Invizimals

(i)

 

Innovative, camera-based monster battler with mild violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players might get mixed messages from this game. On one hand, your goal is to capture, research, and document Invizimal creatures and protect them from those would use them for evil purposes. However, on the other hand, you casually pit them in battle against one another in tournaments, or against computer opponents or other players, which seems to be more or less the equivalent of a dog fight save that the Invizimals are never seriously injured.

Positive role models

The game’s protagonists are actual actors filmed for the purpose of this game. They’re generally a good lot and offer the player helpful advice on how to find and train Invizimals.

Ease of play

Detailed onscreen instructions ensure that players are never at a loss as to how to proceed or what to do next. Battles, on the other hand, can be quite challenging. Players will need to learn each Invizimal’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the effects of specific attacks in order to win the game’s more challenging fights.

Violence

Players’ Invizimal creatures fight each other using fire, spikes that rise from the ground, energy blasts, earthquakes, and a variety of other imaginative attacks. Defeated creatures huff and puff and collapse from exhaustion before disappearing. The action is roughly on par with what you might see in a Pokemon game.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Invizimals is a Pokemon-like monster collection and battle game, but that it is geared for a slightly older audience (one of the Invizimals has a flatulence attack). As with the Pokemon games, players may receive mixed messages about how to treat the creatures they find; they’ll train, care for, and learn about them before pitting them in combat against other monsters. There’s also a subplot about nogoodniks who would use the Invizimals for evil purposes.

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What's it about?

A decidedly original take on the oversaturated monster collection and battle genre, INVIZIMALS uses the PSP camera attachment -- included in the box -- as a means of catching critters you can’t see under normal circumstances. Players pan the camera around their environments until they find one, then place a physical card that comes with the game in that area to lock the creature in place. They then engage in a quick little mini-game -- fixing the centre of the camera on the monster’s eyes or swatting it when it lands on the card -- to capture it. They can use the monsters in battles against those captured by other Invizimal masters around the globe.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Invizimals can be loads of fun, especially if you can get up and move around your environment to go looking for new monsters and have a good flat area on which to set up your card for fights. The combat is complex enough to offer a challenge even to veterans of the monster battler genre, and the Invizimals are a highly diverse lot with interesting little personalities that come through both while being captured and in battle.

The only thing that may turn off some players is the narrative. Set in the real world using real actors, the game’s story features an awful lot of lengthy scenes that are a mix of cornball humor and overly dramatic acting. It’s the sort of thing most people will either love or hate. If you happen to love it -- and you also have a passion for monster battling games -- then there’s every reason to believe you’ll have a blast with Invizimals.

Online interaction: This game supports head-to-head online play against one other opponent. There is no communication; players simply pit their Invizimals in fights against each other or trade items that they’ve collected.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the mixed messages kids might receive from monster collection games. Are there any creatures in the real world that you would collect and care for before making them battle one another? Why might it be okay to do this with fantasy creatures in games?

  • Families can also discuss the idea of melding game worlds with the real world via a camera. Do you find these games to be more immersive? Do you sometimes catch yourself thinking that the creatures that appear to be on your carpet or table as seen through the PSP’s screen are actually existent? Can you think of other ways this sort of technology might be applied outside the world of games?

Game details

Platforms:PSP
Price:$39.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:October 12, 2010
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence

This review of Invizimals was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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