Invader Attack 2 is a shoot ’em up sequel developed by the one-man team at Codergames. Developed for PC, Invader Attack 2 is meant to offer a serious challenge, drawing it’s inspiration from classic, arcade-style games.
Any gamer who has played an old 2D shoot ’em up will be familiar with the controls, and a few of the difficulties and obstacles that Invader Attack 2 provides. Players start the game with 3 lives, and must shoot through waves of enemies while dodging incoming fire and falling debris. In each level, enemies will appear in different formations and enemy ship designs that are obviously inspired by the classic Space Invaders game. From here, there are several differences. To start, each formation actually has a reserve of enemy ships that will replace any destroyed or moving enemies until the reserve is tapped out. Also, the entire formation tends to stay perfectly still, with the exception of a ship that eventually breaks away and zooms from one side to another, firing accurate shots at the player. This enemy will eventually move on and return to the reserve pile if it isn’t destroyed.
Players can move their ship anywhere around the level (left, right, up, or down) using either the keyboard controls or a gamepad. Mastering the controls and the full-range of movement provided by the ship is important in order to avoid damaging attacks, and instant-kill collisions with falling debris from destroyed enemies. The ship can take a limited amount of damage from enemy firepower, but the game doesn’t provide a health bar (developer choice). The only warning that players will have when a ship (or enemy) is low on health is when it starts to trail a small amount of smoke.
There are many powerups to be found, randomly dropped by destroyed enemies. They can be difficult to catch if the player isn’t paying attention, but provide different advantages that can help players get through a level safer and quicker. These power ups include equipping laser cannons that fire diagonally, a temporary shield to block incoming fire, and even a red cross to heal the ship back to full health.
Invader Attack 2 has two primary goals: Survive until the final level, and gain the highest ranking score. The score is affected by how long players live, as well as the enemies destroyed, and a few extra options that provide bonus points. These range from dropped power ups worth a certain number of points, to challenging achievements that are available every time a player starts a new game. The achievements are a great way to challenge oneself to finish a level faster, or destroy more enemies using different methods and strategies, but it will also cause a bit of annoyance for some players. Reaching an achievement instantly pauses the game, and fills the screen with a giant badge. While this is good in terms of instant gratification, it hinders the view of the player, and as soon as it disappears, the gameplay will resume. This can happen whenever, including in the middle of a level with enemies all around the player. Hopefully, the developer will be able to provide a solution, either by removing the extra fanfare for the achievement, providing a small countdown before the game resumes, or giving players the option to turn off achievements.
Invader Attack 2 utilizes quality 3D graphics in a 2D platform to give the players a small sense of depth. The game utilizes its graphics well to create interesting visual details, such as fiery explosions that leave enough smoke to hinder a players view. This enhances the fast-paced gameplay with unexpected hazards.
The soundtrack for the game fits the pace of the action with hard-rocking guitar riffs and a fast-tempo drumbeat. The music serves to hype the player, and tends to fit well with the explosive combat provided by each level in the game. Beyond this, it isn’t incredibly varied or complicated, though this is to be expected. The game currently has 48 levels of gameplay, but will end up with 50 levels and five boss battles. There’s definite replay value with this game, as the difficulty of it will feel unexpected at first, and will take some time to get used to.
It should be noted that difficulty is not exaggerated. Those gamers who recognize and have played many past shoot ’em up games may also remember that the key to winning these games included varied strategies, and working to memorize the movements and attacks of different enemies. Invader Attack 2 embraces that level of difficulty, reminiscent of classic arcade games where players didn’t think about reaching an end to the game, but simply wanted to earn as many points as possible before they ran out of lives. However, this level of difficulty may make this a bad game for casual gamers with the many obstacles that will easily, and repeatedly, kill players. Without a desire to learn and continually improve or adopt new strategies, some may find the challenges to be too much.
Invader Attack 2 innovates the shoot ’em up genre in a few small ways, offering different details to add to the realism and the challenge. My favorite little detail is the fact that destroyed enemies don’t simply explode, and instead fall. They might fall straight down, or at an angle, but players must remain wary to avoid any of the debris. Additionally, Invader Attack 2 offers bonus points when falling debris collides with an enemy ship, upping the pace and excitement of the game as explosions get chained together.
Invader Attack 2 is available for PC and is 97-98% completed. Gamers can download the demo from the Codergames website to play some of the early levels right now. They can then purchase the full-version of the game for $19 (currently on sale for $14), which will include the eventual updates that will provide the remaining levels. A bit of patience regarding the game’s development is requested, but the finished version of the game will be available within the year. Thankfully, the current number of levels already reflects several hours of intense gameplay.