Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Space Invaders for iPhone Review

Space Invaders is over 30 years old now if you can believe it, and still ranks as the number one arcade game of all-time, and likely will for all-time, unless arcades make a miraculous comeback around the globe.

The first thing that strikes is that this game has not been modified or upgraded. The original game, more or less, has been offered on the iPhone. This is surprising considering the fact that even classics like Pac-Man and Tetris have been modified to include new modes. The game does not have even a save mode. Every time you shut the game, you have to start all over again. This is really surprising as save mode is considered a fundamental part of all games. Further, the game is, like original arcade games, very tough to master and the controls too are not the best that you can find on an iPhone. What is Space Invaders all about? You have a laser at the bottom of your screen. The aliens are out to get you and can be found in the middle of the screen. They slowly advance on you and your job is to make the laser and the aliens meet. Once these creatures are shot and blasted, the remaining creatures increase their speed and killing them becomes difficult. The sound effects of the game, at this stage, will give you are an adrenaline rush that you can never forget. Along with the increase in the speed, the alien begin firing at you and you are forced to take cover under bunkers. However, this cannot be done for long as the bunkers are soon obliterated by the alien firing.

Once a level is completed a new one begins, slightly more difficult than the last. Like most early arcade games, Space Invaders can theoretically be played indefinitely, with your score being the only real indicator of success or failure. The lack of an online leaderboard for posting scores, given the importance of scores in the game is highly disappointing. Space Invaders is extremely challenging at later levels, but also becomes highly repetitive after awhile, a hallmark of older games.

It must be noted that there is one area where Space Invaders has not changed even one bit. The graphics and sounds department is practically the same that was used in the arcade versions. Except for the option of colorful aliens to blast and upgraded backgrounds, everything else remains the same. If you are hoping to scare your girlfriend with the aliens, you are in for a disappointment. The aliens look like crabs and bats and are not even remotely scary. If you have played this game before, the bleep and bloop sounds will bring back fond memories.

There are 3 different control schemes which can be used, classic controls where you manipulate an on-screen joystick and buttons similar to Pac-Man on the iPhone, touch/drag controls, or accelerometer controls. I liked the classic and accelerometer controls, but found the touch/drag controls to be the least functional.

This game has what it takes to keep the player entertained. However, considering the fact that Retro Game Challenge is available on DS, it remains to be seen whether anyone would want to pay for this game on the iPhone. There is nothing wrong with the game. However, the question is whether the game is good enough to attract the gamers. The developers could have at least added some new features to the game to make it more interesting. If you're desperate for some space invaders on your iPhone, then this game is worth getting. For everyone else though, there is nothing new here, and not much point in getting the game.
by: Dan Fletcher

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