Avicii Invector is still a good music game on Quest 2, even if it doesn’t really take advantage of its new platform. Read on for our Avicii Invector VR review.
If you’ve heard of Avicii Invector before, then you probably already know that it’s a rock-solid rhythm game, closer in nature to Amplitude than it is to a Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Paying tribute to the late DJ’s music, you pilot a ship through levels in third-person, matching buttons to corresponding prompts synced up to 35 of Avicii’s tracks.
Visually, it’s the expected shades of searing neons and blinding explosions and you can either settle into a soothing pace on easy difficulty or push yourself with two harder modes.
On a flatscreen, this makes for a pretty entrancing experience. Avicii Invector pulls off a rare balance of calming breeziness in its quieter moments and much more demanding finger-knotting exercises during its more energetic songs. It’s a worthy monument to the artist’s incredible body of work that really touches on the infectious positivity that exudes from every track.
All of this holds true in VR, even if it feels like the game doesn’t really play to the platform’s strengths.
This is about as straightforward as VR translations get. Yes, you can now take in those vibrant worlds in 3D, but the game still relies on button inputs via your Touch controllers. So sometimes you’re using face buttons to hop over gaps, sometimes you’re pressing the trigger and grip buttons, sometimes you’re flicking your analog stick to navigate the world.
On a purely technical level, this works as you’d expect, but your mind will quickly wander to what could have been.
VR has no shortage of inventive music experiences you can’t help but wish Avicii’s Quest port had taken a page from. Wouldn’t this have been a more meaningful version of the game if it had relied on gestures or, say, virtual drums to beat? Stacked up next to the physicality of Beat Saber or the intricacy of Unplugged, Avicii Invector doesn’t feel like it has much to offer the platform.
It also doesn’t help that it’s simply harder to play the game when you can’t actually see the buttons you’re meant to be pressing in correlation with your thumbs (though there is a button overlay option). Even after five years of using Touch controllers, I couldn’t confidently place the order of the A, B, X and Y buttons across the two devices when in VR.
You might come to learn them better with dedicated play here — and crucially I felt a bit more comfortable by the time I reached Wake Me Up — but it takes an extra step of mental gymnastics for sure.
Having said all that, there are a few appreciated benefits to bringing Avicii Invector to VR. From a purely visual perspective, it’s great to explore these levels from a new dimension, especially in the moments you’re let loose to steer the ship through rings, which really opens levels out. I particularly liked the icy planet theme you’ll encounter about midway through the campaign.
Again, though, there’s power to the idea of translating the experience from third to first-person for VR so that you could sit in the ship’s cockpit, and even though that would undoubtedly be a massive undertaking, it’s a shame not to see that effort made here. There are a lot of new directions you could take Avicii Invector in VR, but this is simply the experience you’ve already played now in 3D.
But the game does have the structure to pull you through the experience. Avicii is a much more campaign-driven effort than some other VR music games, with tracks being unlocked in blocks of four, separated by cutscenes. And with 35 tracks overall (including bonus songs not in the campaign) there’s certainly more than enough content here for people that want to pour the hours into mastering every track.
Avicii Invector VR Review – Final Impressions
Avicii Invector is still a good game in VR, it just doesn’t really stand to gain much from the translation. The focus on simple button inputs over new motion controls is a missed opportunity and the third-person perspective doesn’t really take advantage of the platform.
Were this a genre underserved in VR it might be easier to overlook those shortcomings, but the medium isn’t exactly lacking in groundbreaking music experiences. With more attention paid to what makes the platform tick this could have been a truly unique new way to experience Avicii’s music. As it stands, this is simply another opportunity to play a good game that could have been much, much more.
For more on how we arrived at this rating, read our review guidelines. What did you make of our Avicii Inector VR review? Let us know in the comments below!