Monday, September 24, 2012

Review Rewind: Invasion Earth: 1953

Endless SHMUPs really are a rarity on the iDevice. Other than Gunrazor, we now have Hypership Out Of Control, Parallax and Wonton 51, not to mention the fantastic Bullet-Hell title, Phoenix. But one that's been a favorite of mine, especially since receiving a little poster for it from a friend, is Invasion Earth: 1953. With some great upgrades, and progressive difficulty, there's loads of replay value, and a drive for score-chasing that's been tweaked just right, making it pretty addictive. If you haven't bought Invasion Earth yet, no worries; it's now FREE, so snag it, and have some fun with this awesome endless shooter. 

**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.1.

Invasion Earth: 1953 is an endless shoot-em-up developed by 285 Digital. This is their first real game that’s been released for the iOS, and boy is it a great one. The AppStore has desperately needed a quality endless shmup for a long time now. We do have Gunrazor, but really, after about Wave 5, it’s just not very interesting. Invasion Earth: 1953 has filled a void on our devices, and really, we couldn’t be more grateful for it. 


The game takes place in 1953, after World War 2, when tensions were still high, and the threat of invasion, both from other countries, and from space, were on the minds of everyone in the world. You’ll take the reigns of a UFO going up against the military, blasting them all to pieces. And better yet, it’s endless, so the difficulty just increases as you progress. This makes it a great game for casual and hardcore shmup gamers.
The game’s upgrade system is given to us in the Tiny Wings style. You will need to complete 3 different objectives in order to gain a power-up that will help you go further in the game, and get higher and higher scores. There are 31 objectives, and 12 different power-ups. Sometimes giving you a stronger magnet that will pull items to you from further away, other times giving you stronger abilities, or a permanent additional life to sacrifice in-game.

While you’re flying through the city, destroying helicopters, planes, and various aircraft bosses, each of the enemies will give you stars when destroyed. These stars add to your score multiplier, and fill up your ability gauge. There’s also random enemies that will drop weapon upgrades, and these are always highlighted by a little arrow that says “pickup” hovering next to it. When they’re destroyed, they’ll drop a hexagon shaped orb, when picked up, your weapon will get stronger.
You will always have 3 abilities that you can use when your ability gauge fills up. You’ll be able to choose between Magnet Power, which automatically draws all stars straight to you when enemies are destroyed, Shield, which absorbs enemies projectiles, and Laser, which lets you drag your finger on the right side of the screen to control a large powerful laser, each lasting a short period of time.

While you’re traveling through the city, you’ll be able to go through bonus rounds. These sort of signify the end of a wave, and start the next one when completed. Each bonus round has a certain amount of stars that you’ll need to try and collect. There’s also a health pick-up somewhere in the bonus level, which will take some quick maneuvering in order to snag. Collecting all the stars in a bonus round will give you a special perfect bonus round bonus score, which also helps with climbing the leader boards.
The graphics in Invasion Earth are extremely polished, and presented very well. The planes are graphically made to look the time period, and the animations are awesome, especially the animations for enemies blowing up, and the UFO being shot down. The music also adds quite a bit to the edge of your seat feeling you’ll have when playing through the game. The controls are also done extremely well, giving a 1:1 relative touch control that works perfectly, along with a little hit box on the UFO that’s easy to see, and great to use while dodging through enemy fire. However, your ship does cover up enemies projectiles when going over them, so perfectly maneuvering through enemy fire can be difficult, though not impossible. 

285 Digital has presented an extremely well made, and very polished, professional shmup. One that is endless, with the difficulty rising perfectly. Casual gamers, as well as hardcore players will find Invasion Earth: 1953 extremely entertaining, and very easy to pick up and play. Right now, later in the game, there is some slowdown. After you hit around 200,000 points, you’ll notice that the frame-rate gets a little out of hand, and there’s some noticeable lag and jitteriness. The developers have commented on this, and have said that they are working on a solution to the problem by staying in contact with the #1 score holder on GameCenter, so hopefully this issue will be addressed soon. Aside from that one issue, and the UFO covering up enemies projectiles when going over them, I can not find anything else wrong with the game. It’s got loads of style, an awesome scoring system, fantastic gameplay, 3 GameCenter leader boards, endless replayabilty, and personality out the kazoo. Being $1.99, it’s an awesome buy, and one that every shmup fan should get as soon as possible.

**Note - Invasion Earth: 1953 is now available for FREE instead of $1.99.


I haven't played this one in while, but it used to be in my top five!

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