Augmented Reality games have one purpose in this world. To make the player look like an absolute moron. Here I am standing in my living room waggling my PS Vita over my head while my two year old stares at me, with a look in her eye that says “Daddy’s gone loco!”. My wife gave me the same look when I played Project Zero spinoff, Spirit Camera on the 3DS. She watched as I walked around the house, with my 3DS stretched out in front of me, searching with a fierce intensity… for… something. “What are you doing?” she asked, with a puzzled look on her face. “Hunting for ghosts” I replied, “Now move, I think there’s one on the bookcase behind you…”
There is a strength to Augmented Reality gaming not found in traditional videogames. A.R can – if only briefly – force you to believe that you are really interacting with something almost tangible. The problem here is that a lot of A.R games lack any real substance; glorified tech demos posing as full games, they are. Luckily for kiddo’s who own a Playstation Vita, Invizimals: The Alliance is not one of those games. Make no mistake this is a game clearly created with tiny players in mind. There is not enough on offer to appeal to even the most forgiving adult gamer, but the little ones will get hours of enjoyment with this intriguing expansion of the Invizimals franchise.
Using the A.R cards received with the PS Vita console, players can build various structures to help capture, tame and battle Invizimals. The building mini-game involves putting an A.R card on the floor and using the front and rear touch pads to put together pieces of the structure in 3d. It’s a bit like a three dimensional jigsaw. After you build your base up a bit you can begin hunting and capturing Invizimals. There are many ways to capture the critters such as searching for a specific colour or texture in your home. When capturing a weird lizard like creature, I was asked to find something red. I homed the Vita camera in on my daughters red toddler chair and…
Pow. My crazy lizard beast was born. Luckily, not all captures are the same so fatigue won’t set in too quickly. Other captures involved following a Panda creature around my living room, tracing out Kanji symbols he burned into my floor. Hope Sony will pay for the damages… The game also features cross-play compatibility with PS3 release, Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom – a fairly standard little 3D platformer that I affectionately call “God of War for Kids”.
The bulk of the game involves these capturing mini-games but you can also battle rival Invizimals in both the story mode and against other players. The combat is fairly simplified meaning it’s an ideal start for budding Pokemon trainers, who are still a bit too small for that titles intricate battle system. Invizimals: The Alliance is inoffensive fun that will keep the kids out of your hair for at least a couple of days. Adults won’t get much from the game… except for the feeling that they look like a tool when searching their house for invisible monsters.