It was 40 years ago in 1978 that Space Invaders was released in arcades by Taito. It made its home console debut in 1980 on the Atari 2600 during the first Golden Age of video games. The game has been ported and remade several times throughout the past four decades and now, once again, this timeless classic comes to our homes via Taito and Square Enix!
Title: Space Invaders Extreme
Platform: Steam (Reviewed), PSP, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360
Developer: Taito, Backbone Entertainment
Publisher: Taito, Square Enix
Release Date: February 12, 2018 (Steam)
Older gamers like me are very familiar with Space Invaders, but not all people grew up in the same time period as I have. For those who don’t know, Space Invaders is a very simple game where you control a spaceship on the bottom of your screen with your only options being the ability to move left or right and to fire upwards. There are rows and columns of aliens that slowly descend towards the bottom of the screen and your job is to destroy them before they can reach the bottom.
Of course, they’re not going to make your job easy and in Space Invaders Extreme, that challenge is even more apparent. Enemies will fire back either simple projectiles, small orbs which split into multiple projectiles, lasers, etc. Of course, to help you out, you can collect power-ups throughout the levels to obliterate enemies for a short period of time. There are four main power-ups in the form of a bomb shot, a wide shot, a laser and a shield to protect your ship. Killing the UFOs can land you in a roulette stage where you can get a different power-up called Second Player which will have a second ship shadow your every movement for a short period of time.
The Arcade Mode has you go through a series of five stages. After you complete a set number of waves per stage, you take on that stage’s boss. Depending on how well you do, you can take either the A Route or the B Route through those five stages. Getting to the end and completing them will unlock Hard Mode in which you can play stages 1-5 on the E Route. Beating a stage also unlocks it in the Free Play mode where you can select any stage you have beaten and play it at your leisure. If that isn’t enough, then you have some achievements that you can aim for to help challenge yourself.
Outside of those two modes, there really isn’t much more to this game and, honestly, there really doesn’t need to be. Space Invaders has been a very simple game for 40 years and even this new twist on it keeps the classic action intact and provides you with enough challenge and replay value to keep coming back.
There were some nice touches added to this game such as the background music. The new techno tracks are pretty catchy, but what makes the music stand out is that you, the player, also help create the music. Whenever you fire a shot, hit an enemy, have a shot bounce off a shield or break through a barrier, they produce different notes that add to the song you are listening to. Outside of extra effects, it doesn’t really do anything. It’s just a nice quirky addition to add to the fun factor of the game.
The only downfall would be the major distraction the background provides. They have a video playing that makes you feel as if you’re at a Japanese rave party. While the background is pretty to look at, it is severely distracting as you’re trying to pay attention to on-screen projectiles and I found myself dying on multiple occasions because I didn’t see a bullet because of the background. Thankfully, there is an option to turn the background movies off and once you do, the game becomes infinitely more enjoyable. I’m very happy that Taito realized that the background movies could serve as a detraction and added that option in there.
Space Invaders Extreme has been around for a while on older consoles such as the Nintendo DS, PSP and even the Xbox 360. It originally came out in February of 2008, but now… ten years later, it is available on Steam for a pretty modest price. While I wish there was a bit more content for the $19.99 price tag, it’s was still a very fun experience that I can see anyone enjoying. It’s very hard to screw up a game like Space Invaders. Space Invaders Extreme does the series justice and provides a game that you’ll find yourself coming back to whenever you have some free time to kill and don’t have a huge bank of time to spend.
Review Disclosure Statement: A copy of Space Invaders Extreme was provided to us by Taito and Square Enix for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Space Invaders Extreme
Space Invaders Extreme takes you back to a simpler time in video games and keeps it fresh by adding a slight twist to the timeless classic. The only downside here would be the lack of content and the annoyance of the background video, but thankfully one quick flip of an option solves the latter of the two issues. Still a fun game to pick up and kill time with as anyone can pick up and play it with ease!