Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is an an action adventure platformer laced with puzzles and an RPG style element allowing you to unlock new moves and powers. Released alongside Invizimals: The Alliance, it has our hero, a young man called Hiro embarking on another mission for the mysterious alliance. It seems those pesky aliens are back and stealing resources around the world. So Hiro girds himself and heads off into potential danger to take them on and save the world. Can he survive? Well that's up to you.
Hiro won't have to face the perils ahead unarmed as it were. No big swords or guns for our champion; instead he has the ability to change into different animal forms. These provide the muscle he will need, but also other abilities as well. As an Ocelot he can climb, as a Minotaur he can smash through barriers, charge enemies, etc, as a Giant Panda he can manhandle heavy objects, move blocks that will need to be pushed and pulled around so he can access other areas, and as a Tiger Shark he can swim and explore underwater areas and collect sunken chests containing precious Z-Orbs. There are 16 animal forms to discover as the game progresses, so you will have a fair amount of work to do before you are done.
Z-Orbs are not the only 'currency' to collect, there are blue orbs that can help you in the online battle mode (more on this later) and Pups. These are items that again unlock animal forms, and it's possible to get some animal forms for online battle mode BEFORE you get them on the main game. Is this an inbuilt spoiler for the rest of the game in some way? I guess it could be seen as such, but then again you do have the option of completing single player mode before going into the online arena. Whichever way you look at it, you have a lot to do, and that is in some ways one of it's drawbacks.
It needs to be said that from the get go, you will unlock some of the animal forms very quickly and then suddenly, it slows down. You'll have some way to go and some time to wait before the later animals come to fruition. This may try the patience of some folks, and we have to consider the fact that this is aimed at a much younger audience than the reviewer.
Controls are simple to learn and respond reasonably well. X makes your character jump and a double tap means you can jump higher and a little further with a mid air somersault. (Some animals jump higher than others so character selection for some sections becomes important), Square strung together with the Triangle button enables combat combos and activates special abilities, such as Minotaur's fire breath or a smashing heavy combo from the Panda or a tail whip from Tigershark when on the ground. If you want to block or dodge then you can activate a shield with a tap of the L1 button and a flick of the right stick or a quick press of the Circle will enable the dodge. Pressing up on the D-Pad accesses the menu for selecting characters and will also open the window for purchasing and allocating abilities that will be purchased via the Z-Orbs. Look out for vaults that can be opened by paying 100 Z-Orbs and inside you will find chests containing more Z-Orbs and Blue orbs, flowers (that heal you up completely) and a few enemies to mangle. There are also gaps that you can crawl through in human form or ledges that can only be scaled in human form. Sparkling yellow points indicate very clearly where a change of form and use of a power is needed.
So it all sounds very jolly and simple... but it isn't. First you will find that you will have to double back on yourself quite a bit. And in some places where they have placed a vault by a peril or lethal obstacle, if it isn't before a checkpoint and you die, you will have to go back in and collect those orbs and if you fall to your doom again, or get zapped by a laser beam... then you will have to do that part again as it doesn't register that you have collected them once. The above statement should have perhaps, come in the Pros and Cons section of the review but I felt it needed mentioning before then as I found it annoying enough (and am still doing so!) at MY age, but a player of the age group it's aimed at... expect possible tantrums and a controller shaped hole in your TV screens.
The online mode is another aspect that needs to be mentioned, and here we have a Pokemon style arena. Select your fighter or fighters and choose stipulations, but having no manual, I could not tell you what half of them do! Online combat was smooth and you earn (if you win) more orbs or credits, that I can only assume help you in the main game somehow? Again this is not made clear without a manual to refer to. It would kind of make sense as the Pups I mentioned earlier can help you unlock creatures for the online mode (I gained early access to a snake type creature for instance). Online play was smooth and seemed to work reasonably well, I just wish I could have made more sense of the conditions applied to the battles.
The graphics are bright with some rather nice textures for water and the same for some of the vegetation. All in all pleasing to the eye in it's own way. Not triple A title quality but they do their job well. Water flows nicely, flames and smoke look and react the way we would have expected. OK so not to the quality of an Xbox One game or PS4 but hey, there are signs here that forthcoming titles for the 360 and PS3 are not going to just fade away quietly.
Sound in battles are meaty and explosions are quite impressive. The music has various tracks to it and suit the zones very nicely indeed. Nothing oscar or BAFTA award winning, but more than adequate and set the mood very nicely indeed.
Controls are for the most part nicely responsive, it's in other areas however where the side is let down.
Pros: Challenging for the age group it's aimed at? Yes, but it's not impossible so Mom and Dad should not be dragged away from what they are doing to help too often. Online play is fine, does not stutter, fall over or crash. It has Brian Blessed to help amuse the kid with his advice about new animal forms that you will unlock. (Though as an adult I found him as usual, to be somewhat OTT and too loud for a kiddies title, still he's popular with youngsters for some reason so what the heck)
Cons: OK here we go, I am going to list them one by one and please bare these in mind before purchasing for your young 'un.
Camera angles can be an issue. There are times when you really want/need to adjust the camera to see what the heck is coming ahead or is around the next corner and you can't, simple as that. Frustrating in one part that comes to mind where a side on view is presented. At this point you need to see where you are standing so you can judge when to jump onto a moving platform as the view is blocked by a wall. I lost count how many times when I jumped, thinking I was in the right place, only to fall to my doom... again and again.
Invisible Walls: Whoa I hear you say, what is he on about? There are times when I have died through no fault of my own. This usually occurs when leaping from platforms in a direction that points towards the player. Judging the take off mark is one thing but to have to clear a gap with a long jump and land on another platform, only to seemingly hit something that causes you to take a half step backwards and fall off the object you are trying to land on is another. Especially when I have landed on it cleanly before and on a retry after going into a vault, collecting Z-Orbs and blue orbs and beating the guards, and making the same jumps again to suddenly hit this 'wall' and falling to my doom... I mean what the heck? Maybe this game needs a patch to rectify this or it was simply missed during the play test stage of things. Frustrating, yes, annoying, heck yes!
The 'doubling back' could be an issue for some, not for me, but the age group that this is aimed at might get bored with this pretty quickly. As for the online battle mode, just what the heck do the conditions mean or do? If someone can send me a manual, then that may explain things, but without you are left in the dark to a large degree.
So what we have is a retro style platformer, with combat and animal forms to collect. It should appeal to fans of the game series and it has apparently cross platform play with the Vita so co-op modes are on offer there.
For the final score I don't want you to think the negatives I encountered as an adult has unfairly marked this down. I have to see this through the eyes of a player of the age group it's aimed at. So the two scores below reflect that in some way. I know there is only usually ONE score but I feel I have to do this, so here goes.
If I was a seven year old playing and reviewing this? I would probably find it fun enough toi mark it as a 7.5.
As a REVIEWER and an adult? It would score a 6 out of 10