Space Invaders has been mimicked over and over again over the years. One of the closest replicas in recent years was Super Destronaut DX. It was a quick fire, simple, colourful but well paced arcade shooter that copied the formula and did little else. I was hoping for a step forward of progression with its new sequel. Whilst there are some improvements, it isn’t quite the step forward I wanted.
I want to start off by saying that what Super Destronaut DX 2 does best is have a smooth arcade feel. Your ship isn’t stuck to the bottom of the screen, you can move about fluidly and shoot away with purpose. The bold and colourful retro enemies are smooth and patterned too. The whole basic get up of shoot waves of enemies and don’t get shot too is effortlessly reproduced. Simple to pick up and play and rewarding with its visual and audio feedback too – its how you think of retro games playing through rose tinted glasses.
There are a few modes in the sequel that add some replay value for local scoreboards. Classic is the bog standard shooter and hardcore makes the enemies and their enemy fire bigger. Two time attack modes are available, one around clearing waves within a time limit and one to clear as much as you can within 90 seconds. The fact that the waves are randomly generated does reduce the impact of these though. The fifth mode gives you 100 bullets to get 100 enemies shot. This balances speed and precision and is a nice change of pace. All the modes are then mixed up in the challenge mode too.
The main problem with SDDX2 is the exact same problem the original had – after three minutes you’ve seen everything. Enemies aren’t even reskinned nevermind upgraded or altered as you progress through the game. All you are doing is chasing the score multiplier but the chase gets old fast because there’s so little variety in the enemies coming your way. Add to that the lack of powerups, different weapons, repetitive wave layouts and you have something that loses its sheen way too quickly.
It is such a shame that the base game is so well put together and then nothing comes of it. I feel like adding in proper levels, enemy variations and some special bosses – you’d have a gem of an arcade game to enjoy. Instead, its a bit of an empty husk. I also feel like its designed to provide a 20 minute platinum trophy, not a fully rounded experience. I do hope a 3rd game completes the series where the boat is pushed out properly and some risks are taken to marry up the excellent base with some engaging level design. Until then, its an arcade scoreboard challenge enthusiasts game only.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Super Destronaut DX2
Bright, bold, colourful and retro-tastic.
Plays like you imagine retro games do with a rose tinted glasses.
After its initial wow and enjoyment, it gets old fast.
Feels like its built to give you a 20 minute platinum - not a fully rounded game experience.
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