I simply don't know how Taito keeps doing it. Space Invaders isn't just a limited concept, it's a very, very old limited concept.
And yet, after basking in the splendour of Space Invaders Infinity Gene on iPhone, we now have a spectacular re-engineering of the original shmup for the mobile, too.
Admittedly this mobile reimagining comes from the Xendex studio rather than the Japanese studio itself, but still - hats off to all involved.
Space Invaders Evolution isn't just a clever name. The developer has treated the original material with the utmost respect, and then brought it very much up to date while still wrapped in a recognisable retro skin.
The game begins with a pretty basic rendition of the 1978 classic coin-op, which is great, but not exactly the evolution the title promises. However, this serves as an introduction to the revamped graphics and control system, and quickly mutates into a surprisingly high octane shooter.
The alien invaders come in waves, rather than as the traditional big block of enemies all moving in unison. Here we're seeing small clusters of attackers moving independently; some faster, some stronger, but all working their way down the screen to get to your cannon.
Your defensive cannon can be set to autofire or manual. This is actually quite a careful decision to make, as taking out the UFOs that pass along the top of the screen now drops short-lived power-ups, which autofire can easily waste between waves of invaders.
And you'll want these power-ups as often as you can get them, since the action is red hot throughout. The original Space Invaders game was pretty slow moving, but Evolution isn't easily accused of that.
The addition of boss battles really brings the game in line with modern shooters, yet maintains its valuable heritage by requiring you to shoot out the pixels of a giant invader while avoiding its return fire.
All in all this is a game that pays great homage to the arcade classic, but never sacrifices the intense, invigorating gameplay we expect from a modern shooter. Space Invaders Evolution really does put an arcade in your pocket.