Cake Invaders is nothing like Space Invaders, as per the comparison in the initial news piece. Sure, it features alien spaceships descending on your territory, and you have to blast them away, but it’s… different.
First off, let’s point out those arch’s that your protectors have to… erm, protect. They’re Baumkuchen cakes. We opened a thesis on Japanese style cakes already, but in short, they’re German-inspired treats that the aliens wish to destroy. Ack! The humanity. Well, you get what I mean.
Cake Invaders is lacking in the features department. There are no modes; time attacks, or split-screens – and worse: no multiplayer – easily the achilles of this game from Zoo Corporation and published by Eastasiasoft. It would have been the icing on the cake.
We usually use that expression to end on a positive, so I’m pleased to say that Cake Invaders is very good! With a soundtrack that refuses to let you sit with a glum face, we’re thrown into the action, pending you’ve read the tutorial, and embrace the often fast-paced pixel art mayhem.
You’ll initially control the first line of defence – a cute lil’ astronaut with a BFG. They’re placed on the centre of one of the cakes, there are five, but they can’t move and are fixed to the spot aside from when the enemies destroy the cake from under you.
So, you’ll target the incoming waves with an on-screen recital: where ever you point it, the guns will shoot in that direction. When starting out, your defences are dire, and you’ll inevitably suffer damage to your Baumkuchen. Alas, these are never reinstated – you can only get shield power-ups to protect the remnants – least, that’s all I’ve experienced.
If you can hold out long enough, the power-ups come through thick and fast. Other than the defences, you can recruit the useless crew members that run beneath you (they’re useless until they’re armed). Again, you can’t control where they go, but they’ll shoot where the recital goes. The more, the merrier.
Other boosts In Cake Invaders include an increase in the rate of fire and two special weapons. The primary weapon, which is more than sufficient in numbers and that rate of fire mentioned above, has unlimited ammo. The two specials (piercing and Dokkan bullets) do not. You press triangle or circle to activate them, and they’ll stay in place until you run out. I found myself saving these as some of the waves are overpowering, regardless of how many characters you have.
Waves are the focal point of the game. They’re endless. There are no levels/stages. It’s an endless survival experience with increasing enemies, more power-ups, and golden enemies every five levels that up the challenge. Other than that, that’s all there is to Cake Invaders.
What is the incentive of playing if you’ve seen everything in the first 15 minutes? Leaderboards. Since Hyper-5, that competitive streak has crept back in my life and a motivation to push through. On my first attempt, my rank was laughable and didn’t feature on the global leaderboard, but a few tries later and a significant jump in positions, I was in the top 10. Not for long.
I really like Cake Invaders. It’s simple, cute, and addictive. It’s doesn’t;t attempt to be anything other than what you see at face value. It was somewhat shocking that there’s no multiplayer as this would have added to the likelihood of it being played on rotation. I had to go back a couple of times to make sure there wasn’t the option, but after my daughter logged in, we both ended up having control over the same player with two different DualSenses.
I’ll finally mention that the endless wave element can be a bit of a challenge as some of the waves are indistinguishable. Then all of a sudden, two of three squadrons will appear simultaneously and take out your team, as well as the cake. NOOOOO!!! In short, it’s a fun indie shooter that I recommend to anyone looking to make a name for themself online and not looking for a feature-rich experience.