It’s been almost 35 years since those Space Invaders first threatened the small change of mankind’s pockets. They were slow and pretty stupid, but they were endless. And they really wanted that money.
They deserved it, too. Space Invaders was simple, yet drenched in fun. In Radiant HD, developer Hexage invokes the spirit of that classic arcade game, and produces something containing those same vital ingredients.Kings of Neon Radiant HD's faux-retro neon visuals - which seems to be so fashionable these days - strike you immediately. The game looks and sounds undeniably gorgeous, with enemies glowing menacingly and shots creating familiar ‘pew pew’ sound effects.
In Radiant HD, enemies flock from either side of the screen, often accompanied by bigger and slower ships. Your fighter is tasked with battling its way through oncoming waves of baddies, end-of-level bosses, and the occasional asteroid field.
Blast it all
'Thanks' to your aggressive foes (they’ll often break rank and come right for you) and the upgrade shops slotted between levels, there’s a sense of challenge and progression that makes the game undeniably compelling and more than just a simple remake.
Using credits from fallen rivals, you can unlock weapons, each with a particular use. This means you often have to swap out your firearm to adapt to enemy formations. For example, the disruptor laser travels through a vertical line of ships, damaging everything in its path, while the homing missiles are useful for circumnavigating the endless barrage encountered in boss fights.
The Xperia Play’s controls are welcome for two reasons: they give you a bit more viewing room on-screen, and they allow for sharper turning with the D-pad.
If there’s a fault in the game’s retro credentials, it’s that the music isn’t as interesting, catchy, or urgent as it should be. Instead, I find it’s a little too relaxed and ambient, but, of course, this is just my own personal taste.
The implementation of the old-fashioned life system is more off-putting, in truth, for you sometimes end up stuck fighting and re-fighting a very difficult boss with only one or two lives, when it seems you need the time and expense of a third.
Apart from that, there is a lot of enjoyment to be gleaned from Radiant HD. Even though it’s relatively short, it’s certainly worth surrendering your small change to.