Novarama's PSP game Invizimals may smack of an obvious Pokémon clone, but the PSP Camera-enabled pet collection game is still fascinating to look at, with magical appeal that younger games might just eat up.
Invizimals adds to the mini-monster collect-and-evolve genre with some technically impressive augmented reality tricks, something along the lines of Sony's PlayStation Eye powered Eye of Judgment. Invizimals turns the PSP and camera attachment into something like a Geiger counter, or for the sake of our analogy, the PKE meter used in Ghostbusters.
Players will need to discover Invizimals in the real world, using the camera to root out "creatures of light," according to Novarama's Daniel Sanchez-Crespo. The game's fiction says that the PSP Camera has been discovered by a Sony engineer in Tokyo to be more sensitive than the human eye, able to detect invisible creatures lurking on real-world objects.
Using the PSP and a specially designed disk, Invizimal hunters will have to locate and trap 100-plus hidden creatures, adding them to their collection. Creatures will be spawned based on environmental conditions, with a bit of randomness, to keep things interesting. The trapping of those creatures is vaguely Ghostbusters-esque: find the Invizimal with the on-screen sensor, throw down the trap, then slap the beast to stun it.
Very tactile, very cool. And potentially very dangerous, should a stray Invizimal spawn on some poor grandmother's china cabinet.
Like Pokémon, players can evolve their Invizimal then battle their friends and computer controlled opponents, casting spells by shaking the PSP, blowing into the device and drawing spell runes with an on-screen cursor.
We saw a few varied states of some of the game's creatures, an armadillo-like beast, the mosquito-like Stingwing and the menacing Icelion. Using the game's trap, players can hold their Invizimal in their hand, twisting it, turning it and viewing it from any angle.
Invizimals is planned to be packaged with a PSP Camera when the game ships and will work on both the PSP and PSP go.