I’m gon’ send him to outer space
Since the dawn of time, and video games, humans have been fascinated by little green men, probes and UFOs. The release of Space Invaders Forever on Nintendo Switch marks another return to action for the 1978 genre-defining shooter. Space Invaders Forever features three games for the price of entry – Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE and, the ultimate crossover, Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders.
Over the years we have been, for the most part, gifted with a multitude of decent iterations and incarnations of the classic arcade title. While core mechanics remain, most revamp modes or tweak gameplay tactics used to shoot the living hell out of anything that moves before you see the inevitable GAME OVER! screen. One of the biggest draws of the series is the need to beat your high score, a beautifully simple hook that has kept the world playing video games to this day and the reason it still ranks high in so many must play lists.
So what exactly do we get for our money?
Space Invaders Extreme was originally released to commemorate the series’ 30th anniversary. Providing a fresh, fun and challenging shooter set over 16 stages of non-stop action with massive BOSS BATTLES! Taking control of the trusty canon moving left and right while taking out falling invaders with powerful blasts. The game featured revamped graphics and a pumping soundtrack that turned gameplay into a rhythmic affair akin to Lumines. The addition of power-ups and bonus rounds really elevated the experience and comfortably makes this the best entry in the Forever collection.
Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, sounding like the latest evolution in the Pokemon franchise, allowed TAITO to add another notch on the series belt. While Gigamax SE sounds impressive gameplay and the visual firmly sit in 1978 adding couch co-op, for up to 4 people, while socially distanced. Clear each stage in the quickest time possible, rinse and repeat. This is probably the most limited and weakest part of the collection, yet surprisingly the most authentic.
And last but not least, Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders. It doesn’t take much to understand the concept here. Calling back to its mobile beginnings, this iteration is played in tate mode with touchscreen controls, a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch. The result is an inspired mix of block-breaking and swarming waves of invaders to destroy across 150 quick-fire stages. Featuring power-ups and unlockable characters, with unique abilities, Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders is a nice palate cleanser to include in a collection that brings together two of TAITO’s all-time greats.
It’s worth noting that the review copy provided of Space Invaders Forever actually came as two separate titles, and it can be assumed the full release will also. While this is not an issue, especially if you like collecting game tiles on your Switch, it did seem a little out of place. It can’t have been done with the user in mind in order to save storage space as the collection will only set you back around 1GB of space.
Space Invaders is, without question, one of the most influential video games of all time and one that most gamers should have played in some form. Gameplay is simple, accessible and fun with a hook that will keep you playing for hours providing a decent difficulty curve. While this collection is a little light on the ground, it would have been great to see some more titles included, it is still good value for money and a well-polished experience.
Review code provided
Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 11/12/2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Arcade, Party
Publisher: ININ Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop