Review: Super Destronaut DX (PS4)

Super Destronaut DX is basically Space Invaders, as no doubt you’ve already surmised from glancing at the screenshots on this page. It mixes up the formula a little bit, but otherwise it’s essentially the same as the classic 1970s arcade game. Although slightly worse in some cases, and better in others.

One major difference is that the invaders take a few hits before they die, rather than popping out of existence with a single, well-timed shot. This change is no doubt because of the huge sprites, which mean there are relatively few aliens on screen – making them harder to kill prolongs the waves a bit. Each type of invader also has a different way of firing – some fire double or triple shots, while others shoot homing missiles. And sometimes there’s an orange raider at the top that gives you a power up when you destroy it – super powered lasers, for example, which tear through the aliens and allow you to quickly complete a wave.

I quite like the music that accompanies the killing, and especially the way it slows down momentarily when you get a power up, as everything plunges into slow motion. The invaders also explode in a satisfying shower of sparks – but these sparks are also incredibly annoying because they mask the path of the alien bullets. I died numerous times because I couldn’t see a bullet until it was right on top of me.

And speaking of dying, the action doesn’t stop at all when you lose one of your three lives – I can’t decide whether this is a good thing or bad thing. It means there’s no let up in the action, but it also makes losing a life feel almost inconsequential. The screen shake when you blow up baddies, however, is most definitely annoying. Thankfully there’s an option to turn it off in the menus – if only there was an option to turn off those bullet-masking explosions, too.

And that’s about all there is to say about Super Destronaut DX. There’s a Challenge mode consisting of 30 levels with goals like hitting a high score within a certain time limit, but they were all pretty easy to breeze through. There’s also a Time Attack mode and Hardcore mode where you only have one life. But after an hour I’d seen pretty much everything the game had to offer – and scooped up all of the Trophies, to boot. The cynic in me suspects that these easy-to-achieve Trophies are a way to get Trophy-hunters to buy the game, as recently reported on Eurogamer.

There’s little reason to come back to the game once you’ve nabbed those Trophies – the few tricks the game has get old very quickly, and there’s no real sense of progression. Once you’ve seen all the various colours of invader, the game has nothing new to offer – a shame, because there are so many ways you could innovate on the old Space Invaders formula. Indeed, Space Invaders Infinity Gene from 2009 did just that, with constantly evolving gameplay. At £3.99, Super Destronaut DX is certainly cheap, but it’s hard to recommend unless you’re looking for an easy way to up your Trophy collection.

Super Destronaut DX is available for Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Vita. We reviewed the PS4 version.

Disclosure statement: Review code for Super Destronaut DX was provided by Ratalaika Games. A Most Agreeable Pastime operates as an independent site, and all opinions expressed are those of the author.