If you're ready for some retro gaming love, it's time to log onto your PS3 or Xbox 360. Nearly 30 years after Taito kicked off the Space Invaders franchise, they have brought it onto your console in a big way. Space Invaders Infinity Gene on PS3 and it may go down as one of the most enjoyable downloadable titles available.
Infinity Gene takes the old school Space Invaders and adds a new twist. After beginning the game with graphics reminiscent of the original 1978 game, it quickly "evolves" into beautiful HD graphics. The games is based around Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The only way to survive is to evolve.
The gameplay is as simple as it can get. Kill or be killed. You control your ship with the joystick or D-pad and fire using the X or O button. Things become more complicated from there.
Each levels starts off with just a few aliens, but then rapidly becomes a crazy free for all shoot 'em up. To fend off the oncoming hordes of aliens you are armed with a single cannon. When you kill certain aliens they will drop a DNA globule. Collecting these DNA balls will power up your weaponry.
As you progress your way through the game you unlock new weapons including lasers that seek out enemies, sonic waves and missiles with lock-on targeting. Each weapon upgrade better equips you to handle the alien swarm. My favorite weapon is the sonic wave. While it didn't pack as much punch as the other weapons, it more than made up for it in its ability to cover a lot of area.
One of the best parts of this game is the online leader boards. With them you can see where you rank in the world and among your friends. I can see a lot of people who were fans of Space Invaders in the past saving up their quarters for this game and battling to get their name on top of these leader boards.
This is a great throwback to the original series. What really brought me back to my childhood is the great mix of old school music. The sound track has that 8-bit, chiptune style that is all the rage right now. While the in-game music is amazing, by far my favorite addition to Infinity Gene is the Music mode, in which you can pick any song off your hard drive and a level is randomly generated to go with the music. I had fun rocking out to some of my favorite songs. If you match up a good song, you can get really immersed in the game and really lose yourself. I spent a good bit of time killing aliens while singing along to some of Jonathan Coulton's greatest hits.
The only thing more I want out of Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a PSP version. While this game looks great on the big screen, I really wish i could throw this on my PSP and take it with me. If Taito developed a PSP version I'd be the first in line to pick it up. This would be perfect for those times when you have a few minutes to kill. iDevice gamers might prefer to pick up the game on their phone or touch.
You can easily get roped into playing this game for hours on end, trying to beat your personal high scores and climbing your way up the leader boards. I think where the game really shines is in those times when you only have a couple of minutes to spare. For example, when are about to leave and your significant other is still getting ready for the day, or you're about to play an online game and are just waiting for your friends to sign on.
You can easily knock out a couple of levels in a short amount of time... or die trying.
For $10 you really can't go wrong. Space Invaders Infinity Gene is definitely right up there with Blast Factor and Pixel Junk Racers as my favorite downloadable games. I don't know where else Taito can take this franchise, but after playing Infinity Gene I am very curious to find out what is next.
Let us know what you want to see from Space Invaders franchise in the comments below, and if you picked up the game we'd also love to hear what you thought about it.
Space Invaders Infinity Gene is available now on the PlayStation Network and in the Xbox Live Arcade. It is also available for your iDevice in the iTunes App Store.