If you’ve nothing but fond memories of Hello There Games’ Avicii: Invector—a homage-centric, node-blasting rhythm game that released as a love letter to the memory of Tim Bergling—then you’re probably going to enjoy Invector: Rhythm Galaxy. Why? Well, as it turns out, it’s pretty much the exact same thing, and it sports all of the same features and toe-tapping mechanics as its predecessor, only with fewer animated clips about candy bars (we need to talk about that, HLG), and more chart-topping anthems that you’d often find on any modern radio station like…ever.
At its core, Rhythm Galaxy is still the same game that was previously embellished back in Avicii: Invector — right down to the questionable plot and sci-fi elements, oddly enough. In other words, it’s a 2.0 of the same product, only with an additional collection of backdrops, beats, and other psychedelic sci-if aesthetics, to boot. If that does it for you, then honestly, you needn’t delve any deeper than here, as the series already more or less speaks for itself. With that said, if you are still on the fence about it, then allow us to introduce it in a much, much cleaner light.
Same Old, Same Old
I’ll just come out and say it: if you’re something of a die-hard metalhead with an uncontrollable hatred for anything without a breakdown, then you’re probably going to struggle to gel with the tracks in Rhythm Galaxy’s library. For the record, it does cater to a wider audience on the rarest of occasions, with featured artists that range from Disturbed to Linkin Park, Duran Duran to Paramore, but for the most part, it’s mere chart fodder for a younger generation. And when I say chart fodder, I’m mostly referring to artists like KSI, Charlie Puth, and Gucci Mane — all of whom have snug spots in the catalog, respectively.
It is worth pointing out here that, while the game does make an effort to mesh with numerous communities and sport an anthem of two from each of their respective genres, a good 80% of said anthems are, unsurprisingly, predominantly chart-topping favorites of the last several years. In other words, don’t expect to be able to take a trip down memory lane with this one — unless, of course, you were born in 2010 or later. Moreover, if you can’t help but cringe at the absolute garbage that plays out on the radio most days, then you might want to invest in some earplugs, or, failing that, a vocal coach to help you drown out the mumble rap and other diabolical sounds that bleed through the radio waves. If that doesn’t go to plan, then hey — I hear Singstar Rocks is still available in most, if not all bargain buckets.
Just Beat It
As far as gameplay goes, Rhythm Galaxy essentially builds on the same blueprint as its previous iteration: there’s a spaceship that you can pilot across a series of fixed tracks, and a variation of nodes to activate, either by tapping the appropriate button at the correct time, or by swiping across to ascend to another layer on the four-sided grid. Also like its predecessor, there are several free-flight paths to move through in each of the available tracks—short sections in which you must navigate through a series of hoops for additional points and perks, such as a temporary speed boost, for example.
What’s different in Rhythm Galaxy, weirdly enough, is its choice of timing with the beats; rather than hitting the matching button on the node itself, you instead have to press it before crossing over to log the points. Granted, it’s a little unorthodox, and a slight step in a different direction from its original blueprint, but one that’s also traversable, all the same. To that extent, it isn’t a difficult game, nor is it one that takes countless hours of grinding to come to grips with and ultimately master.
Gameplay aside, there is, weirdly enough, a plot line to unravel here, too. Admittedly, it doesn’t exactly tug on your heartstrings (refer back to previous comments about Avicii: Invector being about a chocolate bar), but it does, on the other hand, add a bit of filler to an otherwise wall-to-wall journey. With that said, I for one couldn’t care less about any of what it was trying to convey, as it was, more or less, a series of clippings depicting angsty teens attempting to travel from planet to planet. And yes, I did have to fight the urge to skip most of those cutscenes on multiple occasions.
A Romp Through the Galaxy
All in all, there are just enough tracks (just shy of 40, if I remember correctly) to sift through, which equates to about three hours of music, give or take. And so, if you’re after something that’ll go on for days, weeks, and perhaps even months (DLC, anyone?), then you might want to shuffle the deck and reconsider your choices. If, however, you’re one for setting scores and going for gold, then you’ll no doubt get a kick out of rinsing the same tracks several times over. Personally, I couldn’t make it through a second inning of PinkPantheress’ “Boy’s a Liar”; I’d rather have drilled a nail into my eardrum and changed my name to Frankenstein’s Creature by deed poll.
For those with a soft ear for this sort of music, there are multiple difficulty levels to work through: Beginner, Easy, Casual, and Normal—four different classes that each come with their own obstacles, beats, and rhythmic patterns to shovel through. Granted, it isn’t overly difficult to learn, even if, say, you are playing on a tougher mode, as it’s more or less the same thing as not only Avicii: Invector, but just about every other rhythm game on the market, for that matter.
What makes it all the more accessible is its beginner-friendly modes—slow-moving tutorials that not only walk you through the basics, but also provide you with an insight into how the scoring system works, too. It’s all bread-and-butter, simple fun — and not, for example, Guitar Hero 3’s “Through the Fire and Flames.” With that being said, I did find that the spike in difficulty between Casual and Normal was a little OTT, especially with some of the tracks that opted for fewer prompts than others.
It goes without saying at this point, but if you are a bit of a die-hard fan of rhythm games—Melody of Memory, Avicii: Invector, and Hi-Fi Rush, to list just a few—then you’ll definitely find Rhythm Galaxy to your liking. It isn’t the longest game in the world, but then, most games of a similar style never usually are — so you get what you’re given, basically. However, with its inclusion of a four-player local co-op mode, it does manage to boost the overall depth of the journey—a fact that I was often willing to entertain, if only to break up the story and take respite in another timeline.
I will say this: Galaxy Rhythm doesn’t expand on the core mechanics all that much, nor does it make much of an effort to tear away from the original space-centric setting, either. It’s glorified DLC, if anything, so while it certainly does provide more than enough content to shovel through, there’s nothing to say that it couldn’t have been released as an expansion for the debut chapter. What’s more, I also can’t shake the thought of it being a mere cash grab over anything else; Avicii: Invector was a fantastic tribute to one of EDM’s most beloved pioneers, but a sequel just wasn’t entirely necessary.
When all’s said and done, there aren’t all that many rhythm games out there that are as visually appealing as Rhythm Galaxy. However, while it is aesthetically pleasing in its own right, the fact still remains: it isn’t a new game, nor is it a massive knock in a new direction for the genre, either. With all of that said, it’s sure to please its target demographic — particularly those with a high tolerance for chart music and anything that adopts a generic beat.
Invector: Rhythm Galaxy Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch & PC)
Invector: Rhythm Galaxy doesn’t build on its original blueprint all that much, but where it lacks in alterations, it most definitely makes up for in genuinely addictive gameplay.