When Invizimals showed up in the list of video games Blogcritics writers could offer to review, I was intrigued. A creature capturing game that requires a brand new accessory, this is probably the most unusual game I'll ever get to review!
Invizimals was obviously designed to capitalize on two gaming industry trends, the immense popularity of Pokemon for the past twelve years or so, and the trend toward interactive accessories for video game consoles.
Following the success of the Nintendo Wii and its' Wiimote, the PS3 recently followed up with the Playstation Move, and Microsoft will release Kinect for the Xbox 360 next week. So, imagine Pokemon, but take away its' RPG format, and replace it with augmented reality.
Augmented reality is the concept of taking your real life environment, and adding digital elements, such as graphics or sounds. Your reality has become digital, part real and part imaginary.
The PSP's brand new camera attachment debuts with Invizimals, and it's included in the box. The camera plugs into the USB port at the top of your console. The game also includes a 'trap card' that must be used with the camera and the game. I suppose the markings on the card facilitate the camera to focus on a particular spot.
There are two basic tasks in the game, capturing Invizimals, and using your captured Invizimals to battle the Invizimals of competitors.
The augmented reality in the game is that the camera takes video footage of your immediate environment, and super-imposes Invizimals in it. You see, Invizimals are all around you, and all you need is your PSP and PSP camera to see them! Otherwise, they're invisible, hence they're called Invizimals.
For the first few times, capturing Invizimals is very exciting. The first Invizimal I caught crawled onto the 'trap card', and I had to swat it with my hand. Not with the buttons of my PSP, but I had to swat the real trap card in my real environment. It's quite a novelty.
Other types of Invizimals have to be rubbed with your finger, or fed steaks you throw at them at a certain target, also super-imposed in your environment. There are different ways to capture all 100+ Invizimals, the game will give you video instructions the first time you encounter a certain type of Invizimal.