Invaders must die!
In my capacity as an iFanzine reviewer, I’m lucky enough to receive quite a few new games on a daily basis (it’s a tough job but some-one’s gotta do it, right?). To be honest with you though, the vast majority I play, review, then quickly delete to free up space for the next batch. However, there are two types of games that for very two very different reasons grace my beloved ‘Touch for considerably longer.
Firstly you’ve got your epics, like Ravensword or GTA: Chinatown Wars, games that offer sprawling story-lines, a plethora of side-quests, and boast hours upon hours of gameplay. On the other hand, there are those titles that are more suited to playing in quick bursts; perfect for when I’ve got five or ten minutes to kill here and there. MeYuMe’s recently released Invaders World Tour falls firmly into the latter category.
A sci-fi shmup very much in the mould of the seminal Space Invaders – well okay, it basically is Space Invaders, albeit with new-fangled graphics and tilt controls – harks back to the good old days of doggedly feeding coins into an arcade machine in the hopes of seeing your name (or obscenity of choice) in all it’s glory on the high-scores hall of fame.
And to their credit, MeYuMe manage to recapture and replicate much of that sweaty palmed excitement on iPhone, largely due to their sticking closely to what made the original Invaders so damn addictive, but also by making some tweaks and successfully putting their own stamp on this tried and tested arcade actioner. The set-up is instantly familiar. You, as the heroic pilot of a fighter jet, are tasked with single-handedly saving the world from an alien invasion by blasting waves of UFOs out of the sky. Positioned at the bottom of the screen, you must shoot down every last rival craft, whilst dodging returning fire and kamikaze enemies, before moving on to the next stage.
A few neat additions to the classic mix include force fields which help deflect the invader’s devastating attacks (at least until they get blown to smithereens), pitch-perfect tilt controls, frequent mini-games, and, of course, OpenFeint integration. All good, but the real star of the show is the seriously updated eye candy. The frantic action is set across beautifully rendered backdrops of some of the world’s most famous urban centres, while the invaders themselves are highly detailed, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
For the best part then, IWT looks good and feels solidly made. However, MeYuMe do make some minor missteps along the way. For starters, something feels slightly off with your ship’s default weapon, probably due to the fact that that old reliable the laser cannon has been replaced with altogether less effective missiles, whose sluggish pace when fired often mean you’ll miss what should be an easy shot. That said, it’s possible to upgrade your arsenal by collecting numerous power-ups anyway, so at least you’re not stuck with those crummy rockets for too long. To a lesser extent, I found the tinny sound-effects, that while authentically arcadey, did start to grate after prolonged play.
All in all though, I had a blast playing through this game. It’s unlikely to set the world on fire, but IWT does exactly what it says on the tin, and will definitely be a permanent fixture on my iPod for whenever I feel the need to scratch that old-school itch. Recommended.
iFanzine Vedict: This explosively enjoyable twist on the Space Invaders formula will give both your trigger finger and iDevice’s accelerometer a workout as you dodge ‘n’ blast your way through its globe-spanning campaign. Recommended for retro fans, but the unabashedly (80’s era) arcade style – and it could be said, rudimentary – gameplay may potentially alienate the uninitiated.