Creatures made of pure energy are all around us, invisible to the naked eye. Luckily for us, a brilliant engineer at PSP R&D has figured out how to detect these creatures using Sony’s handheld and a PSP camera. Seeing these elemental creatures on your PSP screen is remarkable in Invizimals, a game that makes it appear as if these tiny animals are doing battle on the desk, table, or floor right in front of you. But the novelty wears off quickly, and technical issues and baffling design choices soon sap much of the magic from this groundbreaking but ultimately frustrating experience.
Invizimals opens with a live-action introduction in which Keni, the PSP engineer who discovered the invisible creatures, communicates with you from his lab in Tokyo and introduces you to the basics of scanning for and capturing them. The process is done using the PSP camera and a patterned capture card you must place in the camera’s view whenever you’re trapping, battling with, or otherwise interacting with invizimals. Keni conspiratorially impresses upon you the importance of keeping the powerful invizimals a secret, making you feel like part of an elite global club with only a few members. As you progress through the story, live-action sequences are frequently used. These scenes are well produced and fun to watch thanks to energetic performances by the actors, including the booming-voiced British thespian Brian Blessed, perfectly cast here as a mad professor who regularly introduces you to new special attacks and other concepts. The plot has you acquiring invizimals and battling with them in nearly every corner of the globe and winds up involving wealthy industrialists, kidnappings, and arms dealers, which is pretty serious stuff for a game about capturing and battling with invisible creatures. But there’s a slight hint of camp to the whole thing that keeps it from feeling like it’s taking itself too seriously.