This title was reviewed on PS4, but is also available on Xbox One and PC.
Zeroptian Invasion is a retro sci-fi shooter developed and published by Josyan, attempting to replicate the Space Invaders arcade games of old, painting a picture in rose tinted glasses of one of gaming’s very first marvels. Will it bring nostalgic joy to my cold heart or will it simply act as a benchmark for how far gaming has come? Let’s find out:
As you might imagine a game that is essentially emulating a 1980’s arcade game isn’t going to be teeming with beauty in its visuals. Here we see a basic reimagination of the old CRT screens that were used back when Space Invaders was around in a setting that lets you choose between a CRT filter or just standard pixel art; Neither of which are very interesting. Simple colour schemes don’t leave much to the imagination, leaving you feeling a bit dull while playing. The screen is set in a kind of rectangle down the middle of your screen -top to bottom- to illustrate the shape of an arcade machine. The remaining space is adorned with an admittedly beautiful illustration of all manner of aliens and creatures. Honestly I can’t find much to love here, yes it’s certainly a nostalgia bringer but sometimes that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Coming here to a dull black and white screen is just kind of meh. Sure the decorative illustration around the screen is nice but it plays no bearing on the game other than to fill the space around your screen. I understand what’s trying to be done here but instead of trying to maybe update and improve on the Space Invaders graphics of old, here we just see a total imitation of it without new ideas or interesting visual aspects other than a totally inconsequential picture.
You get a little paragraph telling you that the Zeroptian’s have invaded again (thank you for that, I’d never have guessed by the title alone) and off you go, that’s it as far as I can tell. I get it as a love letter to an arcade game, the narrative isn’t exactly important but this is another aspect where effort to reinvent could have been made. Adding a story, adding context to why exactly you’re killing every side to side moving alien in the known universe would be nice…wouldn’t it?
Everyone’s played Space Invaders haven’t they? You move side to side avoiding your similarly horizontally moving enemies gunfire while you simultaneously try and blast them into oblivion. It’s simple, as video games were back then. Once again this brings me back to the question that plagued me so frequently whilst playing Zeroptian Invasion, why? Why not try to innovate a little, bring something new to the table. The genre of sci-fi scrolling shooters has been saturated with all sorts of titles each bringing something of their own to the table. While here we see nothing new at all. The addition of power-ups maybe? Not exactly groundbreaking, not really anything more than maybe toilet-bowl-shaking honestly. Especially when the power-ups aren’t explained and they seem quite useless.
A VERY very repetitive piece of music that is incessantly annoying. There isn’t much more I can say here. The ‘pew pew’ of the lasers sounds..good? Not really much sound design to discuss here. It’s not and never was a major part of the game it’s trying so hard to imitate so there’s no reason for it to be a major part.
While I do definitely understand where Zeroptian Invasion was coming from, there is simply almost no actual reason for you to play it unless you have a really bad craving for Space Invaders. This could have been rectified I feel if there had been any use of new ideas or new features for the game to make use of. But there just wasn’t. Just recycled ideas for nostalgic players.