Published on August 25th, 2021 | by Paul Stuart
Space Invaders Invincible Collection: Switch Review
Summary: Space Invaders Invincible Collection’s price tag is perhaps its greatest downfall and unfortunately the games didn't age very well.
Sometimes nostalgia can make one willfully blind to foibles. Space Invaders Invincible Collection is one of those instances.
The original 1978 Space Invaders was certainly a groundbreaking game for its time, an amazing use of a seemingly simplistic board and (in hindsight) limited technology to somehow create an omnipresent sense of panic in fighting against time and descending enemies toward higher scores. The sad and dirty little secret about Space Invaders, however, is that it was easily surpassed by Galaga in nearly every gameplay aspect only a few years later.
Counterpoint: video game purists will reason – and rightly so – the iconic protective base shields of Space Invaders a revolutionary videogame dynamic. Enemies able to pick off both the protagonist while dwindling his/her protections was truly a unique concept. It served as an arguable precursor to so many shield dynamics central to the shoot-em-up genre.
The catch? 40 plus years later…and so little truly changed across the Space Invaders universe. Yes, it added color…some new enemies and scoring mechanics…even simultaneous multiplayer. Taito got clever with a ‘parody’ mode where aliens were other Taito franchise characters. But the core remained simplistic and formulaic: waves of enemies…a big ticket enemy in the distance…and protective shields. Fancier background graphics and power-ups did almost nothing to alter this monotony.
The first true innovation came via 2008’s Space Invaders Extreme, one of many marriages between classic game titles…a techno soundtrack…and pixelated art magic tethered to combo score enemy waves. The problem is Extreme is already located in a much more affordable Space Invaders Forever package on the Switch shop.
The only real incentive to purchase a full priced Space Invaders Invincible Collection is a truly pixel perfect look at 10 titles of a video game classic. The collection does a solid job of explaining how/where the original Space Invaders board evolved. For instance, it was cool to learn Lunar Rescue a by-product of said board…being a seemingly almost unique game in its own right. Yet, one that didn’t age well via its basic reverse Frogger mechanics. (And this a highlight, mind you.)
Purists will relish the highest production values for this collection, with every aspect – especially sound – captured beautifully. Zero slowdowns or hiccups anywhere. There’s also a nice ability to play classic or score challenge mode, the latter adding oodles of replayability to the mix. It’s all simple, but plays 100% well.
Still, I just can’t get myself to justify a full priced title ($90AU / $60US) of 9 outdated, one cheaper elsewhere titles. (The add-on, mobile Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders game wasn’t available at time of review.)
Soapbox warning: Taito and Namco continue to publish arguably overpriced collections under the guise of ‘nostalgia’…while offering so little value add along the way. Yes, Switch owners feature old timers like myself who pumped quarters into childhood arcade classics. But overpricing the re-release serves only to alienate the audiences these publishers are trying to invigorate. In contrast, I applaud Pinball Arcade. No full priced nonsense, plus a much greater challenge of capturing original physics and table/ball feel…in a digitized format. Ditto Capcom, that packages genres in affordable packages.
As the Switch roars along in popularity and a new OLED model, I hope the publishers bringing such amazingly important titles lower the price barrier of entry a bit. I’ve a strongest hunch this collection would top the Switch Digital charts at $20-30. It will sadly exist at the bottom at twice that.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection’s price tag is perhaps its greatest downfall. The franchise didn’t age gracefully, and its best recent title in a more affordable package on the same Switch store. Only purists will appreciate what this limited collection has to offer.