One noticeable aspect of this most recent PAX was the return of couch multiplayer titles. With everyone working on the best net code, the living room has been seeing quite a bit of disuse lately. Indie developers have been running hard to fill that niche. One such developer was Sombr Studio, with their title Invisigun Heroes. Show attendees might remember it as “that one game in the PAX Rising booth that was always crowded.”
The concept of this title is simple: take four players and drop them into a Bomberman style arena. The last one standing wins the round. Best of three rounds wins the game, in the mode we played. The twist, as the title would denote, is that all of the players are invisible most of the time. When a player shoots, bumps into an object, or uses a special action, they can briefly be seen on screen. Thus, it becomes a matter of track the players and outsmarting them to shoot them down with a ray gun.
Frankly, this seemed like a terrible idea for a game when I first heard it. Not only is everyone else invisible, but so am I. How am I even supposed to know where I am, let alone anybody else. Well, Sombr Studios is smarter than I because they designed around this. The map is divided into squares, with each step moving one square. After a very short amount of time, keeping track of my own location became second nature due to clever use of time and sound queues. In fact, once I realized this, I began talking to one of my opponents to keep them from having the same advantage. I…can be a twerp. (Especially embarrassing is the fact that I lost to this very person.)
While this game does seem best suited for local multiplayer, there is also an online mode. Other features packed into this gem include various match modifiers, game modes, an instant replay feature, and a wide variety of characters, each with their own special move. GIFs can also be easily created and uploaded, so that the winning shot and/or ultimate humiliation can be shared with the world. For those who stay away from these types of games because they get bored of the maps quickly, it must be stated that this one comes packed with fifty of them. It will take a very long time before anyone wears this game out.
The final thing that must be mentioned is the fantastic soundtrack provided by Paper Sound. These people, known for creating the soundtrack for Hawken, have put together a fantastic and invigorating companion for the rest of the action. The way the electronic beats blended with the onscreen chaos elevated the game as a whole.
To restate, it is difficult to describe Invisigun Heroes on paper in a way that matches the actual brilliance of play. The way this title was put together elevates it past the sum of its feature design. Should anyone be interested in getting in on the ground floor, they do have a Kickstarter campaign currently running. In the meantime, I will be keeping a close eye on this one.