The Invisible Hours announces itself early as not being a game, but not a movie. It's a cleverly structured piece of theatre where the truth is a matter of perspective. The game truly lives and dies by this motto not only through it's story.
The game doesn't have a directly playable character or main character as such. Alot of the story however centres around Swedish detective Gustav Gustaf, called to the island home of inventor Nicola Tesla. The ante is quickly upped when the body of the mysterious host is found in a pool of blood in the homes foyer. The other guests seemingly know nothing but there is always more to the case.
This game is a murder mystery taking direction more from classic Agatha Christie novels and the older detective movies from the 1940's, such as Charlie Chan or Mister Moto styling. The clues are very good at pointing you in the wrong direction, to the point that when you do reach the conclusion there is a bit of a surprise in store mixed with a hint of cliché.
But a good mystery like this is only as strong as it’s cast. In this case each character is fairly well written and presented. Voice acting is suitably hammy and overacted like you’d see in a theatre play, possibly intentionally so. Only having seven characters is a blessing and doesn’t create any overly watered down back stories. Each motive for murder makes sense and watching each individual see the story you’re watching from different perspectives is a piece of clever writing. It keeps true to the games motto. However, because the story doesn’t require each character to be doing something at all times, they just stand still for sometimes five minutes. And in a two hour story it feels like an eternity.
Graphics however can’t match the story and voice work. The characters look like emotionless wax figurines most the time. Minus the main detective who has had a little more effort put in. The environment is passable but not by modern standards.
As far as gameplay is concerned there isn't much to speak of. You can interact with certain objects, strictly as a type of collectible. You also interact with the timeline by pausing, rewinding and fast forwarding through the story. The menu has an easier to navigate timeline marked with important events specific to a highlighted character, making it easier to fill in the gaps that you may have missed.
Completion will take about 5-6 hours to get all the achievements, most of which require you to follow each character to their own stories completion. There are collectibles but they are easy to find. Not a hard list but not the easiest 1000 points. There is a secret ending to find as well which is tricky without a guide, but it's worth the find.
Overall, The Invisible Hours is a nice relaxing style of mystery with some nice twists and turns to keep you guessing till the end. The concept of concurrent story lines that you can follow at your leisure is a nice change. It’s not for everybody but I can recommend this as an alternative to traditional games on the current market. Just don’t book a weekend around this.