Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders (iOS, Android)

Space Invaders is one of the most iconic and influential video games of all time.  Arkanoid, while not as recognized as Space Invaders, improved the concept of Breakout with better graphics and power-ups.  I also have a lot of special memories with Arkanoid because it was one of the few arcade games my dad would play at the nearby Pizza Inn when I was a kid, and it was one of the first NES games I got (I thought the included paddle controller was cool).  And yeah, both games were made by the same company, Taito, and they’ve been around for more than half a century!  So what happens when you mix the two games together?  Well you get Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders, a unique mash-up of the two classics.  It’s available to download on mobile devices, but reviewed on iPad here.

In the game, you control the Arkanoid paddle, called Vaus, at the bottom of the screen.  Use your finger to move it left or right.  On the top of the screen on each level you will find aliens from Space Invades and blocks from Arkanoid.  Your mission is to destroy a certain number of aliens and/or blocks on each level (it varies depending on the stage).  To do this, you must bounce the aliens’ shots with the paddle so they go up and hit them.  Depending on the angle you bounce the shots, they’ll go back at an angle as well.  But if you pull down on the paddle and fling it up at the right time, you can return their shots straight up and super fast.  If you are unable to complete the mission before time runs out, it’s Game Over and you must start the stage again.

Like Arkanoid, power-ups will fall for you to catch when you destroy certain blocks and invaders.  These power-ups can increase your time, give you extra coins, and more.  One power-up increases an attack meter on the side of the screen.  When it’s full, you’ll be able to bounce a ball like in Arkanoid to destroy more invaders and blocks.  When this happens, time freezes, so you’ll want to take advantage of that to zap as many aliens as possible.  Another power-up will activate a recruit helper for a short time.  These helpers will let you fire missiles, make balls go through blocks, slow down time, extend your paddle, and much more.  What cool about these helpers is that they are characters from other Taito games!  Some I’ve seen are the dragons from Bubble Bobble, the guy from Parasol Stars, a soldier from Front Line, the spy from Elevator Action, the kiwi from New Zealand Story, Zac from Pu-Li-Ru-La, and many more!  Some I didn’t even recognize myself, but you can bet I looked up info on them!  Spend coins to recruit helpers as well as buy power-ups before a stage.  You can also unlock helpers by completing certain achievements.

There is plenty of replay value to be had.  There are tons of stages, and you can replay them to get a better score.  Once you pass a certain number of stages, you can try them in Hard Mode.  In this mode, if you miss bouncing back a bullet, your time goes down!  Yikes!  Speaking of which, the difficulty is the only problem I had with the game.  It gets extremely hard pretty early in, and power-ups take a lot of coins to buy.  Most mobile games appeal to the causal market, but this one might frustrate them!  Or maybe I just suck at the game?  At any rate, I still like it a lot, and it’s a good deal at only five bucks or so, and there are no in-game purchases or ads.  I think it would make a great arcade game, too!

Speaking of which, I recently went to an arcade that I may write an article on later.  At the arcade, all my favorite titles there were from Taito, the makers of this game as well.  Some of those include Groove Coaster, Elevator Action: Death Parade, and Space Invaders Frenzy.  Just goes to show you that when it comes to these kinds of games, Taito’s still got it after all these years!

Kid Factor:

Violence is pretty minimal.  You can make blocky aliens explode, and your paddle will disintegrate if you run out of time, but that’s it.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may get frustrated at the high difficulty.  It’s a one-time purchase game, so there are no in-game purchases or ads.  Well, almost.  You see, in the options screen, you can click on a link that takes you to Zuntata’s web site where you can buy the soundtrack to the game.  Zuntata is Taito’s in-house band that makes all their game music, and while Zuntata is pretty darn awesome, I guess a game having a link to a web site where you can buy soundtracks requires a bit of parental supervision.

2 Responses to “Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders (iOS, Android)”

  1. I don’t really feel a need for this, since both games are readily available for free online and I don’t care about modern trappings for them, but it’s cool they promote the music, I guess. I might actually but the Life is Strange soundtrack.

  2. It sounds pretty good. I love Taito games too.

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