Release Date: January 11th, 2018
Price as of Article: $2.99 USD, £2.69 GBP
Energy Invasion is a rather busy game. Honestly the visuals just look like a tech demo on how this game can handle particle effects. From the shots fired, to the breaking of bricks, to the padel itself, everything is littered with particles. You will see so many dots on the screen that you will never want to see dots ever again as long as you live.
The backgrounds are lifeless, in that they are essentially just completely black. Dark and lifeless, void of light, an apocalyptic look into the very nature of humanity. Is this stylistic choice a commentary on the decaying world in which we now live, or was it just the easiest option they had? My guess is the latter.
A positive I can say about Energy Invasion is that the menus function well. There is text, and the text does what it says it will do. It is readable, which is a must. They have succeeded in achieving the average visual standards of what a menu should be, and how one should function.
The game runs. When I start up the game, it works without a hitch. When I play the game, it runs exactly how you’d wish. Frame dips you won’t see, it is just how a game should be. To my horror, the game still runs.
Bad poetry aside, Energy Invasion runs smoothly. This isn’t surprising considering the game isn’t really doing anything crazy. Graphically the game is tame, and it doesn’t have to deal with a bunch of button inputs, so it would be a shock if it didn’t run well. This game has a lot of problems, but the performance isn’t one of those. In fact, it is the one bright spot Energy Invasion has.
Musically, Energy Invasion’s soundtrack is essentially broken down into drawn out dubstep style chiptunes, with sprinklings of generic synth slathered on top. You will also curiously hear the sound of bongo drums. It is a mish mash of music, an assault on the senses that is grating and painful to listen to. Thankfully there is an option to turn the music off, one that I recommend taking advantage of, lest you lose your sanity. There are sound effects too, but they essentially break down to just pop pop pop noises that you will also want to turn off in a hurry.
Energy Invasion is your basic Breakout inspired game with a twist. You control your padel at the bottom of the screen, moving it left and right as you try and keep a ball from falling past your padel. There are also small rectangle shapes above you which you need to destroy in order to move on to the next stage. This is continued until all stages are completed.
Where this game differs however, is that you don’t destroy the bricks above you with the ball you are juggling, but rather you fire shots from the ball which are what destroys them. If you think that sounds like an interesting take on an old arcade classic, then you would be sorely mistaken.
Essentially, the left stick acts as a typical Breakout like game, moving the padel around. Unfortunately this feels rather imprecise, and the padel never moves quite how you would want it to. There is a reason this genre has mostly moved to touch controls, but the gimmick this game has added forces the need to use the left stick in this one.
That gimmick is firing shots from the ball you are trying to keep on screen. You use the right stick to aim and fire shots, much like you would in a twin stick shooter. This also doesn’t control how you want, with the shot firing not controlled by you personally, but in timed increments. The timing of the shots however feels like they change between each shot, which makes aiming at anything a lost cause. In short, the controls are nowhere near where they need to be.
Besides the game itself, there are also obstacles you must avoid. In some stages there will be crystal clumps that act as turrets, firing shots at your padel. The shots these crystals fire bounce off of not only the ball, but the shots you fire from it as well. This causes utter chaos, and makes predicting where these shots will come at you impossible.
Along the way you will gain powerups. How you gain them is a mystery, with the game bestowing them upon you at random for seemingly no reason. You will be playing a level and all of a sudden your padel will extend, the shots you are firing will change, or a beam will appear at the bottom of the screen that doesn’t allow the ball through. Having no power over these abilities does not feel good at all, and the seemingly random nature of them seems cheap.
Does it work?
In short, no. The merging of a Breakout like and twin stick shooter sounded very intriguing to me, hence why I undertook this review. As it stands, the merging of these two styles just has not worked here in the slightest.
*This review was written by Lachlan Bruce for SwitchWatch
Is this game worth your hard earned cash? Energy Invasion is one of the cheapest games on the eShop store right now. Taking the price into consideration, I can easily recommend that you stay away from this game as much as humanly possible. For the price of Energy Invasion, you could buy a lot more joyous items. A cheap coffee, a hard boiled lolly, a bottle of water, or just pay for your parking. Please save your money on this one.
The menus work