Bittersweet is the best word to describe what it’s like to play AVICII Invector Encore Edition. Knowing that Tim worked on Invector alongside Hello There Games and will never see how it turned out is just kind of sad. It’s made a lot better with the knowledge that, from the preview I played, AVICII Invector Encore Edition is a loving and fun celebration of Tim and the music that made him so beloved.
AVICII Invector Encore Edition is a Nintendo Switch port of the original game’s late 2019 release, with 10 added songs as a bonus. Before anything else, let’s talk about how the Switch version handles. In handheld mode, it’s pretty close to perfect, with only a few instances of stuttering, whereas docked mode gave me quite a few drops in framerate. This is likely due to all of the particle effects happening on screen at once. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it does make playing in docked mode a little off-putting, although I have confidence this will be polished up before launch.
In this preview, I was able to try out the first world of the game, which includes five of AVICII’s songs. The selection here included some of his earlier and lesser-known work like You Can’t Catch Me and Pure Grinding. I was initially a bit bummed to not play some of my favourite songs just yet but I know they’re in there, and it definitely makes it feel like more of a celebration of AVICII. Having not heard some of the songs before, it gave me a much bigger appreciation for his work.
The main gameplay has three sections to it, with two of them being great and one being pretty inconsequential. The two main ones have you pressing buttons to the beat, whilst changing whether your ship is spinning the track or jumping to the beat. This is typical rhythm game fare, but more importantly, both feel great to play. It may not be ground-breaking, but it is fun and that’s what’s important.
The third and least frequent section has you flying your ship through rings, and besides functioning as a break from the other two sections, doesn’t really do much for me. Unless you’re boosting, it goes far too slowly to provide any real challenge. Sometimes a break from the constant button-pressing is necessary, but these sections do stick out as the least interesting.
AVICII Invector Encore Edition wastes no time getting you into things, as I found even these first few songs to be a good test of your rhythm skills. In fact, the difficulty was the biggest surprise for me. The game is surprisingly tough, with Easy difficulty being satisfying and Normal and Hard actually becoming a real challenge, with more button prompts added in. Playing through the first five tracks on each difficulty was actually quite tough, which is definitely good for replayability, but it makes me hope for a more accessible difficulty for those who aren’t rhythm game enthusiasts and just want to enjoy the music. AVICII’s music was enjoyed by a lot of people after all.
One thing I enjoyed about the gameplay was the boost mechanic, which you can use after hitting enough notes. Similarly to something like Guitar Hero, this boosts your score whilst making things a little bit more difficult. You’ll still have to hit the same notes, but now you’re going much much faster. Like the main gameplay loop, it’s not groundbreaking by any means but it’s still a lot of fun.
Whilst you’re playing, you’ll be accompanied by some pretty awesome visuals, that glow and change as you go faster through the songs. There are some times when the particle effects feel a little bit distracting, but you’ll be so into the rhythm that you probably won’t notice it too much.
AVICII Invector Encore Edition is all about the music at the end of the day though and AVICII is a fantastic choice for a rhythm game. If the docked framework issues can be ironed out and the gameplay continues to be fun across 35 songs, the game will be a fantastic addition to the Switch library when it launches later this year.
AVICII Invector Encore Edition will release at retail and on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch worldwide on 8th September 2020, with a demo to be made available in August.