Space Invaders: Infinity Gene

They're back! Check out the new incarnation of the arcade classic on the iPhone, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360

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Square Enix Space Invaders: Infinity Gene
  • Square Enix Space Invaders: Infinity Gene
  • Square Enix Space Invaders: Infinity Gene
  • Square Enix Space Invaders: Infinity Gene
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Brilliant update to the classic formula, still feels like Space Invades, music mode is ace

Cons

  • Where's the original game as a bonus, Taito?

Bottom Line

Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is a picture-perfect attempt to update a classic formula. It's vibrant, it's exciting, and the ability to play the game to your favourite music makes it a winner on every level.

Would you buy this?

A strange thing happened the other day. It was a typical day at the GamePro towers, when I happened to walk past the beanbag-infested games room and heard Madonna’s 'Material Girl' blasting from the sound system.

Curious, I poked my head inside, and what did I see? Chris Jager rocking out to his favourite music track. But he wasn’t playing Guitar Hero, DDR, or any other music/rhythm game: On the screen in front of him was Space Invaders.

A downloadable game for iPhone, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is the latest attempt by Square Enix–owned Taito to modernise the classic franchise. And it does so with all kinds of style.

The core gameplay modes are ‘Challenge’ (with a whopping 99 levels), ‘Bonus’ (an extra 30 there) and ‘Music’ (unlimited!). But this isn’t the kind of Space Invaders that 1978 knew and loved. Taito has taken the iconic little aliens, and thrown them into a genuinely funky hybrid 2D/3D shooter. It’s perhaps closer to an updated Galaga than Space Invaders, but most importantly, it works.

Aliens attack you from left, right and centre. There are giant aliens and geometric space ships that are a cute nod to the retro style of Galaxy Wars. There are power-ups for your ship, and there are unlockables to give you additional weaponry. The action gets hectic, almost to the point of bullet-hell, and, most importantly, it’s hard.

It’s all accompanied by pulsating techno beats as the default sound track. Are we in a night club? Not quite, but you’re in for the kind of vibrant audio and visual experience that has made other throwback retro-style games like Galaxy Wars so effective.

In fact, Infinity Gene almost feels like it isn’t a Space Invaders game at all. Almost. Somehow, despite the compete revamp of the gameplay the iconic little alien baddies still ground this game in the past. If we’re being completely honest, you do need to be the kind of guy that owns a Space Invaders tie to get the biggest kick out of the game.

But the hidden gem in all this, as Chris discovered, is the ‘Music’ mode. Literally any song you have sitting on your console can be used in this mode, and the backgrounds and action will be slightly adjusted depending on your choice. There’s nothing quite like playing through an entire album of your favourite band while whaling away on the trigger and watching a massive score rack up.

Throw in comprehensive leaderboards (already filled with seriously frightening high scores) and achievements/trophies that are a genuine challenge to unlock, and Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is worth every cent of its $16 asking price.

Just as a negative P.S. to finish up on though: Taito didn’t feel fit to throw the original game into the package (at least as far as I could tell. Let me know if I've just missed it!) Considering that would have added all of 15KB to the download size, this is an amazing oversight, and we feel it's a little lazy — Namco has been good enough to include the original Pac-Man in all of its attempts to modernise that character, and Square Enix is a little cheap for not mandating a similar policy here.

That's a minor aside though. Buy Space Invaders: Infinity Gene anyway. It's one of the best downloads of the year.

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