Space Invaders: the classic arcade game where you shoot the iconic pixel aliens and work your way towards the high score. During the 42 years after its initial release, the series has seen plenty of variations and new games, and this collection has 3 of them to enjoy - Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, and the mashup Arkanoid X Space Invaders.
Space Invaders Extreme
The first game made its debut in 2008 on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, and got an updated port on Xbox 360 and PC in 2018. An extreme version of Space Invaders is just what it is, with flashing lights, techno music, particle effects flying all over the screen, and small bonus games thrown right into the action. It is enjoyable in short bursts, but my eyes got tired quickly from the overload. Great arcade action, with a bunch of replay value since you can get on branching paths with more difficult levels depending on how well you perform. You will learn how to get more points by triggering and learning the tricks of the bonus games, as well as completing rows, columns, same shapes, and same colour aliens. All the flashing images and particles flying around makes it difficult to see incoming shots though, so it sometimes feels a bit unfair. The game is addictive and you'll soon want to come back for more!
Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE
This was a Japan only arcade game, where up to four players simultaneously can take on the classic Space Invaders game. The difference comes in the screen being four times as wide too, and eventually the aliens get sucked up into a UFO and things get weird. The aliens fly around the screen seemingly at random, and they increase in size with every hit until they're hit for the third time and explode. A while later, the remaining ones get sucked up again, and you'll fight a boss. The boss has a 99 second time limit, and you will have to link up with your friends to take him down - linking two players and shooting at the same time does 10x the damage, and four players does ??x the damage (according to the game). Fail to defeat the boss in the allotted time - game over... unless you insert a virtual quarter and just continue right where you left off with 99 new seconds on the timer.
This feels completely impossible on your own without inserting more virtual coins, but probably could provide a few minutes of fun if you play with friends. For me, the feeling of a challenge isn't there since you can just insert a virtual coin to continue.
Arkanoid x Space Invaders
Here we have the highlight of this collection, a port of a mobile game that combines the other classic arcade game Arkanoid with Space Invaders. This is a game that only works in handheld mode and is played in portrait mode - you control the paddle at the bottom of the screen with your finger which feels great, especially compared to the fixed slow speed of the other games' controls. The objective is to complete stage after stage with different objectives, destroying aliens, UFOs, bricks, and bosses, all within a time limit. At first it's fairly easy, but eventually the timers will give you quite the challenge! Instead of bouncing a ball that you can't drop, you are reflecting the enemy fire, so it's only the timer that works against you this time around.
You earn coins when beating stages, and with these you can buy power-ups or unlock new characters, each one with a unique bonus. Being a mobile game originally, you'd expect this to be unbalanced and unfair, to make you pay microtransactions to speed things up - but that's where you'd be wrong. The original game is completely free from microtransactions, and of course this port is too. The game also comes with a list of achievements that rewards you with more coins, or unlocks characters as well. With 150 stages to tackle you'll have hours of fun, and you can always replay the stages you like the most over and over again to grind for more coins, achievements or just a high score.
This collection is a mixed bag, with three very different games. The four player Gigamax would be the one closest to the original, Extreme brings a more modern arcade feeling to the table, and Arkanoid x Space Invaders give you a perfect pick-up-and-play game. An odd thing is that you'll get two icons on your Switch, where Arkanoid x Space Invaders has its own icon - probably because it can't be played in docked mode. This makes me wish that Arkanoid x Space Invaders would actually be available alone, since it truly is the highlight of this package. If you're a fan, pick this up! If you're a newcomer to the series but interested in this kind of arcade action, check it out!
If I were to score the individual games:
- Space Invaders Extreme: 6/10
- Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE: 3/10
- Arkanoid x Space Invaders: 9/10