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INVERSUS Hands-On Preview: Art of Territorial War

Webster’s definition of INVERSUS‘ root word could not be more insightful.

Inverse—used to describe two things that are related in such a way that as one becomes larger the other becomes smaller.

This is exactly how the game plays. INVERSUS is a minimalist action-strategy shooter fit for up to four players – all the prime components for a party game. You control a small block, either black or white, with 5 shots worth of rechargeable ammunition spinning within your block. Controls are simple: move and shoot. Each face button on the right side of the controller corresponds to the direction of the shot. Triangle shoots up, square left, etc. Holding down one of these buttons will charge up a shot that consumes more ammo as the cost for a much wider shot.

Territory is the name of the game – somewhat similar to Othello. Black squares can only move on white areas, while white squares can only move on the black. As your shots go through the other color’s territory, they will flip to your color and allow your traversal (until they inevitably shoot back and turn the territory to their advantage). One man’s wall is another man’s pathway in INVERSUS, and this can lead to a myriad of ever-changing, player-made level designs in each of the 30+ maps.

Screen wrapping is heavily utilized to spice things up a bit. Depending on the map, shooting to the left can wrap around the right side of the screen and can be used to catch your opponent off guard. If you get shot once, you’re done – it’s all or nothing. Small red dots will randomly appear throughout each match, granting the player that picks it up some form of power-up. From the E3 build I played, I saw a shield and a quick-to-fire laser shot that is extremely hard to avoid.

The actions and decisions of each player will cultivate the landscape of the match, preventing the game from feeling stagnant or too simple over time. I managed to get about fifteen minutes of playtime at E3 with interchanging participants in matches of 2v2. I never looked at the time, and felt obligated to pass the controller off – I didn’t want to stop. This game is incredibly hard to put down. The game will be launching with local and online multiplayer, so players will be able to pick it up and conveniently play a slew of matches even when pressed for time.

INVERSUS has been in development for three years by the one-man studio, Hypersect. As Ryan Juckett was showing me the game at his booth, he had an air of genuine enthusiasm. He seemed as excited to show me the game as I was to play it. This characteristic seemed to have bled into the quality of the game itself, vastly improving the fun factor for having been made by a single pair of passionate hands.

Whether you prefer single-player, multiplayer, strategic spatial control, or deadly accurate reflexive aiming, INVERSUS has an element of gameplay for everyone to enjoy. Check out the video above to see the rapid pace of the game for yourself.

INVERSUS is shooting for a 2016 release for PS4 and Steam.

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Tags : E3 2016
Zachery Bennett

The author Zachery Bennett

Zach's eternal preoccupation with video games became cemented at an early age. His first memorable journey away from reality began with a text-based Football game on a dirty Apple II; he's chased fantasy ever since. Having took English classes as electives in college, Zach decided to pull the trigger on a merger between the two obsessions.