When I bought myself a Switch to use for game reviews a couple weeks ago, I did not expect Space Invaders to be my first one, but here we are.
Alright, now I don’t normally discuss price in my reviews, but WOW, they might be reaching a bit with this one. Not that Space Invaders is bad or anything, but you gotta be some sort of mega fan to justify $60. It is definitely aimed at the hardcore fans, and I would point to the almost $200 collector’s edition as evidence. Anyways, I’m here to talk about the game, so let’s move on to the review.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection is a bundle of 11 different Space Invaders games from a variety of different origins. Most are arcade releases, but there are a few extras thrown in there. Each game can be played by itself or through “challenge mode”, which basically slaps some limiting rule onto the experience and is scored separately on the leaderboards. That said, I feel like the best format for this review will be to go through the games individually – so let’s do that.
Starting with the classic: Space Invaders – nothing else attached to that title. I’m sure every gamer has tried this one at least once at some point – whether that be in an arcade or through some sort of port. And yeah, it plays pretty much like I remember it. You control your little ship by moving left and right and take shots at the aliens that become increasingly fast as their buddies die. The goal of course is to eliminate them all and get the highest score possible, with each wave starting lower on the screen than the previous.
There’s honestly not much to say here – it’s a simple concept, but it is the one that kickstarted this genre. I can’t say it aged too well to hold my interest for more than maybe 30 minutes, but if you’re going to make a Space Invaders collection, you gotta have it – so it’s just kinda a given.
Next up is Space Invaders Color, which, as the name implies, is literally the exact same thing as the last one, but in color. The only other change here seems to be the increase in digits in the score from four to five. A bit cheating to say the collection includes 11 when this one is simply a variation of another, but hey, maybe it matters to the hardcore fans.
Then there’s Space Invaders Part II – an improved version of the original featuring a new alien type and an increased score limit. I say improved, but those are pretty much the only worthwhile changes – it’s hardly a sequel at all and even reviews from back when it was released point this out. Just as with the original, I can’t say it has aged too well, but it is at least a slightly better version.
Lunar Rescue, the next game, is where things really change. As in, it’s no longer a Space Invaders game, but rather a sort of spin-off that features some gameplay elements from Space Invaders. This one has you landing your little spacecraft, picking up an astronaut, and bringing it back to the ship. A simple concept, but it’s a bit more involved than the previous games and a nice change of pace.
Next up is Space Cyclone – an incredibly rare game in the real world that is seeing its first console release here. It is also far more difficult than the games I just went over – like, I literally struggled to get through just one stage. You gotta constantly blast these aliens flying all over and prevent them from building a mech that is even more difficult to destroy and has attacks that land almost instantly. The step up in challenge here is nice, but I’d be lying if I said I could stick with it longer than any of the previous games.
Then there’s Majestic Twelve and this is where it really gets good. Majestic Twelve plays like a proper shoot ‘em up, with a bunch of different stages, enemy types, power-ups, and boss fights. The enemies have far more varied and complex movement patterns, the boss fights are actually challenging, and overall – it ended up being my favorite game in the pack. It was fun to constantly get these cool power-ups, mow down the waves of invaders, and try out the different stages. A definite improvement over the others.
Following that one up is Super Space Invaders ’91 and this is yet another case where the “11 included games” is stretching it a bit. That’s because this one is practically identical to the last – Majestic Twelve. The only real difference here is that you don’t get to select the stage you move on to, instead playing through them in order. I mean, the game is good, but you kinda already have it with Majestic Twelve so I don’t really see the point other than historic value maybe?
Next is Space Invaders DX, which is yet another take on the original and yet another addition that doesn’t hold much value. Sure, it does include three different game modes – original, versus, and parody – but it’s pretty much the same game and again, reviews from when it released point this out. The parody mode is just a skin over the original, so really the versus mode is the only worthwhile addition, but that’s only if you have another player to play it with.
Alright, moving on to Space Invaders Extreme. Now this one is how you do an update to the classic. Improved graphics, way more varied gameplay, a bunch of different stages, and an absolute bop of a soundtrack that has sound effects IN RHYTHM with the gameplay. I still like Majestic Twelve more, but this was a very close second and probably the one most players are going to see as the highlight.
The collection rounds off with Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE. This one plays much like the original, but with an emphasis on 4-player co-op. And when I say emphasis, I basically mean requirement – as this was clearly not designed for singleplayer and my experience with it was not as fun as a result. It’s probably a good time if you have four players, but otherwise, an easy pass.
Now you may be wondering – cub, that was only 10 games! And yes, you are right. That’s because the 11th game is Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders and it is not included with the base package by default, but rather as a separate download. I was unable to locate this sperate download and it may be because I was provided a press copy of the base game and it just didn’t unlock from the eShop because I didn’t technically buy the game? I honestly don’t know, so I’ll be unable to give my opinion on that one.
All of that said though, I’ll be giving the Space Invaders Invincible Collection a mixed recommendation. On one hand, it’s Space Invaders – an absolute arcade classic and a bunch of neat takes on that gameplay. On the other hand though, it is a very expensive collection and some of the included games are mere reskins, so it really comes down to how much of a Space Invaders or retro game fan you are. Even then though, I would recommend at least waiting for some sort of sale.
Quote: The Space Invaders Invincible Collection provides the classic Space Invaders gameplay in a nicely-wrapped package, but not all of the included games are worthwhile and the price tag is a bit steep.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection retails for $60 USD on the Nintendo eShop.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.