As a huge Space Invaders fan, you can imagine my delight when the Invincible Collection was announced and finally, here's my review.
Space Invaders is one of those early arcade games that has stood the test of time. Its static shooting gameplay requires strategy, concentration, and timing which creates an engaging score-chasing formula. To start, the original is included here as well as its colour adaptation that also allows you to get higher than 9,990 points. Next, Space Invaders Part II (AKA Space Invaders Deluxe) slightly enhanced the original by adding some additional gameplay elements such as invaders that split into 2, UFOs that deploy more invaders, and little stage transition cutscenes. Out of all these original iterations, Space Invaders Part II is the one you'll likely go back to most.
Over a decade later, we have Super Space Invaders '91 (AKA Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV). It's a much faster-paced iteration of the classic formula and often feels more like a shoot 'em up even though it's still very much a static shooter. It lets you play simultaneously with a friend and its 16-bit graphics are lovely. Plus, there's a funny cow-rescuing mini-game, boss fights, and cool special attacks. Finally, there's Space Invaders DX which features a mode based on the original, a super-fun competitive 2 player mode, and a parody mode which plays like the original yet it features visual themes based on other Taito arcade games; it's great fun!
On top of the Space Invaders games, Invincible Collection includes a couple of bonus Taito arcade games in the form of Lunar Rescue and Space Cyclone. For starters, Lunar Rescue is one of my personal favourite arcade games of all time as it presents a perfectly-balanced gameplay loop where you descend past asteroids, carefully land on a pad, have a human run over to your ship, and then you ascend while shooting UFOs only to deposit the human back at your rescue ship. Meanwhile, Space Cyclone is a rarity that I actually haven't even heard of before. It's kind of a confusing shooter but enjoyable nonetheless. I'm glad they included it as it's quite an interesting oddity.
Unfortunately, Space Invaders Invincible Collection isn't a wholly comprehensive compilation as it's missing 2 particularly great classic entries in the franchise. As the third game in the series, Return of the Invaders had pretty cool graphics and unique mechanics. Also, Space Invaders '95: The Attack of Lunar Loonies offers an absurd amount of fun with its hilarious sprites, colourful graphics, and awesome boss fights. It really is a huge bummer that these 2 gems aren't included here so do yourself a favour and pick up both Taito Legends compilations which feature these apparently forgotten Space Invaders gems along with dozens of other top-notch arcade titles.
Along with all of the retro goodness, Invincible Collection also includes 3 modern Space Invaders offerings in the form of Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, and Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders which is available via DLC. Now, if these games sound familiar to you then you're probably aware of Space Invaders Forever which released last year for Switch and PS4. The exact same games are also in this package so if you'd like to learn all about these very cool modern titles then be sure to read my full review of that compilation.Space Invaders Forever Review
Like most modern game compilations, Space Invaders Invincible Collection doesn't have much museum-style content. Primarily, you get descriptions of each game which are interesting but there is some misinformation such as claiming that Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE was the first game in the series to include simultaneous multiplayer; as far as I know, Majestic Twelve did that back in 1990. Anyway, there are some welcome options such as save states and the ability to rotate the screen, configure controls, toggle scanlines, and adjust various game-specific settings. There are also online leaderboards and challenge mode rules for most games if you want to flex your skills.
It may not feature every classic game in the series but Space Invaders Invincible Collection is still bursting with retro fun. Whether you're enjoying the original, trying out the modern titles, or competing with a friend in Space Invaders DX; you're bound to have a blast.
- + Includes some excellent arcade treasures with a couple of retro surprises
- + The modern titles are mostly well-done
- + Online rankings and welcome options
- - Why the heck aren't Return of the Invaders and Space Invaders '95 included?
- - Limited museum-style content