Thanks to Ratalaika Games for the review code
Title: Zerotopian Invasion
Release Date: 05//2019
Being a take on Space Invaders, Zerotopian Invasion seems to go for a similar black and white look, only for the game to go through a variety of different hues as the stages progress. The sprites look fine as is, but the game as a whole looks a lot more crisp if you play in vertical mode, although on PS4 this is pretty much impossible to make practical outside of some clever use of Remote Play. It may be simplistic, but the game looks fitting for a tribute and the music is decent enough.
Zerotopian Invasion starts off as a pretty basic Space Invaders clone, with one button for shooting as you move with the left stick. But upon getting a powerup the game immediately breaks the norm of that series by having you gain rapid fire, a protective shield or a stronger shot. After the first few stages that seem to be generic Space Invaders throwbacks, the game throws a curveball and starts doing a lot of fun things with the concept of “stay at the bottom of the screen and shoot”.
Boss battles and stronger, more aggressive enemies akin to those from Galaga will enter the fray, and the stages will even change color to different hues to indicate the change in scenery, all while the game’s pacing increases at a good speed. The scoring starts off very slow, but after those first few stages the scoring becomes a lot more fun due to more enemies being on screen, alongside the handy powerups. Of course, this game is still pretty tough being an old fashioned shooter, and if you aren’t careful enough to avoid the one hit deaths you will be continuing constantly. Still, the engagement of the game makes jumping right back into a new run incredibly easy, so the setback doesn’t really sting all that much.
Besides going for a new high score, there are also some achievements to tackle, though unfortunately they don’t really amount to much, only going through a small portion of the game. While it still is moderately tough and will require trial and error to beat the first boss, once you do so you’ve pretty much done all you need to get all the trophies. Considering how there’s a ton more stages and lots more scorechasing to do after that point, it feels like a cop-out for the trophy list to just cut itself short like that, but thankfully the high score aspect gives some proper replay value, alongside trying to make it to the end of the game.
In conclusion, Zerotopian Invasion was a big surprise to me. What seemed like yet another budget priced Space Invaders clone ended up having a bit of spice to it, sticking to simplicity while having a much faster pace from your typical Invaders game. With powerups, boss battles and other cool additions, this was a score chaser that I found pretty enjoyable, and comparing it to Super Destronaut DX, it’s kinda tough to decide which clone is the better one, as they’re both pretty good, though Invasion offers a more classic take. Still, don’t let the simplistic look trick you into thinking this is just another clone, as there’s a bit more here than meets the eye, and it ends up leading to a pretty great score chaser for a budget price.
I give Zerotopian Invasion a 7 out of 10.