One of the most popular and well-recognized video games of all time is the iconic Space Invaders. Games that have staying power for years are able to change and evolve with the times, and Space Invaders is doing just that. Space Invaders: Infinity Gene for Xbox LIVE is the next evolution of the shooter that started it all more than 30 years ago.
Infinity Gene is best described as being a combination of other popular downloadable shooters. It has the abstract shapes and simplicity of Everyday Shooter, the aesthetic style and stage progression of Rez, and the roving onslaught of enemies found in Galaga Legions. The game starts out just like the original, with rows of black and white pixel aliens to blast. But as you progress, the stages will evolve and change. New enemies will appear and different weapons will be unlocked. Soon you’ll be able to move all over the screen instead of being limited to creeping left and right on the bottom. And the stages will change from being a single screen to 2-D scrolling to a more 3-D perspective.
As you play and earn high scores, the game evolves and changes even more. This is how you unlock goodies in the game, such as new weapons, extra lives count, bonus stages, extra challenges, and even music for your sound test collection. The Normal Game has about 30 stages to beat, but there are also challenge stages and bonus rounds to try, too. There is even a special Music Mode that takes songs saved to your hard drive and makes a unique stage out of it for you to play!
Graphics stay true to the simplistic nature of Space Invaders. Enemies are basic white and shades of gray, and even the backgrounds rarely exceed two or three different colors. Music is standard techno fare, but Space Invaders fans will recognize the familiar arcade sound effects. Personally, I prefer Space Invaders Extreme more, but for only 800 Microsoft Points (about 10 bucks), Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is a pretty good deal for all you get.
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence. And there really is hardly any violence at all. You only shoot geometric shapes and blocky images that look like aliens and UFOs. Reading isn’t necessary to play, and selectable difficulty modes mean that gamers of all skill levels can play. A two player co-op mode would have been a nice feature, but it’s not here, unfortunately. Even if the graphics won’t wow them, kids should still be able to jump right into the easy to grasp gameplay, and there’s a lot here to keep them from being bored, especially with the Music Mode. It’s a great way to share the classics with your kids.