I love Space Invaders. I always have and always will. I have so many fond memories of playing Space Invaders growing up so when I saw the opportunity to review Space Invaders Forever, I leapt at the chance.
Space Invaders Forever is a compilation of three different games and somewhat of a celebration of Space Invaders in general.
Space Invaders Extreme
Space Invaders Extreme was originally released back in 2008 for both the PSP and DS. The version here seems to be a reworked PSP version and I am really glad it is included on this collection.
Extreme takes the core gameplay of Space Invaders and goes wild with it. You control your ship, who now moves much faster, collecting powerups and chaining enemy kills to build up an impressive score multiplier. Extreme is the kind of game you can just pick up and play, no explanation of the mechanics is needed, however, for the bigger scores you’ll need to familiarise yourself with all the systems this game has.
Music is this game is something really special and a really good fit, it’s reactional to how you play and somewhat similar to games Rez & Lumines.
Each stage ends with an end of level boss and you can rack up a higher score depending on how quickly you eliminate them.
The collection may be worth picking up for just this game alone and really is a lot of fun. My partner saw me playing and asked if she could try the game and I did not get my Switch back for nearly an hour, it’s that addictive.
Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE
In contrast to Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE is quite the let-down. It’s pretty much classic Space Invaders for 4 players, which is great in theory, but we found in practice it’s is somewhat of a mess.
This is a reworked version of Japanese arcade exclusive and perhaps this explains why it doesn’t lend itself well to console gaming.
The gameplay is your traditional Space Invaders affair, except with an extended screen to incorporate 4 players. This could be fun, but sadly there’s no option to play online with friends or others. We played a fair amount here local Co-op with two people and both left our gaming session feeling underwhelmed. The game has a mechanic where two ships are supposed to dock next to each other to increase the firepower of both ships, however, no matter how hard we tried we could not lock down this mechanic and get it to work, which led to numerous frustrations against the game’s bosses and their massive health bars. For the record, the bosses where quite fun although incredibly difficult with two players and would probably be a lot more fun with four players.
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders if a game I am very familiar with, In fact, I’ve owned the game on Android for a couple of years and have always championed it when friends have asked me about good mobile games.
This is the game I was most excited about in this collection, finally, I would be able to play one of my all-time favourite mobile games on my TV and with a controller! And that is where the disappointment came in, after downloading the collection from the eShop I could not find this title in the game’s menu, there was only Extreme and Gigamax. It turns out that for some reason the Switch version is a separate download, so we had to wait to download that a later date.
Upon downloading the game and launching the game for capture we are greeted with this screen: –
Which should read ‘ARKANOID vs SPACE INVADERS Nintendo Switch edition can ONLY be played in vertical-mode with touch controls’. There’s no way to play this with a controller at all, you have to use your Switch in handheld mode. I completely understand why as you need to move your ship (The Vaus) quite fast and a touch screen is probably the best. It’s just a little annoying as the PS4 version allows you to use the DualShock 4 / DualSense touchpad to control the game.
In terms of the game itself, Arkanoid Vs Space Invaders is a lot of fun. This Mash-up has you piloting the Vaus which the player uses to deflect Space Invaders fire back at them while also breaking blocks in traditional Arkanoid style. Each stage will see you face off against a set amount of Space Invaders which you usually have a strict time limit to work against. As you play through the games many levels, you’ll unlock additional characters like Bob from Bobble Bubble which each come with their unique attacks. Arkanoid vs Space Invaders acts as somewhat of a celebration of Taito in many ways with cameos from other Taito properties including Darius, KiKI KaiKai, Lufia and many more.
I just really despise holding my Switch vertically to play this game, it feels cumbersome and half-baked. personally, I would recommend sticking the mobile if possible, although this Switch port is serviceable if you can get past its shortcomings.
As a package on Nintendo Switch, Space Invaders Forever is a little bit disappointing. Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE is pretty bad Having Arkanoid vs Space Invaders as a separate download feels as though they just didn’t have the game ready for launch on the Switch and was an afterthought, especially considering the PS4 version has the games bundled together along with an actual method of playing all three titles on your TV. Perhaps this is something that will be addressed later on in an update.
That said, I would highly recommend picking up this collection from Space Invaders Extreme alone. It really is the star of the show and it’s the one game that keeps me coming back for more and probably will for years to come. Ultimately, you end up with one great game and two lacklustre titles and it’s up to you if you are willing to pay full price for that.
Nintendo Switch review code kindly provided by publisher