Is Beat Invaders the perfect game? I don’t know, you tell me. I will tell you this: it’s fantastic. Developer Raffaele Picca reached out to me with a code (there’s your disclosure), and within minutes of installing, I was balls deep in gameplay.
I absolutely love this game. Getting a handful of achievements where only 0.1% of folk have them is <ahem> liberating – especially when the game is already out, so that puts it into perspective. When this review is posted, the game will have been out for a whole week. Getting 0.1% and finishing a game on the difficult mode also adds inches to your schlong.
Promoted as a Space Invaders inspired title with a twist, the dev had me at hello. If we kept the email exchange going, he could have had my PIN as this indie has bewitched me. Again, the perfect game? Subjective, but I have zero complaints.
Let’s quickly get that Space Invaders achievement done as Beat Invaders isn’t remotely in the former’s shadow. Yes, there are some similarities: waves of invaders scroll left and right, dropping a line (not that sort) as they get closer, you having to defend your convoys, then a big bastard spaceship that pops up now and again full of credits to loot. That’s it. Everything else is in a class of its own.
First up will be your first spaceship (one of three), and without any instructions, you’ll head straight into battle without a single tutorial. It’s not needed as there’s only one button for shoot, a second for dashing to the side – once unlocked. There are no specials as such, other than beefing up your arsenal and a BFG attack equivalent that can slay a wave in seconds.
While Beat Invaders only has one command, the three different ships have specials. Besides the starter, you’ll have a slow-moving ship that has a spray shot and a swifter ship that shreds ‘columns’ of enemies with a single shot, but is made out of hollow chocolate and cracks easily. To counter these flaws, there’s a levelling up system that is spot-on.
Between each wave is an upgrade option to improve for that run, pending you have the credits. The interchangeable buffs include ship speed, rate of fire and healing your ship, but each vessel has dedicated upgrades like more ammo, better spread, faster charging and go-faster stripes to put on the side. Alas, I made that last one up.
Picking the Spreadshot, you’d start with a speed disadvantage but could take two more hits compared to the Railgun vessel. Invest in some speed and then ammo, then shred through wave after wave. Likewise, beef up the Railgun by adding these additional drone-like attachments, and you’ll survive even longer. But best of all, there are permanent upgrades where you can increase your ship health, shields for the convoys with intermittent lasers, but arguably one of the best unlocks – improved score multipliers.
With an online leaderboard that shows your ranking after every wave, it’s a huge incentive to keep pushing. I wouldn’t even be classed as ‘the tip’ when I started but would leapfrog the positions and admittedly chase a top ten finish. Just once will be enough. But what warrants a game over in Beat Invaders? If all four of your convoys or ship are destroyed, you start a new run. Believe me; if you’re a shmup fan, you’ll be playing this on repeat to the point of addiction – I can’t get enough of it.
After a while, repetition can set in, but the achievements and leaderboard are encouraging. Admittedly, there wasn’t one point where I got bored with this game, so I decided to try the hardest difficulty: Hyper mode. I’m not a particularly good gamer, but this was my jam, and the added speed was perfect, and it was the first time I reached the boss on this mode. Perhaps the urgency encouraged this? While Hyper is great, I’ve already written off 100% completion as one of the achievements is to beat the boss without taking a single hit. No chance. The others? Yeah – doable!
As mentioned at the start, the dev reached out to me, but I’d wholeheartedly recommend this to any shmup fan. My dad swears that Space Invaders is the best game of all time, so once his rig is sorted, I’m going to treat him to this. Having received a review code, I’ll go on record and say I’d buy this in a heartbeat. I haven’t touched upon the gorgeous visuals or the perfectly fitting soundtrack. Instead, I’d suggest you check it out for yourself. Easily one of my favourite shoot ’em ups, no question about it.