Some games are simple, effective, and tap into that compulsive part of your mind that yells “Just one more go!” when you know you should really go to bed because the sun is about to come up and you have work in three hours. Inversus is one of those games and then some.
The basic premise of Inversus is incredibly simple, but surprisingly deep; Up to four players take control of a black or white cube and eliminate their opponents. Each player has the ability to fire up to five bullets before they need to reload. However, reloading takes time as you have to wait for each of the cubes “barrels”( it works like a revolver) to refill before you can fire again. Players can also choose to charge their attacks to unleash a triple shot, with two additional shots one on each side which can also bounce around corners for a rather impressive trick shot. Though you’ll spend most of your time scrabbling for red quick shot power-ups left by dead enemies that allow you to instantly shoot again without having to wait to reload.
It’s also possible to “parry” shots by firing just back in the same direction just before you’re about to be hit by an incoming round. This swiftly repels their bullet back. As the levels evolve they begin to add extra strategic options to the mix as well like wraps that allow bullets to be fired off one side of the stage and hit enemies in the back on the other side, catching them off guard. Later levels also include mirroring, which adds a whole new level of complications and mind games.
Surprisingly the game works well in both single and multiplayer, with both one V. one and two v. tow modes providing highly enjoyable, and chaotic, bouts, but it always feel that skill and judgement win out instead of merely luck (Parrying is essential). It’s also great to see that Inverses doesn’t shy away from local play as it has both online and local multiplayer.
Inversus also include a rather nice little arcade mode (playable by yourself or cooperatively with a friend) It’s a straight forward shooter that feels in many ways like a stripped down Geometry Wars, with your character trying to fend off unending waves of angry red blocks and clones of your own character in order to go for high score, but it is a rather fun and addictive experience all the same.
It’s hard to adequately explain the appeal of Inversus in words. However, once you pick up a controller and start playing, it makes perfect sense. The only problem is you might be late for work by the time you finally put the controller down again.