After writing an article a few days ago about mental health and the charities and foundations out there trying to remove the stigma surrounding it, allowing us to freely talk about our issues, I read that Hello There and Wired Productions were re-releasing AVICII: Invector on multiple platforms. In tribute to AVICII, Tim Bergling, who sadly passed away last year due to his mental health, Hello There is relaunching it not only the PlayStation 4 (like it was originally) but all current-gen platforms to allow more people to experience his music.
I’m not the biggest fan of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) as I’m more into Rock and Alternative at the moment, but when it comes to a music-based game, I’m open to anything as long as it fits the gameplay mechanics. I will say one thing, despite never having heard of AVICII before this week due to my own ignorance within this genre, I can’t get his songs out of my head and I’ve even bought a few of the tracks on iTunes. I know that may not seem like much but the last music I’ve bought (which isn’t a video game soundtrack) was back in 2015.
So, let’s take a look at the experience and how the music of AVICII works as a rhythm-based game…
Much to my surprise, AVICII: Invector actually comes with an animated narrative story that played out as you complete the various levels and ‘planets’. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if the story should be taken as you literally see it, a girl travelling to various planets in her unreliable ship as you search for the best thing in the galaxy – chocolate! Or, should we interpret the story as something else, maybe as a person running from their life, looking for the one thing they crave, all whilst struggling as they push themselves even harder every time they break down?
Either way, it holds AVICII: Invector together and adds a bit of humour and a reason as to why you’re flying a spaceship whilst listening to various AVICII songs.
There are twenty-five songs play through, spread across six planets. Each planet has its own visual style and all the songs relating to that world are playable as soon as you unlock it (meaning you don’t have to complete a certain song before getting to the next, only to unlock the next world). There are also three difficulty levels for you to try and clear, unlocking in sequence on a per-song basis (‘complete’ a song on Easy and you can play it in Medium, likewise between Medium and Hard).
Sure, it’s not as in-depth or long as games such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but the stars of the show are clearly the incredible music and addictive gameplay which will keep you wanting more, even after you’ve cleared all the songs.
AVICII: Invector reminds me of a few games yet it’s not like anything I’ve played this gen. As a rhythm game, it’s hard to be original – just how original can you make pushing a button which passes under your ship in time to the music? However, not only has Hello There pulled off making this game feel like something very new, they’ve made it both incredibly fun and super challenging for those who wish to push themselves for the online leaderboards. So, what do you actually do?
There are four gameplay modes within AVICII: Invector, modes that alternate regularly depending on the song you’ve chosen to play. First up is a standard ‘press the button as you fly over it’ mode, then there’s the same only you can move left and right on the track, the final track-based mode has Left and Right flip your ship between the three sides of the triangular road you’re flying down. The fourth mode has you leave the track completely as you fly your ship all over the screen, aiming to pass through neon pink ‘targets’ in order to keep the combo alive as the music plays.
Just to keep things interesting, you also fill up a boost bar as you play, allowing you to enable it and literally shoot through the level at lightning speed, yet the music remains at the default speed. At first, I wondered how this would work as surely it will knock the button prompts out of the beat of the music, right? Nope, although you’re going super-fast, the notes adjust themselves so they are still matched to the music, they just fly towards you a lot faster!
If you’ve ever played a rhythm game like Rock Band before, you’ll know how these games usually scale up the difficulty. In that game, you’d grab your plastic guitar-shaped controller and Easy would be slow and only require the use of three buttons, Medium would be faster and use four buttons, then Hard and Very Hard would require the use of five buttons at much faster speeds. AVICII: Invector is very similar – only without the guitar. Easy is a decent speed and only uses Left, Right, L1, Cross and Square, Medium introduces Circle into the buttons and Hard drags along Triangle for the ride. The speed and button frequencies also increase with the difficulty.
I personally played through all 25 songs on Easy and really enjoyed myself – even though I never got 100% on any of the songs. I’ve done a few at Medium – some of which I failed terribly at – and I’ve ‘attempted’ Hard but I don’t think I’m ready for those yet! I get confused when the game introduces new buttons as they started popping up when I wasn’t expecting it, creating much more of a challenge than I anticipated. So, if you’re really into your rhythm games and can play Through the Fire and Flames with your eyes closed, you’ll have no issues with the higher difficulties. However, if you’re a fan of AVICII and just want to play along to his songs casually, Easy should be perfect for you.
As I mentioned above, there are also leaderboards for you to try and get your name on. The good thing about these is that each difficulty has its own leaderboard and you don’t have to get 100% to beat the other people on there. I came first or second on a few of the songs and I had 93-95% whereas others had hit 99-100% of the notes, I imagine I must have held the prolonged notes longer or pushed them in beat with the music more accurately.
There’s a four-player split-screen mode that lets you play locally with up to three other players. I had a few goes of this with my friend and we loved it. There didn’t appear to be any slow down or performance issues and we were both loving the music despite none of us actually being into the genre. It was just a nice multiplayer game that didn’t have us arguing over things (as we usually play games like Overcooked which can get very competitive and heated).
