STAFF REVIEW of INVECTOR: RHYTHM GALAXY (Xbox One)


Wednesday, February 14, 2024.
by Adam Dileva

INVECTOR: RHYTHM GALAXY Box art Having reviewed and quite enjoyed AVICII Invector back in 2019, I honestly didn’t expect a sequel to release. While Invector: Rhythm Galaxy may not be given the Avicii treatment this time around, it took the gameplay blueprint, made some tweaks, and added a slew of new classic and modern songs and genres this time around. Like all rhythm based games, you’re tasked with pressing the button prompts to the beat of the music, here though you do it in a spaceship along a winding track with spectacular neon space environments.

Before delving into the gameplay, let’s talk about the track list, as a music based game is only as good as its soundtrack. While music preferences are going to vary person to person, if you’re not a fan of the tracklist below, then it’s going to be a hard sell regardless of how good the gameplay may be. Vice versa, if you’re a fan of the included music then you’re likely to look past its smaller frustrations. AVICII Invector had 25 songs in its playlist, which felt like a decent amount, this time though in Invector: Rhythm Galaxy we have 40 songs total, upping the playlist by a fair amount.


Tracklist:

Adam Lambert – “Holding Out for a Hero”
Alec Benjamin – “Let Me Down Slowly”
Anne-Marie – “Ciao Adios”
Bausa & Zuna – “Biturbo”
Beka – “x – “Legion”
Burns – “Talamanca”
Charli XCX – “Boom Clap”
Charlie Puth – “Attention”
Dan + Shay – “Glad You Exist”
Disturbed – “Down with the Sickness”
Dropgun – “Earthquake”
Duran Duran – ty Fifty – “Cupid”
Garmiani – “Ava”
Greeicy Rendón & Mike Bahia – “Esta Noche”
Griff – “Black Hole”
Gucci Mane – “Classical”
Kojey Radical feat. Knucks – “Payback”
KSI feat. Tom Grennan – “Not Over Yet”
Liam Gallagher – “Wall of Glass”
Linkin Park – “Lost”
Lumix & Gabry Ponte – “Monster”
Maná – “Oye mi amor”
Merk & Kremont – “41 Days”
Mike Shinoda & Kailee Morgue – “In My Head”
Nathan Dawe feat. KSI – Nutini – “Shine a Light”
Paramore – “Ain't It Fun”
PARTYNEXTDOOR – “Her Way”
PinkPantheress – “Boy's a Liar”
Priya Ragu – “Adalam Va!”
Quarantino – “Broken Love”
Royal Blood – “Come On Over”
Sam Gellaitry – “New Wave”
Sam Ryder – “Space Man”
The Spinners – “I'll Be Around”
Tiësto feat. Charli XCX – “Hot In It”
Tina Turner – “The Best”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Berner – “Bluffin'”

It should be noted that 8 of the songs aren’t playable in Single Player mode until you unlock them in the Campaign by completing them, so it’s probably a good idea to start there first. While I initially thought that having a quite varied tracklist would be a positive, there doesn’t seem to be an overall genre or theme across the game, unlike what Avicii had. This meant that I really only liked half the songs at best, so my want to replay songs over again lessened because of how many I didn’t enjoy.

This becomes quite apparent in Campaign mode where you need to make linear progression through songs, and doing a couple back to back can be a drag if you’re not a fan of the genre, artist or song. Of course being a modern day rhythm game, there are DLC offerings of songs for purchase if you want to up the track list. Currently there are two extra packs available, one Latin music themed and the other EDM, but we only reviewed the base game with the included 40 songs.


What I didn’t expect was Invector: Rhythm Galaxy’s attempt at having a story. The campaign is how you’ll go from song to song, but every now and then you’ll get some chatter between characters Ebula and her friends going on an intergalactic road trip together after Ebula’s grandmother’s passing. After every few songs you get some dialogue snippets, and while I commend the effort to having put some semblance of a narrative, it’s completely forgettable and felt more like a disruption between songs.

