Tim “AVICII” Bergling’s death was a tragedy. It’s always heart-wrenching when we lose someone. In his case, he’s been survived by a catalog of music and creative endeavors that has continued to grow since his passing in 2018. One of those projects was a rhythm game with Hello There Games. While he never got to see the culmination of this collaboration, the ensuing AVICII Invector is a tribute in every sense of the word. Not only does a percent of its profits go to his The Tim Bergling Foundation, but it gives people a chance to experience his songs alone or with friends in a stylish, relatively simple title.
Finding a Natural Flow
The critical thing about rhythm games is having a note chart that feels natural. The great ones have a sense of progression about them. Say in a Hatsune Miku: Project Diva title, you might see a note pattern going from circle, to triangle, to square, then back to triangle and circle again. A game could go from X to down to X again. These sorts of sequences help you find familiar phrases, for lack of a better word, which you can fall back into when certain parts of a song repeat. There are times when AVICII Invector does this, but an odd combination of inputs means you won’t instantly adapt to it in the same way you might a DJMAX or Project Diva release.
On the easiest difficulty in AVICII Invector, your main inputs are cross, square, L1, and the left and right D-pad buttons during each track. (Though, the analog stick does come up when your ship flies off the course and needs to pass through the center of glowing rings.) The issue is, tracks in the game have a habit of having you keep time with the beat by constantly pressing the left trigger, then pressing the action buttons or moving the ship with the D-pad between those beats. While it doesn’t sound that difficult talking about it, it is as awkward an initial inclusion in practice as the Persona Dancing series’ scratch mechanic.
You’ll adapt, certainly, but it takes time and the game will constantly throw up the L1 button reminder on that indicator’s gateways. For a while, it felt like AVICII Invector was taunting me whenever it happened. “Oh, you missed L1 by a hair. You’ve completely forgotten what this means, haven’t you? Let’s put it in terms so simple even you can understand.” At least if you choose the multiplayer option, which is splitscreen and lets up to four people play, you can take solace in seeing it mock other people with its L1 “reminders” too. You can also mock them for not noticing the rather obscure “shake to boost” notice, which appears below the track and is easy to miss.
AVICII has a huge catalog. The late DJ and producer ended up having three albums, three compilation albums, a remix album, and a mix album. He collaborated with tons of different artists. This has an effect on AVICII Invector. It means that there is probably at least one song on its tracklist you’ve heard before. But, this also worked against it a bit, as these are all EDM songs. If you don’t like this musician or that genre of music, you might not have the best time.
Especially since AVICII Invector isn’t as robust as other budget-priced rhythm games. There are 25 tracks here in this $20 game, and you only have easy, medium, and hard difficulties. The tracks aren’t all immediately available. You only start with the Valley section’s four and Oblivion area’s three. You have to complete every song to unlock future ones in groups. So to get Space’s four songs, you have to complete Valley’s four tracks. Then, to get Ice’s four, you have to play Space’s four. In comparison, we have a game like Voez on the Nintendo Switch that is $25, has passed 150 tracks, and similarly has three difficulty levels for each one.
Never Compromise Style
But the one thing AVICII Invector really nails is a sense of style. It’s a futuristic and minimalistic game following a spaceship pilot who is traveling through the songs you play. Each region has its own distinct background look and color palette, and your surroundings get more intense and vivid as your combo grows by successfully hitting notes. The transition from tunnels to an open road and eventually open air feels great and has this real sense of movement. It definitely feels more like you’re racing toward the note indicators, rather than being a stationary being waiting for them to come to you.
It’s also handled in a way that doesn’t distract you from the rhythm. When going through these sorts of games, you don’t want an experience that is too busy or pulls your eye away from the track you’re supposed to watch. That doesn’t happen here. Everything compliments each other well. Plus, you get these fun little clips with the spaceship’s captain, adding a little extra personality and purpose. In fact, it makes those constant left and right movements make even more sense because it doesn’t feel like you’re only hitting triggers; you’re an active pilot.
AVICII Invector is a music game where the spaceship theme makes it feel more like a rhythmic adventure. It’s a bit of a truncated one, to be sure. There are only three difficulty levels, where many of its contemporaries have four, and its song list is limited due to only championing the one artist and only offering 25 tracks. It’s an adjustment, to be sure, but fans of AVICII and the genre will likely be pleased to have this option for their libraries.
AVICII Invector review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.00 reviewed on a Standard PS4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.