It is incredibly easy to dismiss entertainment mediums when they are skewed towards a younger audience, but some of the best examples of child-friendly movies, television shows or video games can be enjoyed by all. The point is, so long as something is crafted well, it doesn’t matter whether or not the colours are bright, the narrative is simplistic, or the content is basic. A good game is a good game, regardless of who it’s aimed at.
Taking place within another world where the Invizimals reside, The Lost Kingdom game is tied in with the PlayStation Vita’s Invizimals: The Alliance, sharing many of the same live-action cutscenes as its portable sibling. Playing as Hiro, your appearance in this other strange universe coincides with the arrival of a band of robotic beings that are giving the Invizimals a bit of trouble.
Hiro is able to transform into one of sixteen Invizimals, unlocked as the same progresses, with each one having its own strengths and special abilities that help Hiro get through each stage of platforming and brawling. Every now and then, you’ll also need to change back into Hiro’s tiny form in order to perform some of the more delicate platforming tasks, such as shuffling across cliffs, and walking across logs.
Unfortunately, no matter who you play as, everything feels terrible thanks to incredibly sluggish controls and poor collision detection. We’re in pretty basic platforming territory here, with a ton of breakable items hiding collectibles, switches to press and enemies to smash. For a series that makes such creative use of the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita hardware, it’s pretty shameful that everything about this game is so generic.
Presentation is certainly not The Lost Kingdom’s strong point, either. While there are plenty of live-action cutscenes, they don’t really feel like they tie in very well, and the acting and dialogue is very reminiscent of a CBBC tea-time fantasy drama. It also doesn’t help that the loading times are some of the worst I’ve ever experienced. I timed one of the black loading screens between levels, and it took over two and a half minutes to load, which is absolutely unacceptable. The environments and characters are bright and colourful, bringing the Invizimals to life, but there’s also some terrible slowdown when you collect items. Meanwhile, the audio also has problems of its own, with music skipping and sound effects or dialogue occasionally playing out of sync. Still, Brian Blessed has a narrative voiceover role, and even when he sounds like he’s phoning it in, his deliberatively hammy acting is always a joy to listen to.
VERDICT: Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom is not only a bad game, it’s also the sort of lazy, badly-executed tripe that you would have seen during the last days of the original PlayStation. I’d like to think that the games industry has gone beyond releasing lazily-developed games for kids, but clearly I’m wrong. The premise of finally being able to explore the world that the Invizimals reside in is the sort of thing that would excite fans of the series, but even a child wouldn’t be charmed by this dross.
BAD. Ugly, lazy, and unpleasant, if we’ve scored a game so low then it has serious issues. A 3/10 game will suffer from a combination of uninspired, lacklustre design, unfixed bugs and poor presentation.
Review code provided by publisher.