First Impressions: Space Invaders Get Even

Players across the globe have been shooting aliens in the Space Invaders series for 30 years now but Taito has decided to put the shoe on the other foot this time as Space Invaders Get Even puts you in control of the Alien UFO, and your goal is to crush mankind once and for all!

Now that this game is out on the Japanese WiiWare service we took it upon ourselves to give you the inside scoop - is this epic tale of mankind's destruction something you might want to put on your wish list or not?

Controlling the action is pretty straightforward. The Wii remote and Nunchuk are used to control the UFO with the analogue stick moving the ship around, and the Wii Remote controlling an on-screen pointer to direct the alien attack. The B-button cycles through five different attack formations. These include a standard attack, a screw attack, a bomb formation and more. The A-button is used to fire your chosen formation. You are given a maximum of 100 invaders to use in these attacks, but because each formation uses a different amount of invaders, and each one requires different reload times, choosing the correct one for the job is vital.

Unfortunately for you and your alien buddies, those pesky humans won’t sit back and watch while you wreak havoc on the landscape. They will do everything they can to blast your little spaceship out of the sky. Tanks, planes, helicopters, battleships and gun turrets are everywhere and each have their own firing patterns to weave through. If you get hit by these projectiles you could lose precious invaders which will leave you with less attacking and defensive power. However, if you find yourself bombarded with bullets and low on invaders, all is not lost. Shaking the Wii Remote will bring reserve invaders out of your ship and bring you back to full strength, but these reinforcements come at a price - using this feature has a negative impact on your score.

Each stage in ‘Get Even’ is split into three areas. At the start of the first two areas you are given a specific task to complete, whether it’s destroying certain structures or picking up a set amount of cows using your tractor beam. The tasks are nice and varied and provide a new challenge for each area so the game always feels fresh to play. The third area is boss level featuring large mechanical vehicles to take down.

Time is an important aspect of ‘Get even’ because all the areas in the game give you a time limit to complete the task at hand. This doesn’t mean you need to rush through the levels though, because every building or enemy you destroy will give you a time bonus and every hit you take reduces your time. With this system, an area can last up to four times its initial limit or it could be game over in 30 seconds; it all depends on how good you are. If you’re playing for a high score, the ultimate goal is to destroy everything in sight and level the whole landscape, but getting to this stage of proficiency obviously requires you to put in some serious practice.

Rather annoyingly the game is sold in four parts: there's a 500-point starter pack and three 500-point stage packs. The starter pack only contains one stage so unless you repeat this stage over and over for high scores, it will be a very short-lived experience. The stage packs are downloaded through the in-game shop and provide better value for money as they contain two stages each providing a further 6 areas to play through. Buying the whole lot for 2000 points will give you a fairly large game which could have been a full price retail release. Why this unorthodox distribution method has been chosen we're not quite sure, and it's a fair bet that many people will come away from the game feeling very short-changed but at least it allows you to sample what the game has to offer for a mere 500 points. If you like what you see then you can collect the other segments over a period of time. When the game is released in the West there's every chance this will change and the game may be sold 'complete' for something like 1500-2000 points. We shall see.

After taking a short period to get used to the controls, Space invaders Get Even proved to be a very fun and addictive game. We played the starter pack and stage pack A for this preview, so to find out how the later levels hold-up - and for the official, full-bodied WiiWare World verdict - check out the full review when the invaders launch their attack on the rest of the world.

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