A new demo invites you to marvel at a mysterious and alarming alien world in The Invincible, a video game adaptation of the 1964 science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem (the Polish author also known for Solaris). It’s basically Firewatch in space. I haven’t read the book, but I had a great time wandering around glowing 3D space spaces while taking in a BBC Radio 4 drama.
So something bad has happened to an expedition to a distant, barren world, so we set out to find a missing crew, chatting with our boss (who’s in orbit) over the radio along the way. Haha, oh my God.
Firewatch is definitely a huge influence. It’s a lot to walk around, solve the lightest puzzles and chat with someone on the radio. And like Firewatch, you can choose conversation options, small details, and directions that may not change the plot but allow you to define your character’s identity. I like this. It’s pretty slow, but I love looking at this sci-fi world and adding a bit of improvisation to my sci-fi radio drama script. Good voices too. Happy to listen to them chatting.
I really like the contrast between brilliant 3D for the world and hand-drawn illustrations that are meant to be photographs. Capture terrible things in a wonderful way. I also really enjoy the tactile feel of this world. I want to caress all surfaces, from shiny painted metal to the leather upholstery of a sample holder case. And I love flicking switches and pressing buttons that feel so solid that I can imagine the amount of pressure it would take to turn that radio channel dial, and feel the increasing resistance it would take to cross the threshold between channels before clicking with a deep bump heard from my fingertips.
This new demo was released during Steam Next Fest last month and is still available on its Steam page. It contains a section of the game different from a previous demo. The track from this demo has already been seen in a gameplay trailer, and it was in the preview version that Katharine played last year. I understand this is a bit of a spoiler, in that it reveals a central idea of the novel and the game and will thus remove some of the mystery from the actual opening if you continue reading or playing either. Or maybe you’re like me and have your head full of garbage that you’ll soon forget, then only remember about it three minutes before it actually happens.
As head of marketing Maciej Dobrowolski explained to Katharine last year, The Invincible “isn’t a one-on-one adaptation” of Stanisław’s novel. It’s the same planet where the same events took place but it doesn’t tell that story directly (Dobrowolski hinted that you might see some of the characters in the book, the spirit). The game instead focuses on an additional crew created for their own story, who are more personally and emotionally interested in major space events.
The Invincible is expected to launch in full later this year. It is manufactured by Starward Industries and published by 11 Bit Studios.
Although the latest Steam Next Fest has ended, many of its other demos are still available. We put forward 14 demos initially, then more the following week.