Space Invaders is arguably one of the most important pioneers in the earliest years of video games, coming out in 1978, six years after Pong. The simple shoot-em-up style and easy to digest gameplay established a tried and true formula that still holds up to this day.
The base shoot-em-up formula birthed many a legendary title over the years such as 1945, Commando, Sunset Riders, Contra, Asteroids, Galaga, R-Type, Cuphead- the list goes on and on. While Space Invaders by no means invented the shoot ’em up genre, it cemented it into the greater gaming consciousness at large. I remember first playing it on a tabletop arcade cabinet many moons ago.
The Space Invaders Invincible Collection for Nintendo Switch has all the different iterations of the classic title all in one handy dandy download. Odds are, you already know exactly what you’re getting.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection
Developer: Gotch Technology
Publisher: Inin Games, Strictly Limited Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PlayStation 4
Release Date: December 11th, 2020 (PlayStation 4), August 17th, 2021 (Nintendo Switch*)
Price: $59.99 USD
*Launched as Space Invaders Forever March 26th, 2020 in Japan, and December 11th, 2020 worldwide.
Space Invaders, Space Invaders Color, and Space Invaders 2 are basically the same game, except for a certain rainbow shower mechanic in Space Invaders 2. It’s all just ‘shoot the aliens, try not to get blown up yourself’.
The gameplay, music, and graphics are what one would expect from a game the 70s would be; beeps and boops generated from the circuit board designed by Taito, paired with grainy pixel action. Millions of quarters fell to their doom over the years, just so that you could have the high score at your local arcade room.
The games all start the same with a screen full of slowly descending enemies that zig-zag, while you control a ship at the bottom with shields that temporarily block the projectiles raining down on you.
The ships get faster and faster as you shoot them down, so timing is key to success along with patience and perseverance. There’s also UFOs that creep along the top of the screen for bonus points if you’re able to hit them with everything else going on. The simple yet satisfying gameplay is at the core of what makes a shoot ’em up game what it is, and has been, for decades now.
The next installment is Lunar Rescue, which is similar as well. The main difference is that you have to dodge alien ships and shoot at them while carrying survivors up to safety. A fairly simple formula.
Space Cyclone is the next installment which showcases updated graphics, and more hazardous environments. The aliens now twirl around while falling down, big ass UFOs shoot lasers at you, and what seems to be some sort of warship will hurl a big lightning bolt at your ship randomly. The core gameplay is the same as the first incarnation. Not much changed at all.
The gameplay is similar to previous versions, but with the added extra hazards to dodge like a ships that shoot homing bullets, and a UFO that shoots out a big lightning bolt. The only gripe I have is that the player can only have 2 bullets at a time onscreen, but you’ll just have to get gud to work around it.
The next addition is Majestic Twelve. It takes the gameplay in a different direction by adding power ups. These include rapid-fire, faster speeds, shields against bullets, and a spell that stops time briefly.
The level design is expanded upon with 12 different levels, as the name suggests. The story is still non-existent, but it’s not terrible to play through. There’s also some silly bonus levels that have you defending cows from being abducted by alien UFO ships, for what I imagine are experiments.
Super Space Invaders ’91, DX, and Extreme are updated version of the original game. The only main difference are the improved, more flashy graphics, and some varied bonus levels to test your skills with. They’re all the same game at its core, but each game so far are equally easy to pick up and lose an hour or two in trying to beat your tip score.
The last game in the collection is Space Invaders Gigamax. This big boi supports 4 player co-op play which can get pretty crazy. There’s a feature where all 4 players can combine and shoot one big beam that can almost instakill bosses if landed successfully.
There doesn’t seem to be any weapon upgrades in this version however. The biggest difference is mainly the size of the screen and amount of enemies on it.
In closing, is the game worth the $60 USD price tag when other versions of it are free on phones and various web browsers? That’s debatable.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection itself is indeed a convenient way to have all iterations of Space Invaders in one place, but $60 USD seems high. $30 USD would be more reasonable, so you’d be better off catching it on sale next year. Otherwise it’s not completely terrible. It’s just… Meh.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a review code provided by Inin Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.