Arkanoid vs Space Invaders
Make space for this one to invade your iPhone
$3.99 Developer Square Enix, square-enix.com Made for iPhone, iPad Needs iOS 8.0 or later
Seemingly designed to tweak nostalgia glands, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders combines two of gaming’s oldest designs in a fusion of frantic one-thumb gameplay, thumping techno music, and eye-searing neon.
Half the game is borrowed from Breakout, where you smashed balls at walls of bricks. The rest is ancient blaster Space Invaders, in which hordes of blocky foes once slowly descended, aiming to take over the world.
The mash-up bit is where Breakout revamp Arkanoid comes in. In that title, the bat was a spaceship, smacking ordinance at evil space bricks. Here, you get the bricks, but no ball – your bat is used to send the aliens’ projectiles back at them.
It’s a bit weird at first – and slow, too. You wonder why the heroes aren’t equipped with actual weapons, and why early levels are surprisingly boring as you send the odd bullet back towards lazily whirling invaders. But about 20 levels in, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders actually starts to click.
First, you realize your enemy is time, not the invaders – you must smash enough craft or bricks before the clock runs down. This becomes increasingly tough, adding a layer of strategy to the mix. Secondly, everything speeds up, not least when you venture into the deranged hard mode, which wipes seconds from the clock for every missed projectile.
The result is a great blast, and there are even some cameos, with famous Taito faces from the likes of Bubble Bobble enlisted to power-up your bat.
The Bottom line. A slow starter, but this arcade blaster is bright, noisy, one-finger fun.
Smash the invaders’ bullets back at them, as bricks and enemies whirl menacingly.