Space Invaders Forever review

Space Invaders Forever is available on the Nintendo Switch. Space Invaders is one of the most important games ever to have released, and it’s back once again with this bundle available now for you to sit back and relax on the couch with Nintendo’s latest console.

This is a trio of games from the ever-expansive Space Invaders collection which includes Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE and Arkanoid vs Space Invaders. Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE provides some multiplayer entertainment whilst offering you a much wider playing area than the original. However, other than those two features there’s not really much here to keep you hooked.

Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is better than the previous title mentioned, definitely offering up more entertainment value. Arkanoid vs Space Invaders offers the novelty of turning the Switch round to use in vertical mode, which I don’t think I have done before. Mixing the gameplay of Space Invaders and Arkanoid is good stuff, smashing back enemies shots in true Arkanoid style. There’s a bunch of Taito references in here too, so this game offers a lit more hidden easter eggs for super fans of Taito’s games. The one criticism I have of the game is that it’s a mobile phone port, and feels like it. It’s a little clunky and doesn’t really take the Switch hardware first and foremost because it wasn’t developed with that in mind. It’s an adequate port but could have been done better.

Space Invaders Extreme is definitely the best title of the trio here. Here we have the original gameplay of Space Invaders mixed in with Extreme’s big power-ups and over the top gameplay. There’s time-limited challenges, waves and waves of enemies and a great soundtrack that goes along with the much more exciting gameplay of this entry rather than the previous two. Space Invaders Extreme stands head and shoulders above the other two, so if you’re going to start somewhere then I’d recommend it be here. The soundtrack alone for this entry is almost worth the asking price for the full package, it’s that good.

Unfortunately, though that’s a highlight of an otherwise average package. Space Invaders Extreme is awesome and great fun. Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is not too bad but Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE isn’t really worth your time and effort. In terms of the games on offer, there’s one great game here in a trio of games, and there aren’t really many extras. It’d be great to see artwork, classic music or other features accompany the package with a title like Space Invaders Forever, but there’s just not there. Unfortunately, Space Invaders doesn’t really hold up to today’s standards in terms of grabbing and then holding attention spans. Yes, the game was a massively influential title when it first came out, but it doesn’t really hold a candle to even most free games of the current generation.

Space Invaders Forever is one-third great fun. Its good that the title is available on Nintendo Switch and Space Invaders Extreme is a good time in its own right. It may have been better to sell Space Invaders Extreme on its own without the baggage of the other entries and at a lower price, that might have made much more sense from a value point of view.

I do remember being in pubs in the late 80s, playing the original space invaders on a glass tabletop version of the game, waiting in the playroom while my parents had a pint and a glass of wine on Sundays. Playing this game took me back to that time, however, I’m old enough to remember the original. I’d be interested in hearing the reaction of gamers today and what they think of Space Invaders Extreme. I got a nostalgia trip out of it, but otherwise, I can only really recommend Space Invaders Extreme from the trio.

Developer: Taito/Inin
Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4
Release date: 11th December 2020

A review copy was kindly provided.