Oh how I yearn for a simple life. Sometimes, well maybe a lot of the time, I do not wish to learn 100 hit combos or wonder if those leather boots would be better against magic attacks than the dragon toothed sandals I just purchased (hmmmmm looking good though, but no socks please!). Sometimes I only need a quick fix of Space Invaders just to remind me of why I got into gaming in the first place… well that and Operation Wolf anyway!
Duael Invaders, which is developed by Laughing Jackal and is available as a Minis title for PS3, PSP and PS Vita, is a neat twist on the Space Invaders concept that may well blow your mind… literally! It also has an interesting multiplayer to boot. Well I never!
The singleplayer mode sounds simple but is, quite frankly, crazy! You control two ships that move vertically along each side of your screen. Your enemies are in Space Invaders style waves in the middle of the screen and they also move along the vertical axis. So far, so Space Invaders. The enemies are coloured blue or red and in order to score highly you need to shoot these enemies with the correct colour ship. Now as you control both ships at the same time this becomes hugely problematic, as you attempt to clear waves of enemies without hitting either ship with each other’s fire and without being hit by your enemy.
Another addition called skew makes things even harder on you as the more same coloured enemies you take out with one ship, the more fire the other ship will take from any remaining enemies. Trying to keep a balance is just as important as dodging fire and can become hugely frustrating as your eyes and brain struggle to cope with handling two ships at once (I know I am a man and I cannot multitask but seriously two ships…!).
The Multiplayer mode however is where the whole concept of Duael Invaders comes together very nicely indeed and suddenly you stop fighting the madness of the singleplayer mode and settle into more familiar territory with the co-op and Vs modes. The versus mode has you and a friend, on the same Vita, take control of either ship and attempt to take out the wave of aliens and each other. This mode is easier to get to grips with, but is no less frenetic than the singleplayer, as you battle it out against a friend to wipe each other out. Co-op, meanwhile, takes the fun even further by having both players share the same lives, score and multiplier, all in an effort to destroy as many waves of aliens as you can. This mode really shines through, particularly as you communicate strategy with your friend and still usually end up shooting each other through your enemies gunfire.
Controls are very simple, well they need to be really. To control the left ship you use the up and down buttons on your D-pad and you fire with the Right button or the L shoulder button. The right ship is controlled by the Triangle and X buttons for vertical movement and the Square or R shoulder button to fire. The controls are set up so that two players can play the game on the same Vita at the same time.
The game’s art style is shall we say basic, but to be fair the game doesn’t need to show off anything in particular that is relevant to any story or gameplay mechanic, and it is probably easier on your eyes and brain if what your trying to keep track of on screen is not too detailed.
As you may have noticed from my review so far, I struggled with the single player mode, and I started to dislike the game because of it. However the game and its concept seem more suited to multiplayer, and this is where the majority of fun is to be had. Versus mode is as competitive as anything out there and the co-op mode is where I think the genius of the whole concept comes through clearly. The fact that multiplayer is played on one console, by two people, at the same time is something that I have not come across on the Vita yet and I think it is a brilliant idea that deserves more credit than it will get.
Overall then, Duael Invaders comes across as a fresh and smart twist on the old Space Invaders. Maybe a bit too smart for its own good in single player, but pull in a friend and this may be the best way to kill a few minutes yet!
At A Glance
- Title: Duael Invaders
- Publisher: Laughing Jackal
- System: PSP Minis
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 12Mb