The rhythm-action game remains one of gaming’s purest pleasures. Whether you’re tapping coloured keys on a plastic instrument or hitting the right buttons to make a 2D dog-rapper hit the beats, it’s a genre that plugs your brain, ears and digits into the same free-flowing source and attempts to bring them all together in a cohesive, point-earning way.
Avicii Invector appeared in late 2019 in the wake of Tim Berling’s untimely death, giving the rhythm-action genre a rare glimpse of pathos, grief and regret. It was far from melancholy though, celebrating the life of one of dance music’s brightest stars. Twelve months later and the Switch is getting the ultimate edition of Avicii Invector, but can Nintendo’s handheld play host to a perfect portable album?
Avicii Invector remains a modern classic of the rhythm-action genre, even when it’s been shrunk down to Nintendo’s diminutive console and its even more diminutive screen. A lot of that comes down to the fact that it pays homage to the rhythm-action greats of the past; your Frequencies, your Amplitudes, while updating their gameplay systems with a couple of fresh ideas to keep it firmly in the present.
You’re a spaceship pilot, flying along a track that’s beset by rhythmically placed barriers and beats, and you simply have to press the corresponding button at the right time to see them off. At a base level, that’s all there is to it, but Invector throws in a few new elements to the rhythm-action melting pot to keep you on your toes.
The most impactful one is that there isn’t a single plain. There’s not a sole track for you to fly along, instead the route is triangular in shape, with three plains for you to hop between when the game is starting to feel particularly cruel. It means that you’re never a passive participant; Invector’s going to keep throwing things your way, and you have to be ready, and on time, when it does.
The second advancement isn’t completely unique to Invector, sharing some common DNA with Aaero, but at points in your flight/track you lift off and fly free, unencumbered by button presses or pesky timing, merely tasked with flying your relatively small ship through a fairly large hole. It’s a welcome moment of respite when it comes, often just as the vocals soar, and you can take in the track in the way it was intended.
There’s a crazy cavalcade of tracks to be found in the Encore Edition, and while bigger doesn’t always mean better, here it certainly does. It brings the track list to a robust 35, with additions like Addicted to You and Bad Reputation adding to the impressive discography that … have put together.
There’s still no 10 More Days, which is something I might never truly forgive them for, but the blow has been softened. PS4 or Xbox One owners don’t have to worry about missing out either, as all ten tracks are available across two new DLC packs so you can embed into Tim’s musical output no matter what console you’re playing on.
The Switch does of course have the added benefit of being portable, and Avicii Invector Encore Edition is a perfect musical companion no matter where you are. It’s a playable album, and it really sold me on the idea of the format being spread across different tracks and bands, much like Rock Band Blitz, or Rock Band Unplugged on the PSP. Of course, it’s a wonderful retrospective of Tim Berling’s life and work, but it’s been put together so successful that it lays the groundwork for a rhythm-action monster if the desire was there. Who can say what the future might hold?
The only downside I found to the smaller console was that when your ship enters hyperspeed, the Joy-Con rumble constantly, and it makes one hell of a noise. If you’ve got headphones on it won’t be annoying to you, but you might want to switch it off if you value your friends, family, or your place on the train.