star at the heart of it all then you’re not really going to have a good time. In addition to that, the relatively samey structure of the songs means that a lot of beat patterns pose a similar challenge.
But the bigger drawback here are the things that the game doesn’t do. There’s split-screen multiplayer which is all fine and dandy, but the title would have really benefited from an endless mode mixing all of the songs together. Furthermore, there’s no way to listen to the soundtrack and use the beautiful presentation as a kind of party visualizer either, which seems like an obvious omission. And most importantly, there’s no PlayStation VR support, which based on past evidence could have elevated the title to a whole other level.
Mike Posner was a few years early: all he needed was to set a high score in Invector to show Avicii that he’s cool. This is a hyperactive rhythm game, which is perhaps defined more by its presentation and soundtrack than its simplistic underlying gameplay. It’s good fun, though, and playing it will make you feel badass – even if it’s only for a fleeting second. There’s something to be said for empowerment like that.