[PAX East] AVICII Invector is a Special Game – Preview

Written by Abram Buehner

Introducing: AVICII Invector Switch Preview

At PAX East 2020, I had the opportunity to visit the Wired Productions booth and take a look at a trio of upcoming Nintendo Switch titles. The first game that I got to go hands-on with was AVICII Invector. For those who are unaware, AVICII Invector is a rhythm game featuring music from the late, great EDM composer AVICII, Tim Bergling, who tragically took his own life in 2018. Out of the tragedy, Invector rose up, shepherded to market by a team of loving people dedicated to doing his legacy justice with this title. The love and passion poured into this project was immediately apparent and I could feel it with each note I hit.

A Rhythmic EDM Riot

During my demo, I was given the chance to get a feel for the mechanics as I played along to AVICII’s heavy, EDM beats on three different tracks. Each song is broken up into three phases, as the player guides a spaceship through the audio-visual euphoria of Invector’s outer space.  Phase one involves flying through a tri-planar tube, spiraling between its sides with a flick of the thumbstick, all the while pressing the corresponding face and shoulder buttons along to the beat of the song. Phase two offers a respite for the player, allowing for free flight through a series of rings while barrel-rolling and swooping through the atmosphere. Phase three returns to a more traditional, lane-based rhythm game experience, once more asking the player to hit the correct notes in time with the music.

The fusion of all three gameplay styles during a track is seamless and elegant, furthering the imaginative bliss that fuels AVICII Invector. I found myself slipping into a trance as I played, fully enraptured by the experience before me. Considering AVICII’s talent and the power of his discography, the music is absolutely electric, and pairs perfectly with the cascade of dazzling colors, effects, and geometry that compose Invector’s world. The marriage of aesthetic and gameplay is nothing short of hypnotic and sublime. By my third track I had gotten a hold of the mechanics, and I was empowered by the brilliant visual feedback which accompanied every well-timed note that I hit. Leaving the demo station, I found myself aching for more as the game resonated with me acutely, not only because of the gameplay experience itself, but because of what AVICII Invector represents. 

A Game for Good

Considering that rhythm games aren’t typically my forte, when I sat down with Aaron Cooper from Wired Productions to talk about AVICII Invector, I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to tear up, but I did. When Bergling passed away, game development continued with a new goal in mind. When AVICII Invector releases later this year on Nintendo Switch with an additional ten music tracks (the base game is already available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One), Wired Productions will be using the game’s proceeds to inact change.

In their press release, the team states that “Wired Productions and Hello There Games are consummate music fans and aim to make an impact with its efforts. All of AVICII Music’s net proceeds will go directly to the Tim Bergling Foundation, which advocates for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency and promotes removing the stigma attached to the discussion of mental health issues. An additional donation per unit will be made by Wired Productions and Hello There Games to the Video Games mental health charity Safe In Our World.”

A Personal Note

Mental health is a topic that resides close to my heart, and one that desperately needs to be addressed further in the gaming industry. I struggle myself with anxiety and OCD, and I’m far from the only one touched by these conditions and other, similar afflictions. Seeing the constant struggle that so many of us in the gaming community face each day can be extremely disheartening, but to see Wired Productions find positivity in the depths of depravity fills me with a warmth and a hope that cannot fade. The fact that they’re taking the initiative to honor AVICII’s legacy by not only making an excellent rhythm game, but also by donating money to mental health charities touched me on a very personal level.

Advocacy and support are essential to the de-stigmatization of mental health, and the first step on the road to making sure that people can get the help that they need. Seeing the Nintendo Switch receive titles like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Celeste, and now AVICII Invector, games that all deal with mental health in their own, open and honest ways simply makes me happy. Games are a beautiful art form and they have the power to tackle the darkest corners of the human experience. To see Wired Productions not only tap into that power but also take tangible action is terrific. AVICII Invector soars, both with respect to the game itself and in terms of what it represents and does for our community. I implore you to give AVICII Invector a chance when it launches on Switch later this year.

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