Xbox Series X

Published on November 30th, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham

The Invincible Review

The Invincible Review Gareth Newnham

Summary: The Invincible is a beautiful, mesmerising and contemplative adventure that fans of retrofuturism and hard sci fi wont want to miss.



If, like me, you love retrofuturism, hard sci-fi and think space exploration in games and movies is at its best when it is presented as the harsh, lonely, and dangerous endeavor that it actually is, The Invincible may be the game for you.

Starward Industries space walking sim acts as a prequel of sorts to Stanislaw Lem’s 1964 novel, and rather than focusing on The Invincible, follows the exploits of the crew of the colossal ship it is tasked with rescuing on Regis III.


You play as Dr Yasna, waking from cryosleep on an alien world with no clue how you got there and no idea where the rest of the crew is. It’s up to you to reunite with your fellow astronauts, make contact with your (hopefully) orbiting craft, and get everyone off this barren rock in one piece.

The first thing that struck me about The Invincible was how absolutely beautiful it is; it’s a game of stark environments and incredible vistas; vast dusty red alien planes give way to deep starry skies filled with orbiting satellites and planets that dominate the skyline, making you feel like a tiny speck in the endless expanse of the universe laid out before you.

Thankfully, Yasna has a spacesuit packed with 60s-inspired retrofuture tech to help track them down, from a tracker that helps to locate important objects and team members with a simple row of pulsing LEDs to a scanner that shows the lay of the land as a simple wireframe on a single green and black display.

Meanwhile, the robots that help you on your quest are mechanical marvels of a lost future that feel equal parts Forbidden Planet and classic Dr Who (I’m talking Pertwee, not Tennant), a lank robot with pipes for arms and a head like a Smash alien stands sentinel over an abandoned research camp, while a clockwork droid, that presents its findings via a series of slides held on a cassette tape is found broken in a rocky outcrop by strange pylon like structures that run under the planet’s surface.

Placing the action right inside Yasna’s helmet, Metroid Prime style, also helps to give the action a sense of place and immediacy, as your helmet clouds up with condensation as she strains to climb up rocky outcrops a reminder that the very planet itself is hostile to even your being there.

Traipsing across this varied and strange land, Yasna is soon joined over the radio by her commander Novik, stationed in orbit overseeing the mission, who informs her that the rest of the research team on the planet has gone silent. Their discussions over the comms remind me a lot of Firewatch without the implied romance, while a series of flashbacks help to fill out the back story as well as strengthen and reinforce Yasna’s connections and close relationships with her missing crewmates.

The score, though minimalistic, is also superb as what feels like an almost alien humm seems to follow and punctuate your adventure perfectly.

Final Thoughts

The Invincible is a solid and imaginative adaptation of Lem’s novel that manages to convey similar fears and anxieties about humanity’s place in the stars and our blinkered view of what constitutes life without merely retelling or treading on the toes of the original work. Instead, it’s a modern and compelling companion to the classic work, which in my mind, is what a decent adaptation should do.

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