Space Invaders Forever (Feature Review) Nintendo Switch

Space Invaders Forever (Feature Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Known as the game that pioneered the shmup genre, Taito’s Space Invaders first made its debut in arcades back in 1978. Due to the game’s popularity with arcade patrons, Space Invaders was eventually released on the Atari 2600 in March of 1980 to much fanfare. The history of this IP is legendary, as it went on to appear in Taito Legends (i.e. Playstation 2, Xbox and PC) and on to other platforms in different iterations (i.e. Space Invaders ‘91, Space Invaders: Fukkatsu no Hi, etc.)

Space Invaders Forever for Nintendo Switch is essentially a modern update of the classic arcade game, but divided into three separate game modes –  Space Invaders Extreme (a re-release of the 40th Anniversary game), Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE (first released in 2018), and Arkanoid vs Space Invaders (a mobile release from 2017). 

Gamers looking to dive right into the action should start with ‘Space Invaders Extreme’, which includes new power-ups; 16 levels of action; and intense boss fights. The core game mechanics from the original Space Invaders has been preserved, as the player moves their spacecraft from left to right, while firing at the ‘invaders’ and avoiding their projectiles. Gameplay is addictive and challenging, as the invaders now move in different patterns. While some groups of invaders will retain the ‘left to right’ movement pattern from the original game, others will descend rapidly; fly in columns; and others will commit suicide by colliding with the player. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The game also includes a handful of power-ups that will assist the player in combating the encroaching alien menace. These ‘power-ups’ – which are temporary weapon upgrades and the occasional shield – are completely random, and they only appear when certain ‘invaders’ are destroyed. Among these ‘Weapon Upgrades’ are bombs (which can wipe out columns of invaders); a laser (capable of destroying everything on screen, if powered up by bonus points); and a shield, to name just a few. Each power-up is limited in its use, which is indicated by a ‘time’ bar located on the right-side of the playfield. Once this bar depletes, the power-up is lost and the player is back to using the basic canon on their ship.

The boss encounters are the highlight of Space Invaders Extreme, and this is due to their designs and unique attack patterns. For example: Some bosses are comprised of little blocks that need to be destroyed to reach their ‘cores’, while others use giant shields that cannot be penetrated with traditional firepower, to name just a few. 

Space Invaders Extreme is like this from start to finish. And depending on the difficulty selected before starting the game, the player will visit different levels and experience different boss encounters.

The second game on the list is Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE; a 4-player co-op experience where the goal is to kill all the ‘invaders’ as fast as possible. This mode includes new stages and music composed by Zuntata; Taito’s in-house sound team. It’s a decent addition to the Space Invaders Forever collection, but its nowhere as good as Space Invaders Extreme.

The biggest drawback to Gigamax 4 SE is that it only supports local couch co-op gameplay. In today’s world, finding three friends to play with isn’t feasible for most people, and this is where the game falls short. Some may argue that the lack of online co-op play is a small oversight considering the game in question, but I digress. If the developer were to consider (and eventually include) online co-op in a future patch, it would be truly to Gigamax 4 SE’s benefit.

Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is somewhat of an oddity, as it combines gameplay elements from both Arkanoid and Space Invaders. As the Vaus paddle ship from Arkanoid, the player must deflect the projectile attacks from the invaders to destroy them. The concept works well despite how strange it may sound. In fact, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is almost as good as Space Invaders Extreme, providing the player with 40 unlockable characters; 20 different skills (i.e. firepower bonuses, power-ups, etc.) and 150 stages that span various locales.

Despite being a collection of older titles, Space Invaders Forever – with its enhanced graphics and sound – provides an exhilarating arcade-like experience that feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch. It’s also perfect as a ‘portable’ game too.

Now, about that online co-op feature…

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Taito
Publisher: ININ Games
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Price: $29.99

Space Invaders Forever Official Website:

Review Score
While simplistic in appearance, the remastered graphics have a unique appeal about them.
Great music and sound effects.
Challenging to play, but difficult to put down.
Space Invaders Forever is an exhilarating arcade-like experience that feels right at home on the Nintendo.
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