Licensed games often vary greatly in quality, and there’s also the inevitable question of which audience developers are targeting. Is it made with just the property’s fans in mind, or is it accessible to mythos newcomers? Invincible Presents: Atom Eve caters to both sets of demographics, providing an exciting retelling of a few critical events within the Invincible series while welcoming those without prior knowledge of the comic or animated series. I was engrossed in the visual novel/RPG for its short six-hour duration despite not having much background information on the series it is based on.
Invincible Presents: Atom Eve puts players into the role of the titular superhero, Atom Eve, out flying when a strange green light catches her eye. However, before she can adequately investigate, an old foe named Killcannon blocks her path. The game’s tutorial battle begins as Eve flashes back to an even earlier fight with Killcannon, a battle that led to her joining a new team of superheroes called Teen Team, led by the literally named Robot. Atom Eve eventually triumphs, but the green light plagues her thoughts. Unknown to her, it marks the herald of some genuinely devastating things to come where Eve’s decisions might produce lasting impacts on the fate of the entire world.
As mentioned above, I don’t know much about Invincible, although the animated series is on my “To Watch” list. Imagine my surprise when I could jump into Invincible Presents: Atom Eve without much fanfare or intimidation from a lack of Invincible knowledge. The narrative does a good job of putting you in Atom Eve’s shoes while still providing her with a distinctly memorable personality. It leans just enough into story exploration to keep you in the know, even if you aren’t super familiar with the series. I never got confused or felt like I was missing vital mythos information, and I genuinely like Atom Eve as the main character.
Throughout the game, I learned that Atom Eve grew up with overbearing and strict parents who don’t try to understand her, becoming a solo hero well before joining Teen Team alongside her potential boyfriend, Rex Splode, and Dupli-Kate. She falls into the superhero line of work so well that she even takes it upon herself to help train newcomer Invincible, who happens to be one of her fellow high school students named Mark. As a teenager, she struggles with whether or not she should go to college or keep her superhero identity a secret from William and Amber, two regular classmates she’s getting to know alongside Mark. Things like battling cloned mercenaries stealing powerful tech are her stress release, at least until things start hitting too close to home. The game explores the life of a superhero — trying to balance everything and sometimes falling short — surprisingly well. You get a sense of what it’s like to live in Eve’s world, even if this is your first time stepping into it. The nods to story beats in the main series, such as Invincible’s confrontation with the legendary Omni-Man or the deaths of an entire team of far more accomplished heroes, are seen from Eve’s unique perspective here, providing a fresh angle for returning fans.
As stated previously, Invincible Presents: Atom Eve is a visual novel/RPG hybrid. You, as Eve, step into comic-book-inspired scenes and progress through character dialogue and narrative text until you decide what to do or how to respond to a presented scenario. If it’s a taut situation, such as defusing a bomb, your responses have a time limit to add to the intensity. There are numerous ways to respond to the game choices presented. I initially expected a linear adventure, given that much of the game’s based around already established plot points in other mediums. However, depending on your responses, you can still tailor many of the game events. At one point, I chose to befriend Amber, which is a refreshing option given that Amber is unknowingly involved in a developing love triangle alongside Eve. In another instance, I saved the life of a villain so that they had to face the consequences of their actions. I also broke up with Rex following a particular plot reveal but didn’t entirely burn bridges with him or the rest of the Teen Team, so they all came together with Atom Eve for the final battles. I opted to believe the alien who said she wanted to save her people, so naturally, I dealt with those inevitable consequences. I like how distinct Eve’s voice is in the game, while still providing players a sense of personal agency in her tale.
Combat plays out much like any traditional RPG, taking turns alongside the enemies to dole out damage. Eve has her health to consider and must monitor her energy levels. Every special move in battle uses up energy, so sometimes you need to step back and recharge. A good fight strategy is first to put a shield up since it also damages enemies upon breaking, then fully recharge before blasting enemies with the powerful Ray skill while repeating the process as needed. Fights can be close, especially if you’re like me, and lean more into the Empath portion of the skill tree since that deals more with conversational perks than added firepower. Still, fights are always manageable, even if they require a couple of tries to figure out a good strategy.
You gain experience from fights and clearing specific scenarios, earning skill points to spend on your abilities as you level up. In regards to skill trees, there are three to pick from. I mastered Empath first and then focused on Firebrand because of its unpredictability and combat boosts. Later on, you can opt to reset your skill trees, so experimenting with them is encouraged. A “world map” even allows you to decide what Eve should do next at a given point in the narrative, further adding to your available choices.
The game is presented through short “episodes” geared towards playing in small doses rather than in one big gaming binge. I like the setup, but found the game’s presentation bare-bones. There aren’t any media galleries to view CG illustrations, there’s no way to listen to the soundtrack outside of playing the game, and fans of the animated series might be disappointed to learn that the game isn’t voice-acted. Still, I love the colorful and comic-book-influenced visuals and the expressively detailed “panels” and character portraits. Visual cues to allude to the narrative are abundant, such as when fights progress, and blood splatters help to show when a character is severely injured. Some scenes can be disturbing and graphic, too, which is fitting for the mature plotline the game plays into. The soundtrack is excellent, with fitting instrumentation and some particularly excellent vocal tracks! The English language version of the script is error-free as well.
Invincible Presents: Atom Eve is a successful licensed game for a broad audience. It doesn’t do anything wrong regarding its gameplay or presentation, and it’s welcoming enough to Invincible newcomers while still providing returning fans with a new perspective. Invincible Presents: Atom Eve is bare-bones in terms of extras and is on the short side, but those looking for a solid superhero journey of self-discovery could do much worse. It’s made me eager to explore more of the Invincible universe!