Over the past few years, retro game collections have become more common things to see on modern consoles. It’s a fantastic way to introduce new video game players to classic titles they might not have enjoyed or re-release a collection to fans wanting to revisit the games. Space Invaders Forever falls into a strange category of neat, but I’m not sure why. It’s neat having three Space Invaders games come to modern consoles, but it’s odd why these three games were chosen. Even more strange is the high price point to play these three titles. While not bad, Space Invaders Forever is a hard sell if you aren’t a massive Space Invaders fan, and even then it’s still a tough sell.
Space Invader Forever includes Space Invaders Extreme (previously released on Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Xbox Live Arcade), Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE (a remix of the classic Space Invaders with new stages, gimmicks and 4-player support), and Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders (a mash-up of the the two classic arcade titles Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders).
The one thing I really enjoy about Space Invaders Forever is that all three games included are fun. I played Space Invaders Extreme back in the day on Nintendo DS and was glad to jump into it. It’s a very fun, modern update to the classic Space Invaders game that sees you fighting wave after wave of enemies until you reach a boss fight. This typically involves taking down one massive enemy while avoiding all the incoming projectiles being thrown at you. It can get quite hectic, but it’s a fun twist to the classic Space Invaders formula. It’s the most fun game in this collection.
The other two titles, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE and Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders, are interesting but a bit of a mixed bag. The idea of mixing the classic Arkanoid (very similar to the classic game Breakout) game with elements of Space Invaders is interesting and certainly makes for a fun first few minutes. You try breaking blocks above your character while alien enemies rain down on you. It’s a fun concept, but after a while, it feels way too hectic for its own good. I was left wanting to play just the Arkanoid or Space Invaders part of the game, not both combined together. Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE is also a fine title that really only shines if you have four players. It’s the classic Space Invaders game with a few new enemy gimmicks and new stages to battle in. Otherwise, it’s basically 4-player Space Invaders.
Overall, the collection is good, but I was left feeling underwhelmed. While it includes some fun Space Invaders games, it feels incomplete. When you start up the game, you get the feeling that you’re about to jump into the ultimate Space Invaders collection. Yet the main menu only gives you the option to select the games, and that’s it. There’s nothing special in the collection. Maybe it wasn’t intended to feel this way, but I couldn’t help but feel like there should be some museum feature in the game.
Space Invaders Forever just feels very barebones, which is made worse by the fact that the game is $40. That’s right, this collection of three games will set you back $40, even though you can buy two of the three included games for a CHEAPER price elsewhere. Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders is $4.99 on iOS and Android, and Space Invaders Extreme is $9.99 on Xbox 360. Granted, bringing these games to Switch and PS4 will no doubt justify a slight price increase, but $40 is way too high of a price to pay for these three games. There’s nothing special in this collection besides the three games, so why charge so much for them? At $40 I would tell you to move on to another game. Overall, the collection itself looks and runs well on Nintendo Switch. I didn’t experience any sort of issues with how the game looked and played in both docked mode and handheld mode.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, I can’t recommend Space Invaders Forever to anyone except the diehard Space Invaders faithful. It’s even hard to recommend to those fans too. Its high price point and limited content make for a very challenging recommendation. Maybe if the game goes on sale (closer to the $20 range), then I would tell you to pick the game up if you enjoyed classic Space Invaders games. Until then, there are so many other great retro game collections you can pick up (especially on Switch).
Developer: Taito Corporation
Publisher: ININ Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4
Release Date: 11th December 2020 (PS4 Digital), 15th December 2020 (Switch Digital), 16th December 2020 (Nintendo Switch and PS4 Physical Release)
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Space Invaders Forever was provided by the publisher.