Former Witcher, Cyberpunk devs are turning a 1964 sci-fi novel into an atompunk RPG, and you can play the demo now

 The Invincible
The Invincible

The Invincible, an ambitious project from former CD Projekt Red and Techland developers, has launched a demo you can check out right now.

Although it was first announced in 2020, it's understandable if The Invincible doesn't immediately register. It's an all-new game based on the 1964 Polish sci-fi novel of the same name, and it's the debut title from a semi-new studio, Starward Industries. We spoke with founder and CEO Marek Markuszewski, formerly a senior producer at CDPR, back when the studio and The Invincible were first revealed, and the project appeared at the 2021 Golden Joysticks and in a 2022 Edge story, but since then it's been relatively quiet.

Now The Invincible is back, and it has something tangible to prove the developers haven't been slacking since we last heard from them. Although it's only a bite-sized sample designed to sell the experience, what little time I spent playing the demo was enjoyable, thick with an ominous atmosphere and well-written dialogue teasing something horrific and exhilarating just over the horizon.

I won't spoil anything, but the alien environment you explore is diverse and at times, even awe-inspiring, and the story immediately captured my full attention, even if the overall experience is about as janky as you'd expect from a first demo. For what it's worth, the client made short work of my RTX 3060, and I had to play with the settings for a bit before it ran smoothly - just something to note if you're downloading it on an older rig.

The Invincible
The Invincible

If you've read the book, you're already familiar with the story and its weighty sociological and philosophical themes, but the game demo takes place just after the opening cinematic and informs you that you're an astrobiologist named Yasna who's found herself in full space gear on an alien planet without any memory of how she got there. Your first task is to find your crewmates, but things gradually go awry from there. There's definitely a slow-burning survival horror feel to the gameplay, clearly inspired by games like Firewatch and Alien: Isolation, so if you're a fan of those games, definitely check this one out.

You'll have until Thursday, May 11 to play The Invincible's free trial. After that you'll need to wait until either the next free trial becomes available or the full game launches sometime later this year.

In the meantime, here are some of the best sci-fi games to play this weekend.