There is a modicum of games and pastimes involving black and white squares, and most of them require you to play with a certain level of intelligence; whether it’s a crossword puzzle or a game of chess, knowledge and forward-thinking play a role in most of them. Inversus is no different, and after a few games, you’ll be pushing yourself to the limit by using your brain to keep ahead of the opposition.
Each game takes place on a board full of black and white squares. You and your opponent are also squares with a circle of bullets at your centre, free to move in any direction. Depending on whether you start on the black or white side of the board, it’ll determine which colour you are. For example, if I’m a black square I’ll start on the white side and it’s my goal to shoot you, but all the other black squares on the board act as walls and barricades — by shooting them, they’ll turn white and I’ll then be able to move over them.
Shooting at your rival does have its limitations, so you can’t just rain a barrage of bullets down on your opponent. After you’ve used your bullets there’s a small period of waiting and it’ll leave you vulnerable. Holding down the fire button will provide a stronger shot and a three-bullet attack, although it will lose you more bullets in the process. It’s a fairly simple control system and it really helps to put the focus on the thrill of each encounter; pressing triangle fires up, pressing square fires left and so on.
Inversus has two modes and little else (other than a tutorial), but the two modes it has are relatively enjoyable. In versus mode, you’ll get to play against friends or strangers in either 1v1 or 2v2 battles over the internet (or locally if you fancy some good old fashioned couch co-op). Adam and I had a blast through all of the maps in the player vs player mode and each one offered something different, along with a selection of power-ups like shields and triple red bullets; these red bullets offer more firepower and are much faster than the standard bullets.
Arcade mode has you playing through a selection of maps against constant waves of red and white squares. The first map is tough enough, but the further you progress (you unlock new maps by getting high scores) the harder and more punishing it becomes. You can be swarmed and attacked by red squares, but by firing a well-placed shot at specific squares results in taking out more than one of your attackers at the same time. Destroying red squares will give you red bullets and as previously mentioned these provide more power and speed when fired; firing at an opposing square’s shot can stop it from hitting you as well, so there are ways to combat the chaotic nature of many of the maps.
Inversus is fast, frantic and rather fun. You have little time to think and many times I was laughing nervously and whooping with anxious relief. You’ll be in a constant state of nervousness, but trying to remain more focused than your opponent can be the difference between winning and losing. It’s not the biggest of games, and apart from the maps looking mildly different there’s not a great deal to do. It’s the kind of game you may buy in the sale or play when you fancy a quick co-op fix, but regardless Inversus is a smart, twitch-heavy puzzler that is worth playing.
Better with friends
Pushes your reflexes
Not enough maps or modes
Arcade mode gets really tough