Based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Polish sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem, The Invincible borrows the game’s plot, location, and retro-futuristic style.

  • Developer: Starward Industries
  • Publisher: 11 bit Studios
  • Release date: November 6, 2023

A squad of Commonwealth astronauts is sent to the desert planet Regis III to find out what scientists from the opposing faction Alliance have discovered there. Shortly after the mission begins, the members of the expedition who landed on the planet’s surface stop communicating. The main character, biologist Yasna, goes in search of them, but loses consciousness, and when she comes to herself, does not remember the events of the last few hours. She has to find out what is going on in this sinister world, find the missing crew members and return to the spaceship.

In the adventure the girl will not be alone: she is invisibly accompanied by her commander – astrogator Novik, who is in orbit of Regis III. As if in Firewatch, the voice in the walkie-talkie is constantly talking to the heroine, arguing with her, giving hints, analyzing events, worrying and asking to get in touch if something happens to Yasna. The protagonist, guided by the player, can agree with the interlocutor or not, listen to his advice or go against them, makes decisions that in one way or another affect the development of the plot and the final story.

The plot of The Invincible is intriguing: the state in which the squad members, as well as the staff of the Alliance research mission find themselves, and how the robots and machines of the Earthlings behave, and what Yasna discovers on a seemingly lifeless planet. Players familiar with the source material will not be surprised, but will definitely be interested in the philosophical themes raised by the game: the writers do not shy away from discussing scientific progress and the place of mankind in the universe.

A good story is complemented by a wonderful visual design. The developers were inspired by atompunk aesthetics, studied samples of Soviet spaceships and devices to make the style of The Invincible as authentic as possible.

And it works: bulging monitors, bulky spacesuits and swift “flying saucers” are waiting for the player-viewer, together with striking landscapes of Regis III, unusual alien constructions and visible from any point of the planet view of the huge satellite planet with rings around it. The project can be confidently called one of the most beautiful games of 2023, and this is achieved not at the expense of technical perfection, but thanks to art-design.

However, the gameplay is not so inspiring. The Invincible is a typical walking simulator, and the first hour and a half of the game is incredibly boring, literally driving you to sleep. You have to endure this episode, but the events will finally start to develop and become more interesting.

It’s all the fault of Jasna’s slowness: although the biologist mentions that the planet has low gravity (obviously less than the Earth’s), she moves very slowly, and the acceleration button doesn’t save the situation – after a few seconds the girl starts panting as if she was trying to overcome Jupiter’s gravity (of course, if it were possible to walk on Jupiter’s surface). At least the game doesn’t let you go somewhere wrong: the correct route is displayed on the tablet-map of the heroine, and the environment is full of memorable landmarks and interface hints.

From time to time Jasna gets the opportunity to use gadgets: she has a detector and locator, binoculars and an autonomous probe at her disposal. These gadgets are not very useful, and most often it makes sense to get them only when it is required by the plot, but still they allow to dilute the monotonous gameplay a bit.

The Invincible authors took their time with the development: the game, originally planned for 2021, reached the release only in 2023. And that did it good: we got a beautiful, well-crafted and interesting walking simulator. The creators should have worked on the dynamics of gameplay, but apart from the annoying slowness of the protagonist and rare bugs, the title has almost no flaws.