Bungie lead sandbox engineer Ryan Juckett is bringing his perplexing minimalist shooter Inversus to PS4 and Steam later this year.
Here’s how it works: The black player can only move on white spaces, and the white player can only move on black spaces. But shoot down a row or column and it will change colour to be a surface you can walk on. It’s a bit like Splatoon in reverse that way. Only where Splatoon lets you move anywhere and you only traverse quicker in your own ink, Inversus’ binary environment of black and white squares severely limits your mobility and forces your to strategically go about hunting your opponent.
On top of all that, its stages can often represent a house of mirrors where the edges of the screen show snippets of playing field reproduced. Imagine the game was being shown on several monitors at once in a grid, then you zoomed out enough to see one full monitor and only the corners and sides of others. Now imagine there’s no visible border. And shots screen-wrap from one side of the arena to the other. It’s bewildering, but entertainingly so.
Inversus will support both competitive multiplayer for up to four players as well as a score-chasing single-player arcade mode.
Having played some of Inversus at PAX Prime, I can say that it’s a rousing good time. The screen-wrapping gets confusing right quick, but managing the terrain to assault your opponent(s) is never less than involving.
There’s some other really smart design decisions as well. Your square avatar hosts a revolver chamber-like symbol dictating your ammo count (which replenishes over time) while a charge shot will alter the polarity of three columns or rows rather than just one.
You can get good idea of how it works from Inversus’ debut trailer above. For more details, Juckett explains his approach to level layouts on the PlayStation Blog.