This is going to be a short one ladies and gentlemen. The second you start playing Zeroptian Invasion, you'll instantly know what you're getting. Even non-gamers will recognize this one from the cultural impact its inspiration had. Hell, you could probably show gameplay footage to a lost Amazon tribe and they'd say "So, it's Space Invaders basically?"
Because that's what Zeroptian Invasion is.
It's Space Invaders.
The games own store page describes it as "this decade's answer to the arcade shooters of yesteryear" and I think that sums it up quite well. It's an obviously retro inspired game that's channeling the classics, and it does a great job of capturing the look and feel of the SHMUPS from that time. It keeps things simple from a gameplay perspective, sticking very much to the Space Invader formula. The movement of your little starfighter is limited, you sit at the bottom of the screen and can move only left or right. To defend yourself, you can shoot a simple cannon, it too is limited however, in that you can only have one shot in the "air" at a time. Lining up your hits and leading targets is essential, and this makes for a different experience from the usual quick twitch, fast paced, bullet hell shooters I see a lot of today.
Enemies too have the classic movement patterns, the rows moving in one direction only to drop down a line when they reach the end, before continuing of in the opposite direction to repeat the process, getting ever closer to the bottom of the screen.
As I said, its mostly classic Space Invaders gameplay.
There are little changes, though.
Power-ups have been added, giving shields, extra shots or speed boosts. New enemy types appear, introducing new abilities to contend with and each level introduces a new design theme or obstacle to handle as well. Every few levels, a boss appears, guarding the exit and halting your progression. Giant UFOs, Massive Wasps and loads of others make an appearance, all themed to their individual worlds and both look and feel like genuine bosses of the time. The Devs have certainly fulfilled their own brief, creating a game that really does feel like it belongs to the time it's trying to emulate.
Style wise, Zeroptian Invasion does look like it's right out of the late 80s/early 90s. Firstly, the action takes place in a center strip, as the borders of the screen filled with large vibrant video game art, bringing to mind the old style arcade cabinets I used to pump 10ps into as a kid. The game itself has a very familiar style too. ZX Spectrum games were very popular in this era and the bright colors and blocky sprites are SO of that time that I could genuinely believe it was an original ZX game.
It isn't though, it’s a 2019 release and it doesn't do anything new or unique, making it hard to recommend. While it does what it set out to do, be a retro styled shooter inspired by the classics, I can't see it being an essential purchase for many. A special note should be taken by achievement hunters however, Zeroptian Invasion is an EASY 1000 gamerscore. It literally took me 10 minutes to complete them all and this, combined with the low price, make it an easily recommended purchase for them. For everyone else however, it's a Space Invaders inspired retro styled shooter, it is what it is. The power-ups and bosses are a nice addition, and add something to the original formula but, ultimately, whether to buy it or not, is completely dependent on how much you like Space Invaders. If the idea of a faithful feeling version appeals, certainly pick it up. If you're looking for something with more depth, then maybe go elsewhere. You likely won't play it for long, but at that low budget price, does that really matter either?
Fun for what it is, but what it is, isn't that much.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 6/10
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