'Space Invaders Extreme' XBox 360 LIVE Arcade Review

May 10, 2009 § Leave a comment

It’s Space Invaders, but extreeeeeeeeme!

Available for 800 MSP on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Space Invaders Extreme is a revamp of the classic shooter, combining psychedelic visualizer backgrounds (by none other than Mr Tempest himself, Jeff Minter) and a pumping electro-synth-style soundtrack.

It’s a simple game: move your spacecraft at the bottom of the screen with the analogue stick and shoot the waves of incoming alien ships by hammering the ‘A’ button repeatedly. It’s hardly ‘One Bold Step’ for gaming, but high-concept ideas, more often than not, work well. Space Invaders Extreme is no exception; the fast-paced nature of the core gameplay, combined with a series of graphical bells and whistles on top, makes it a fun and compelling game to play.

Similar to the PSP version of the game, this XBLA release includes all the modes and levels that went before, plus a new four-player local co-op mode, and online co-op and versus modes. In total there are 11 levels, but the branching difficulty setting means that you won’t play through them all in your first run-through. This, along with the added achievements and the race to get the all-important S-Rank in each stage, gives the game a hefty amount of replayability.

While the single player is as addictive as it ever was, the online multiplayer is spoiled by input delay and lag. The end result is that the game doesn’t feel as responsive online as it does in local multiplayer. This is a bit of a disappointment considering the online mode is the only significant addition – you would have thought they’d take the time to get it feeling right.

What it all adds up to is that this is probably the definitive version of Space Invaders Extreme. One could criticise the developers for doing little but update the visuals to HD-standard and chucking a few other small features in. The saving grace is that the game is so enjoyable that you can forget what they didn’t add. And, maybe, they didn’t really need to put anything more into it anyway. Why change a winning formula, after all?

At a price point of 800 MSP (roughly equating to £6.80) it’s worth a purchase to pros and novices alike. It’s accessible and challenging, while not being unfair to the player, and it’s just a solid, good value package, overall.

(387 words.)

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