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Space Invaders Invincible (Nintendo Switch)

Space Invaders Invincible (Nintendo Switch)

Written by Ross Locksley on 15 Oct 2021

Distributor ININ Games • Price £54.99

Let's kick this off with some common sense - this is a collection aimed squarely at fans of Space Invaders. It'll probably do nothing for you if you're not already into the genre, but given how accessible Nishikado's 1978 classic is, that's not going to exclude many.

This of course is not the first Space Invaders compilation - hell, it's not even the first on the Switch - so what's on offer this time and why should you care if you already own Space Invaders Forever?

Well, rather than a modern-remix with funky beats and flashing lights, this is a proper collection of vintage Invaders, starting with that '78 original. This is a faithful port, the classic gameplay fully intact and as intuitive as ever, though likely only of interest to those of us old enough to remember it - I was born in '78 but have early memories of playing the game in a pub at one of those table-style cabinets that guzzled your pennies. This is supplemented by the colour version of the same game, and Space Invaders II, which isn't all that different from its predecessor, so you'll likely pick one of the three and ignore the other two. I wouldn't blame you.

The game steps up a notch with Majestic Twelve: Space Invaders Part IV, which came out during the 16-bit era and subsequently gains not only extra graphical fidelity, but also a slew of new upgrades and game mechanics to revive interest - boss fights, distinct level backgrounds, branching paths and enemies with their own unique attack patterns, this feels like a meaty update to the core game, and is still terrific fun. 

Another leap brings us to Space Invaders Extreme, the "techno rave" of the franchise that I remember fondly from the Nintendo DS - a 30th anniversary game that pounded your speakers with responsive music, a fever mode and constant flashing graphics that are dangerously hypnotic, it's like entering an alternative dimension. And loving it.

Once you've recovered from that assault on the senses, the game gives you 4x everything with Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, with 4 defenders taking on 4x as many alien invaders on a screen 4x larger than normal, all of which rocks along to a wonderful soundtrack provided by Taito in-house band Zuntata. Lovely stuff.

As the Western release gets all the content that was only found in the special edition in Japan, that leaves three more games to play - Space Invaders DX (1994), Space Cyclone (1980) and Lunar Rescue (1979). The latter releases in that trio are spin-offs and not new iterations of the classic game, and are amusing distractions, with Lunar Lander requiring you to drop from your mothership, avoid asteroids and rescue astronauts. Space Cyclone sees you fight off invaders hiding behind meteors that build a mecha to attack you if they break your defences.

Space Invaders DX has two unique features - split-screen 2 player, and the ability to change up characters in the game to those from other Taito franchises, which is a playful addition that adds bags of character to a game that is, underneath the visuals, still great fun.

There aren't many downsides here, but the price may give a few pause - £54.99 is more than most AAA titles on Switch, and considering these are ports, it's a little hard to justify £5.50 per game, especially with the first 3 being so similar and two being no more than curios at best. What the game does have is bags of replayability, so from that point of view, it should be a game that lasts, and one that gives you plenty of flavours to choose from should you desire change. Whether that argument moves your wallet is down to you.

Very pricey, but for fans, about as definitive a collection as one could ever hope for, with Extreme being the pinnacle of the form.

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.


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