Here is a list of all of the songs included within AVICII: Invector:
Can’t Catch me / Pure Grinding / What Would I Change it to / The Nights (Avicii by Avicii) / Waiting For Love / Gonna Love Ya / You be Love / Friend of Mine/Sunset Jesus / Fade Into Darkness / Wake Me Up / Lonely Together / Without You / Hey Brother / Levels / I Could Be The One / You Make Me / Lay Me Down / For a Better Day / Broken Arrows – M-22 Remix / True Believer / Talk To Myself / *Heaven / *Tough Love / *Fades Away
* New tracks for this version that weren’t in the original release.
Again, due to my ignorance, I had to look up a few facts about AVICII in order to understand the music I was listening to. Basically, despite none of the above crediting other singers, every song is sung by a guest vocalist – AVICII was a writer, composer and arranger, but not a vocalist. As such, every song will ‘feel’ the same yet sound very different and unique thanks to the choice of voice artists used. I think this is why I absolutely loved the music within AVICII: Invector, unlike single-artist games in the past (like The Beatles and AC-DC Rock Band expansions), you’re not hearing the same voice throughout the selection of tracks, so it feels a lot more diverse and interesting to listen to.
The Tim Bergling Foundation
The Tim Bergling Foundation will advocate for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency and promote removing the stigma attached to the discussion of mental health issues. It will support science-based organizations that engage in research into the causes and prevention of suicide, particularly for young people.
Following the tragic events of Tim’s death, his parents set up a new foundation in his name in order to support others who are going through the same things he was, as well as also supporting charities which he felt strongly about such as those covering world hunger and climate change. As one last farewell to their son, they set up something which Tim had been planning to do for a while, a live concert with a full band playing his music to thousands of people. This event took place earlier this week and was streamed live on YouTube, an event that didn’t reach thousands… it’s currently been watched by over a million people worldwide!
Click the video below if you wish to watch the full two-hour show on YouTube.
A while back I played and reviewed Tetris Effect for the PS4, saying that the brilliant combination of the visuals and the music helped take a simple game to a whole new level. Basically, AVICII: Invector has done the same thing – it’s taken a simple rhythm game and delivered a truly mesmerising and enchanted experience thanks to the brilliant soundtrack and stunning visuals. I often found myself missing the notes because I was either too engrossed within the music or in awe at the very flashy and hypnotic colours flying by as my little spaceship danced along to the songs.
In terms of the music, if EDM isn’t your thing and you’re not open to listening to something new or possibly out of your comfort zone, then AVICII: Invector may not be for you as the tracks are all within this genre. However, if you watch the live concert above or my gameplay footage below and you like the sound of it, you’ll love the rest of the tracks included in the game. As I stated above, despite my personal taste in music, I’ll play anything that’s in a rhythm game as long as the mechanics are built around the music it’s using – AVICII: Invector is a brilliant rhythm game that introduced me to a fantastic artist which I wish I’d known about sooner.
As per the information I got with the review code: 50% of the net receipts from AVICII: Invector will go to the Tim Bergling Foundation, with a further per unit donation by Hello There Games and Wired Productions to support the video games mental health charity Safe In Our World
Without You [Easy] – Playthrough
AVICII: Invector is the perfect tribute to the late Tim Bergling, celebrating the music he left behind for everyone. Although initially releasing in 2017 on the PlayStation 4, this re-release can now be enjoyed by PC and Xbox gamers, with the Switch getting a release early next year. Although I initially thought the music may get old fast, due to the songs all being from the same person in a genre I don’t listen to, the different vocalists and brilliant music quickly proved me wrong. As one of the best rhythm-based games I’ve played this generation, this game deserves far more exposure than what I think it’ll get – it’ll take you on a journey that you’ll want to experience over and over again.
Whether you’re a fan of EDM or not, I’d advise you to give AVICII: Invector a chance if you like rhythm games. Flip that, if you’re a fan of AVICII but not that much of a gamer, but you have a console or PC in your house, pick it up as you’ll be supporting the Tim Bergling Foundation as well as owning a great game celebrating AVICII’s music.
If you’re finding things hard and you need a little help due to mental health issues, please take a look at our article about Safe in Our World HERE, we’ve got links to various resources as well as more information about the charity which was founded by Wired Productions and Little Big PR members.
- - Really catchy music which I really enjoyed (as someone who doesn't listen to EDM)
- - Colourful and mesmerising visuals which were on-par with Tetris Effect on the PS4
- - Simple to play yet hard to master if going for the top score on all three difficulties
- - Very responsive controls with a calibration tool to ensure there's no lag issues between your TV and the music
- - 25% of all profits go to the Tim Bergling Foundation
- - Due to the tracks being from one person and one genre, the music won't be for everyone (each song is sung by a different artist though)
- - If you suffer from epilepsy, DON'T play this game. It has a lot of flashing lights and strobe-effects
- - Not a negative but I wish it had some sort of VR support
- - Similar to above, now the tribute concert has been on, it would be fantastic if they added the concert as an update so you could watch it in-game. I'm sure fans of the artist would love that