Taito's Space Invaders Revolution didn't quite reinvent the archetypal arcade series for a new generation as its titled promised, but the company is giving it another go with Space Invaders Extreme. Like the previous Nintendo DS game, Taito adds new power ups and weapons to the formula, but takes the shooting action in an entirely new direction. Focusing on combos, rhythmically driven gameplay and fast paced, more Galaga-like invader formations, many may look at the game and assume it's developed by Lumines creator Q Entertainment. In fact, it seems to follow the Q design formula so closely, others may call it a rip off.
Not unlike Q's Gunpey and Every Extend Extra, Space Invaders Extreme adds layers of trippy effects, filling the screen with an excessive amount of visual noise. Even more suspect, your shots will trigger sound effects that I could swear were ripped straight from Rez.
Gameplay-wise though, it does add a handful of fresh elements to make the constant shooting a bit more exciting. You'll get bonuses for destroying invaders by column, by color, by shape, or by row and be rewarded for doing so with points and alternate stages. There's a Fever Mode that's essentially a point grabbing free-for-all and a Roulette Shot that awards you with extra lives.
With the slight sketchiness of latching on to the Q schtick of success, it may seem like Space Invaders Extreme is a me-too gimmick filled attempt at bringing relevance to a 30-year old arcade game. It was enjoyable for the first fifteen minutes, but it's unclear whether this simple enjoyment will last beyond that. We'll know more when the game hits early 2008.