Communism. It's a great theory. Unfortunately, although the idea is great, it just doesn't work in practice. Unlike communism however, Invizimals does have a lot of redeeming features.
What are Invizimals? They are animals that you have to capture, train and fight. Of course, there are a lot to collect and you gotta catch 'em all. The interesting part of the game though is how you actually track down these feisty critters. Using the included PSP camera, you scan your surroundings for traces of invizimals. Once found, you lay your trap and capture the rouge beasts. The game uses visual triggers to determine where Invizimals will appear; for example, to capture your first Invizimal, you will need to find a red surface. The visual clues are often quite basic like this, and the game will give you clues as to what you are looking for. Once an Invizimal is spotted you will need to lay your trap (a cardboard card included in the game) which will initiate a mini-game to capture your newest warrior.
Once fighting, you have quick attacks, power attacks, special attacks and a rather handy shield. As well as having a health bar, you have a stamina bar which constantly replenishes. Every action will deplete this somewhat, so using only powerful attacks or blocking too much will leave you completely defenceless. Winning fights will level up your brute and each type of Invizimal has a category. In true rock, paper, scissors fashion, every type of creature is strong or weak against other types.
During battle you need to face the PSP camera at the cardboard trap to view the action. The PSP adds your invizimals to the battlefield in 3D, letting you control the camera simply by moving the PSP itself. This is very cool, but like the rest of the game, slightly flawed. The trap card is so big that it takes up most of the screen during the battle; a smaller card would have allowed you to place it on items and have them feature as the foreground and background. Invizimal battle on top of a Red Bull can, anyone?
The biggest flaw though is having to have the trap card with you, and having to angle the PSP towards it can make playing uncomfortable. To me the PSP is something you play when reclining, or chilling in a bean bag. If you are sitting at a desk or table you're more likely to be playing a game on a computer or console. It also means the game is hard to play if you are on holiday or travelling.
The PSP camera itself though gives a very detailed image on screen and I would like to see a few more uses for it in the future. Also looking good is the game's presentation. The Invizimals themselves do look good, but effort has obviously been put into the game's interface and cut-scenes.
I would love to see a sequel to this game someday that expands on the exploring of your environment by being a bit more specific. Invizimals that live in shoes or bathtubs perhaps? Adding elements like this and also ironing out a few kinks could unleash the hidden potential this title holds. As it is, this is an entertaining game for the young ones, but an entertaining distraction for the rest of us.