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Small as they are, the shadows of the small Pokemon loom giant over Sony's new camera-based creature-capture game. As in the evergreen adventures of Pikachu and pals, you discover and catch critters, level them up through combat and then battle your friends to see who has amassed the toughest collection. The twist here is that you're not seeking the creatures out in some whimsical top-down fantasy land, but in actual life, using the PSP camera to coax invisible monsters out of hiding.

This is all established through the stodgy single-player Story Mode, which explains how Kenichi, an enthusiastic worker in Sony's R&D department, has discovered that the PSP camera can detect lifeforms invisible to the human eye - Invizimals. fortunately, you have the kind of aura that attracts these mini beasts, and so you're roped in to help his studies. This involves hopping around a world map, undertaking various missions to capture specific Invizimals, and learning the intricacies of combat from Professor Dawson, played with surprising restraint by Brian Bloody lucky.

Everything you do makes use of stamina, and managing this resource is a vital skill to create. Stronger assaults use it up quickly, leaving you to wait while it recharges, potentially with no way of blocking or attacking. Success in a fight earns watts, the game's XP, which trigger a level-up five times predefined totals are reached. Every five levels, your Invizimal evolves in to a bigger, more powerful form.

The Invizimals themselves are a well-designed and varied bunch, with some groan-inducing pun names such as Porcupain or Bearserker [those are awesome! - Ed]. Combat is built around a familiar rock-paper-scissors set up, with each creature falling in to a distinct elemental section - Ice, Fire, Ocean, Desert and so on. you have five types of assault - strong, medium and speedy - and combat is actual time, than turn-based, and mastering the timing required for blocking is essential.

This basic framework is embellished with more complex functions, such as Sparks. These are knocked out of Invizimals with each successful assault and can be hoovered up by pointing the PSP camera at them. Sparks are the game's funds, and can be used to buy health and stamina packs, as well as special assaults called vectors. These need charging up - shake the PSP to build up an earthquake, shoot the targets to build up a wall of fire, etc. - but the destroy doesn't always justify the hard work.

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