The Invincible Review – Slow-Burning Space Odyssey

The Invincible is a retro-futuristic story-driven adventure set on planet Regis III. Happily flirting between choices that matter and walking simulator boundaries, it’s a mysterious journey with a fair amount of twists, but also some navigation quirks and long walks on the beach… I mean, on the dusty surface. This work based on a classic novel has enough grit to lure players looking for a rich science-fiction tale with some food for thought, even if the gameplay mechanics aren’t the most stimulating.

Stranger in a Strange Planet

The player steps inside the hardened spacesuit of astrobiologist Yasna, who is in for quite a ride as she starts exploring Regis III. You can think of The Invincible as Firewatch in space, as most of your dialogues will happen via comms, Yasna trading intelligence and occasional friction and humor with astrogator Novik. Her slow and weighed movements in face of the vastness of the seemingly desolate planet are both a blessing and a curse, enhancing the feeling of being minuscule before the unknown, but also being unnerving when we find ourselves lost and searching for the next objective.

Despite the vast landscapes, The Invincible keeps you under a tight and invisible leash for most of your travels. It’s a game about discovery but under some well-defined constraints, where waist-high rocks can’t be climbed unless the game wants you to and shows a prompt for it. The sooner you realize this, the more you will focus on the goal at hand, realizing that you can’t stray too far from the predicted path, any significant choices and different paths coming from the branching dialogue options – this is where you carve your trajectory, deciding to investigate this place over going to another one.

The Invincible Review

The replay value in the game seems to be commendable. Your first playthrough may take you around 10 hours, and during this time you have forsaken countless opportunities to experiment other options, some of them visibly taking you through distinct paths. Any players who love soaking in the atmosphere and discovering all the options are in for a treat, knowing that there’s no option to save the game – the only resort is a full restart, again filled with some slow walks and a fair bit of invisible walls as you attempt to descend from a rock, but that’s a sign you’re looking where you shouldn’t, even if sometimes the margin for error is excessively small. The journey will be immortalized via a comic book, crafting our own story, a fun way of summarizing your decisions.

The Invincible is a slow burn, an adventure with a target audience that must know beforehand what kind of experience it is. Gameplay is standard fare, mostly comprised of interactions consisting of pressing buttons and rotating knobs in the expected order, using the gadgets at your disposal to find hints in your surroundings, but nothing that goes deep into emergent gameplay, since things are pretty much locked down to specific actions or areas of the planet.

These gadgets very much speak for themselves, with a tracker to warn you of important items in the vicinity, while the telemeter allows you to zoom into the distance and identify objects and places. Lastly, the detector shows points of interest ahead of you as you aim forward.

A map system in the shape of a notebook is available and expands as you explore your surroundings, but it’s not the most intuitive one. With the many locations divided into several pages, it’s often complicated to understand where you are meant to go and all the page turning doesn’t help, so it’s advisable to try and make sense of it as soon as possible, as it is going to be needed later on.

A Feast for the Eyes

The Invincible Review

While most of your exploration is done on foot, a rover will come in handy. This quaint vehicle with its dials and switches is a great representation of the retro futuristic approach the game is going for, but interactions are sadly limited to what the game expects you to do. Again, a showcase of a potential that unfortunately was restrained behind a rigid design that just wants to keep the story flowing and doesn’t offer room for trial and discovery.

Using the rover is a joyful experience, saving us a lot of aimless wandering but restricting our sights and constantly forcing a few stops to better investigate our surroundings. It is, in fact, when we use the rover that the risk of wandering increases, the areas now bigger and the goals often depending on our sense of orientation and patience to find the spot that triggers the next part.

Then we have the story, which is the one thing that The Invincible boasts alongside its design. The journey is intriguing, parts of it are predictable but it keeps you guessing for the major twists and it does take some interesting detours, even if in places there seems to be some unnecessarily long exposition. Yasna and Novik are a chatty duo and this is one of the elements that raises the most comparisons with Firewatch, as they are concerned about their fates but don’t disappoint with the occasional wit and chemistry.

Without being the most impressive trip to another planet that you are going to take, it is a pretty planet filled with interesting sights, some of them breathtaking. Combined with the atompunk design that is visually at odds with the advanced technology, this is a game that delivers on the artistic side of things. However, visual design shouldn’t get so much in the way of navigation, as you may end up bumping onto rocks frequently, searching for the single move forward prompt that could easily be available a few steps to the side as well. Not the most friendly choice, but one you’ll have to live and survive with.

Astronaut Simulator

The Invincible Review

The Invincible isn’t fun in the proper sense of the word, and is definitely dull for players who need some action in their games; immersive would be a better label, intriguing being another one that seems more suited. This isn’t a game that you play for playing sake, it is one that you experience because there’s a mysterious story unfolding in front of your eyes and you can influence it with your choices. It’s Stanislaw Lem’s novel in interactive form, realized in a way that is closer to a walking simulator than a freeform explorative adventure.

That’s all you need to know before embarking on this journey. If you’re a fan of slow-paced, story-driven games, this is a good place to be, with robots small and large, friend and foe waiting for your arrival, and quite a few landscapes to explore and instill a certain sense of dread, even if the layout design is excessively on the inflexible side. The Invincible may not mark a leap for the genre, but it is a well-rounded and interesting step for walking simulators.

Score: 8/10


  • It’s a narrative-driven experience with significant choices
  • Interesting mystery with enough twists
  • Yasna and Novik provide some stimulating dialogue
  • Planet Regis III has some nice landscapes


  • Map layouts are excessively rigid
  • You may wander aimlessly for some moments