Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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“Help! Run for your lives! Alien invaders from beyond the stars are coming! We don’t know what they’re after, but they certainly seem to be up to no good and only you - yes, YOU! - have the ability to fend them off and save our planet!”
Yeah, back in the 1950s that kind of marketing pitch was all that was required to grab the public’s fertile, paranoid imagination. The birth of the Cold War brought a good ol’ fashioned fear of the unknown to North America that was quite easily sublimated into a rabid thirst for movies centered around the seemingly ever-present threat of alien invasion. Crenetic Publishing taps into that B-movie vein with Invaders! From Outer Space. But while the package is certainly stylish, what lurks inside never quite delivers.
Invaders! From Outer Space is pretty much a straight lift of the 1978 arcade classic, Space Invaders. However, Crenetic does throw a few new twists into the old-school formula. That passing UFO at the top of the screen does more now than just offer a chance for some extra points with a well-placed shot: now it provides healing for the alien armada, drops bombs, and even deploys a distortion field that slows the movement of the player’s battle tank to a crawl. Some of the enemies sport shields or take multiple hits to destroy and, in a move that was pretty much unknown when its inspiration hit in the late ‘70s, the whole experience is capped off with a big boss battle.
What doesn’t get substantially updated, however, is the basic nuts and bolts of “move left and right, fire, and hide under these degrading bits of shelter.” If anything I feel like the original may have been more of a challenge to get through than the 21 levels that Invaders! sports. And while the little scenes between each level were initially amusing, the fact that the developers felt the need to stick them before every single level means the material starts to run thin pretty quickly. Although I have to admit the 'Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy' reference was appreciated and made me smile.
It’s really quite a shame that Crenetic couldn’t craft more substantial gameplay to stick underneath the hood of this one, as the audiovisual presentation, while not mindblowingly amazing, is still very evocative and flavorful. Then again, I’m also a sucker for fake film grain.
But in the end, the whole thing can be wrapped up in a single sitting and there’s not much replay incentive - unless you’re a hardcore, score-chasing perfectionist. Invaders! From Outer Space seems a lot like a great idea that just didn’t make it any further than the brainstorming stage, but it’s still a neat bit of nostalgia for grizzled old arcade veterans to enjoy.