November 14th, 2012 | By Sam Adonis
Richard Adams, a game developer also known as “Oxygen Addict” is a pretty cool guy. When releasing his most recent game, Invertical, Adams promised that all profits will go to Sick Kids’ Friends Foundation. Invertical is a two-dimensional platformer with a pretty big twist to the traditional mechanics of the platforming genre.
In Invertical, the player controls Simon – a book worm who found an ancient tome that gives him the power to change the laws of physics and switch dimensions. This translates into gameplay as Simon is able to switch background into foreground, and vice-versa. Invertical uses a minimalist, black and white color scheme that makes this easy to understand. If Simon is switched to white then all of the white tiles will be platforms and the black will be background. This applies in reverse if Simon inverts to black.
The primary goal of Invertical is to progress to the next level through a portal. The player must navigate through, and jump between platforms to reach the portal at the end of the level. Timing is the most important aspect of the game, because nothing will happen if Simon attempts to invert inside a filled tile. The player can rarely see the portal from the start of the level, which sometimes makes navigating difficult. The portal is always somewhere floating in the air above Simon, but it is not always easy to know where. Usually it is easy enough to figure out where to go, but an occasional level with death traps will almost guarantee that the player will die a couple of times trying to find the correct route to go on.
The only other complaint I can think of for Invertical is the game’s secondary objective of collecting books through the levels. There was not much of a reward for doing it (or punishment for not), so I never bothered. The only time I cared much was when an icon would pop up reminding me that Simon loves to read, and would appreciate if I found books for him.
My favorite aspect of Invertical was its soundtrack. Each chapter contained a simple, yet mildly addicting track. And each chapter I fell in love again with the game’s music. As for the visuals of the game, they did exactly what they needed to do. Invertical is, to the core, a game based around combining visuals with gameplay. I congratulate Oxygen Addict for creating a game with assets so simple that they work exactly how they are supposed to . I wouldn’t label Invertical minimalist, because that would imply it was intended and there was excess to cut down from. Nope, I think it is best to call Invertical refined to the point of not needing anything more.
I think anyone who calls themselves a fan of indie platformers should check Invertical out. It costs under three dollars, and the money spent goes to a charity. It’s hard to go wrong on this one. You can purchase Invertical from Indie City and Indievania. You can also download a demo off the Steam Workshop, or play it straight out of your browser. You can follow Oxygen Addict on Twitter or his development blog.