Star Invasion
| Star Invasion

If we ever do make contact with beings from another world (and they don't immediately draw their guns and start shooting us down en masse), I suspect we're going to be more than a little disappointed.

Stories – whether films, books or television shows – where the alien race's intent is entirely admirable are rare, while gaming's take on our friends far away almost always depicts their positively murderous side.

If they don't want us dead, they certainly want us out of the way.

They came from the stars

Fans of such portrayals will be pleased to hear that, as the game's name suggests, Star Invasion shows aliens in typically ruthless form, sending fleets of ships towards a series of planets, intent on shooting down their defences and invading to expand their empire.

If you hadn't already guessed, taking them out before they have a chance to do their evil deeds is your job.

Planet by planet, you control your ship as it auto fires at the lines of craft as they snake their way towards the planet's surface. As you shoot them down, power ups come your way, from increasing the number of lasers shooting out of your ship to providing you with a shield.

Stripped to its bare bones, this is Space Invaders in a new skin, with some strategic elements – including targeting set coloured ships rather than firing blindly – added to make play feel fresh.

Take-out targets

To an extent, such additions work.

Exploding blue ships, for instance, take out any other craft in line with them horizontally, while green ships do the same thing vertically.

It's an element of play that almost takes Star Invasion into Bejewelled territory, the decision of who to fire on first ensuring you engage with each stage more tactically than you might otherwise.

It's no revolution on the standard space shooter model, in truth, but then it's unlikely it was ever intended to be. Though Star Invasion offers little more than arcade cabinets did 30 years ago, it still manages to make firing at a familiar foe as fun as ever.

Star Invasion

Space Invaders for a new age, Star Invasion feels familiar without being totally derivative, serving up a smart shooter that doesn't take itself too seriously
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.