The capture process isn't over once you scan for and locate an invizimal, either. Each invizimal has a minigame you must complete before it's successfully trapped and added to your collection. Many of these are engaging little games that make you feel like an active participant in the capture process. For instance, capturing a jetcrab requires you to dodge fireballs it shoots at you by moving the PSP left and right, while shooting back at it with the X button. And capturing a vipera is a bit like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole; you wait for the snakelike invizimal to pop out of a hole in the ground, and then you slap down on top of it with your palm. But some of these minigames don't work well. To capture a roarhide, you need to block the charging creature by placing your hand in designated areas. But the camera may not register your hand's position, and in that event, the roarhide will charge straight through your hand and escape, forcing you to start the capture process over. Issues like this can happen with infuriating frequency and take much of the joy out of the initially exciting technology at the heart of Invizimals.
As with locating invizimals, while capturing them you may often be tempted to cheat the game a bit when it asks you to do things that just aren't fun or feasible given your surroundings. Capturing a moonhowler requires that you jump out of bushes behind it and startle it with a loud noise. This is done by moving the PSP toward the moonhowler from behind some virtual bushes, but if you jump out in front of the creature, it will escape. If you're playing at a table you can easily move around, getting behind the creature isn't a problem, but if you're playing on a corner desk or other surface you can't move around in all directions, getting behind the creature isn't always doable. The easy way around this problem is to just rotate the capture card with your hand, tricking the game into thinking you've moved around to the other side, but you shouldn't have to resort to shenanigans like this to be able to accomplish the goals the game sets out for you. Adding to the frustration is that sometimes, for no apparent reason, you may be told that you have to wait 30 or 40 minutes before you can capture an invizimal you need to acquire for a mission objective. You can always go battle with your current invizimals in the meantime, leveling them up and earning the watts that serve as the in-game currency, but when you're just eager to move the story along, needing to wait until you can capture the necessary invizimal can bring things to an irritating halt. 6283398NoneAttempts to capture invizimals don't always go as planned.
Battling with the invizimals you've captured is the best aspect of Invizimals, but aside from its nifty visual trick, it's unremarkable. In battle, your invizimal has four standard attacks, with the more powerful attacks costing more stamina to use. Defending costs stamina as well, so being too aggressive with your attacks can leave you vulnerable. This leads to a bit of light strategy as you try to most effectively sap your opponent's life without leaving yourself defenseless. You can purchase or acquire special attacks called vectors, which often need to be triggered by unusual actions on your part: launching the earthquake vector, for instance, requires you to shake your PSP, while the lightning strike has you waving your hand to gather storm clouds. These activities keep you a bit more involved in the action than you would be otherwise. But other than the cool visuals and the occasional bit of physical participation, the battles feel very much like those in any number of other such creature battling games.
But those flashy visuals are the big draw of Invizimals, and they are impressive, at least initially. Seeing these three-dimensional creatures fight it out right in front of you, on your kitchen table or your lap or wherever you happen to put down the capture card, is novel and incredible for a little while. The creatures are cleverly designed, with appearances that range from adorable to fearsome, and as you level them up, it's rewarding to see your invizimals evolve from tiny creatures to larger, much stronger-looking ones. But the visuals glitch out often enough to break the illusion. The PSP sometimes briefly stops recognizing the way the capture card is oriented in relation to the camera or misjudges its distance, causing the invizimals to suddenly appear very tiny or upside down or otherwise completely out of whack with their surroundings. Because of this, it quickly becomes impossible to buy into the notion that there really are invisible creatures revealed by the PSP's camera dueling in front of you, and without that novelty going for it, Invizimals starts to feel like just another game about capturing and battling creatures, and an often frustrating one at that.
Vectors can cause natural disasters like earthquakes, firestorms, and PSP screen shatterings.
The Invizimals experience is better when shared with others. You can battle or trade your invizimals via ad hoc or infrastructure multiplayer. The online community isn't very robust at the moment, though, so you'll have better luck coordinating with friends than just hopping online and hoping to find a battle or trade partner. Those who like to live dangerously will appreciate the option to raise the stakes in their invizimal battles with a bet, which grants the victor the option to steal, destroy, or forgive the loser's creature. Trading and battling with others gives this game a bit more longevity, particularly for completionists who want to collect all of the 100-plus invizimals in the game. But other games have handled the creature battling concept with more success. The technology of Invizimals is very impressive at first, but once that wears off, these cute creatures often prove to be more trouble than they're worth.