Money makes the world go round. However, when transactions demand an exchange of hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars, sometimes tensions can run high. The Invisible Hand by Power Struggle Games shows you just how high these tensions can run as you treat cash like trash in your new high-paying office job.
You’re a stock broker starting fresh at Ferios Capital after a market incident left you unemployed. Thanks to your know-how and a helpful recommendation, you easily get the entry-level position after a brief questionnaire. When you hit the office floor, each day it seems you’re learning something new. You’ll learn impactful market moves such as short selling, or a more nuanced skill such as discerning credible news sources, the way the game unfolds feels natural and compelling. So natural that you may find yourself surprised when the challenge ramps up.
It only takes one small mistake to lead to catastrophic failure in The Invisible Hand. Your losses hit hard and when following the blunt advice given to you, makes it easy to see where you went wrong upon reflection. This does little to alleviate the in-the-moment tension, though. By the time you learn which of your target stocks are affected by the price of certain raw materials which are tied to foreign currencies and other companies, you may find yourself rethinking your decision. When that thought occurs, if you aren’t playing on story mode, it might already be too late.
With big success brings big money. All of your business at Ferios can be seen by your coworkers, so success also brings social expectations, which is emphasized since climbing the corporate ladder means being cutthroat to get your positions. Your wealth will slowly grow into an empire as you buy and lease properties, fast cars and other luxury items to store your wealth and impress others during parties. Just make sure to keep your work desk clean.
Your money comes in two kinds of wealth. Personal wealth allows you to maintain your properties and luxuries. You’ll also be expected to entertain if you have an abundance of it. Throwing parties will keep office life easy for you, as water cooler drama and even more severe occurrences await your future at Ferios. The other kind is the corporate wealth, which adds up to XP gained at the end of each day. You’re constantly in competition with another coworker and if you underperform during your evaluation, it’s game over. The best way to keep a good balance of both and always be in the green is to go for the challenges the game throws at you, though they can get a bit tough if you aren’t prepared for the risk they pose.
It’s all about balancing the budget in The Invisible Hand. The wealth of Ferios is controlled by primarily mouse clicks on 4 office computer screens, with limited first-person movement. You can manipulate the market at your own pace by quickening or slowing the pace of time using coffee or tea respectively. These beverages can give you some breathing room for long-term decisions or help end the day quicker, but it requires precious time away from your desk.
This means you need to plan your breaks accordingly. While you’re able to watch a few stocks from away from your terminal, you’ll grow to avoid the risk of being away from your computer at the perfect moment to strike it rich. Since you’re only able to control your terminals with your mouse, watching the market all day may seem preferable. With this control scheme, balancing the books in a highly volatile time can get messy later on in the game, as you’ll wish you could utilize your keyboard to perform multiple tasks with a few button combinations. It becomes very frustrating, as sometimes you just can’t keep up by using only a mouse.
Most of the game is spent at your analyst terminal. Visuals are a minimalist affair and the characters in the world have modest details to separate them from one another while you remain a faceless protagonist. Their personality comes out when they drop their professional demeanor, whether it’s confronting you or in emotional outbursts after being terminated. This lets you know what they’re all about and are usually laced with expletives and threats. The aesthetic comes together with the snappy musical tracks that come and go under the sound of office chatter.
The Invisible Hand is a tension and drama-filled ride. You hit the ground running and the tension goes nowhere but up within the first hour of play. Within the next few hours, you’ll be moving markets, pushing prices and buying dips like it was natural. While the regular mode can spiral out of control, those who live for the office drama can experience it all without missing the highlights with the story mode.
The Invisible Hand is a unique experience that has a surprising amount of hooks to snag your interest. The fast-moving stock trader sim side of things can be addictive to play and the storyline is filled with dramatic twists and turns. Once this game has you, it will take you to the moon. While there are a few nitpicks in the controls and the visuals can be a bit dull, this game is perfect for those looking for an out-of-the-box experience with a hardcore twist.
A code was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.
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The Invisible Hand has fast-paced, exciting gameplay and a storyline filled with office power politics. While not perfect, it's a fun and immersive experience that can be enjoyed by anyone.
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