Though it’s probably safe to assume that most of us have heard of Space Invaders, it’s conceivable (given the age of the IP) that some have yet to play the game in one of its myriad versions. Bridging the time gap between a classic tribute and a slicker, modern take, Titan Attacks ($1.00) aims to acquaint you with the past, while simultaneously making you forget whatever it is you might have known about it.
The same retro hook applies— rows of enemies march defiantly downward, erasing the No Man’s Sky between you and them as time ticks on. You, of course, are limited to moving along the horizontal plane below, and need to prevent them running into you or being hit by their fire. Accuracy matters, as your shots are somewhat limited (at the start) to what they hit. Miss your targets, and you’ll have to wait briefly to fire again. It’s the classic tradeoff.
A few stages in (the game boasts dozens of waves, spread over five planet hubs, and each capped off by boss fights), however, Titan Attacks’ aliens begin to show off their new tricks, switching up the standard marching orders and changing attack patterns. This includes dive-bombing varieties, suicide runners, and heavier attacks to avoid and compensate for. More types of enemies and additional patterns are introduced as you progress, making each successive wave a tense and strategic fight.
To combat the added aggression, you can now upgrade your ship between levels, with cash dropped by the aliens or earned in the occasional bonus waves. This new currency quickly becomes indispensable, allowing you to add additional guns, buy smartbombs to bail you out when you’re backed into a corner, or increase your fire rate, among others. Money too, is limited and hard to come by, which makes your upgrade route just as important as your skill in battle.
This increasing difficulty and attention to detail means Titan Attacks is no slouch. Your game is only saved at the intermission between hub worlds, putting the burden on you to monitor your progress and stats. Keeping your shields stocked and holding some cash in reserve is essential, as dying near the end wave or at a boss fight will frustrate.
Ultimately, it’s worth the trouble. This XBLIG version of Titan Attacks comes long after the PC / Steam release, though it does have the nifty advantage of weighing in at a much cheaper price than those earlier iterations. With the classic formula turned on its head, and plenty of stages and features dipped in a contemporary frosting, Titan Attacks does more than enough to convince you to revisit an old favorite.