Campaign is mandatory to get through though if you want to unlock all the songs, ship skins and world backgrounds. While you can play Single Player any time, doing so after the campaign makes the most sense. These unlocked songs are a little more challenging, as your shields won’t regenerate, so you’re only able to have a certain amount of missed notes to complete it.

Songs in Campaign start out easy enough (depending on your difficulty of course), and you simply need to get a specific percentage of the notes to pass. This percentage needed goes up the further in the campaign you get, making for an arbitrary difficulty increase, as the songs themselves don’t generally get progressively harder themselves. Sure there were a few songs that required a few restarts to get the hang of certain note sections, but it seemed sporadic and random, as sometimes the notes were on the bass, melody or vocals depending on the genre and song.

Gameplay is virtually identical from Avicii, and since I enjoyed the original game so much, I had a feeling it would be the same here. For the most part, I was right. One change I noticed right away though is that in the previous game you had to press the button as your ship was over the note itself, now in Rhythm Galaxy though, you have an oval reticule in front of your ship, needing to press it then just before it reaches your ship. I’m not sure why the change but it was causing me issues in the beginning, making me question if my audio/video wasn’t synced properly on my TV. Sure I accommodated to the slight change eventually, I’m just unsure why the change was made in the first place.

You spaceship flies above a set and winding path littered with notes based on the song selection. There are two different highway playfields, the first is a flat ‘road’ where you can be in the middle, left, or right lane where you attempt to press the corresponding button at the right time to the beat. Then there are the triangle highways, where instead of being a flat playfield, you can move to any of the three sides as it rotates, all while winding up, down, and to the sides.


Starting out on the Casual difficulty to get myself warmed up the gameplay, I eventually challenged myself to Normal, Hard and then Ultra. The harder the difficulty, the more notes generally on the screen. On Casual you only have to use the Left Stick, Bumper and ‘A’ button to match with the note prompts. Going to Normal adds more notes as well as the ‘X’ button, Hard adds ‘B’, and Ultra adds ‘Y’ and even more notes. While it’s color coded and obvious what button is meant to be pressed, sometimes it becomes a blur with how much is on the screen at once.

I’m generally quite skilled at music based games, but Hard mode was quite challenging on a number of songs due to different genres playing oddly from one another. With a pop track you generally hit the button to the beat and instruments, but on some of the other songs, you had to go along with the vocals or melody, so it felt a little inconsistent at times. You also always need to be looking ahead of the notes coming down the lanes so that you can prepare for which button to press correctly. This isn’t normally an issue, but at times when you’re going ‘uphill’ on the highway, you can’t see the notes coming until the last second, almost always making for a missed note unless you’ve memorized the song.

If you have friends or family over, four players can play together, each taking a corner of the splitscreen. I didn’t get to test this out, though I do wish there was an online multiplayer offering, though the online leaderboards will have to suffice for now. Even though there are more songs this time around, me not enjoying half of the tracklist made it feel about the same length of replayability as Avicii was.

Visually, Invector: Rhythm Galaxy is a wonder to look at if you’re able to take your eyes off the playfield for a few moments. As you fly through futuristic landscapes, complete with neon highlights, it’s a lot to take in visually, especially if you’re watching it for the first time. While it’s quite chaotic with all the bright lights and fast movement, you do eventually get into the ‘zone’, able to focus and block out all the extra visual noise as you tap your foot to the songs you enjoy.

If you enjoyed Avicii Invector’s gameplay, you’re sure to enjoy Rhythm Galaxy as well, though I’d suggest checking out a few of the songs and see if they are what you’d enjoy, as a music game is only as good as its soundtrack. I do feel as though Invector: Rhythm Galaxy is missing an overall theme or tone with its varied soundtrack selection, but it’s challenging gameplay and gorgeous aesthetic make it hard to not recommend.

**Invector: Rhythm Galaxy was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 8.2 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10

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