Game: Super Destronaut DX-2
Genre: Arcade, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Xbox, PS4 and PS5)
Developer|Publisher: Petite Games | Ratalaika Games
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £4.99 | US $ 4.99 | EU € 4,99
Release Date: July 2nd, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Ratalaika Games
The Invaders are Coming
Super Destronaut DX-2 is a coffee game that wears its Space Invaders inspiration on its sleeve, or space ship in this case. Any game with nods to a classic is always worth a look in my book. So does this alien space shooter scratch that arcade itch? Let’s insert a metaphorical coin, press start and find out.
Super Destronaut DX-2 is a single screen space shooter. The premise is simple; shoot down waves and waves of pixelated enemies and aim for that high score. Unlike Space Invaders, your ship is not just confined to the bottom of the screen. You can freely move across the entire screen which is important as sometimes enemies (and sometimes luminous fish) will spawn behind you. Your ship also rapidly fires. So basically turning this into Space Invaders with a machine gun.
It does a good job of creating its own persona. The aliens won’t go down easy. They fire back at you with various attacks forcing you to manoeuvre your ship through some tricky situations. Additionally, there are nice touches, like, sometimes an alien you shoot down will become colourless and fall towards you becoming a potential hazard you need to swerve out the way of. A familiar saucer will also fly across the top of the screen dropping a power-up by taking it down. It easily pulls off the addictive arcade feel. When I sat down intending to have a quick session it usually went on longer than I expected.
A Mode For Each Mood
The game offers a variety of arcade modes. You have the typical classic mode where you just take out waves and waves of aliens, surviving for as long as possible. You then have two time attack modes, one where you can gain more time by scoring more points and the other where you only have 90 seconds to get the best score possible. There’s also a hardcore mode which is pretty self-explanatory. The most interesting for me was Bullet mode, which gives your ship a limited number of shots but the enemies are much weaker. If you run out of ammo it’s game over.
It’s a unique spin on the rapid-fire formula where you need to make every shot count and it’s easily where I sunk most of my time into this game. Each mode carries a high score which you can attempt to beat. The game doesn’t feature any online modes so you can only compare your own score. As well as the arcade mode there are also several challenges you can complete which mixes all the above modes with modifiers adding more length to the experience. These challenges get progressively harder as you make your way through and can also kinda act as decent tutorials on how to play each of the core arcade modes.
The graphics are nice neon pixels set against a decent looking scrolling vector background. Aliens are bright luminous sprites that stand out against the dark ground very much mimicking Space Invaders. When you destroy an alien, sparks fly and a score pops out adding to the games endearing arcade feel. Your ship is a very simple sprite that feels a little underdeveloped compared to the rest of the graphics but rarely will you have time to focus on this due to all the insanity going on screen.
My only niggle is when the sparky explosions and laser beams fill the screen, it does become very hard to monitor where incoming enemy fire is coming from. Sometimes I died or took a hit by some projectile I swear I could not see. It feels like maybe the flare could be toned down a touch. The game screen also feels just a touch too zoomed in and claustrophobic. It feels my above niggle would be more manageable if there was more space to manoeuvre.
Conclusion – Arcade Break
Super Destronaut DX-2 certainly scratches that arcade itch. If you like simple high score chasing space shooters this is one of the good price titles in that category. It doesn’t do much to reinvent the formula, but I can easily see myself jumping back into this during a much-needed coffee break. Though I do imagine I will probably forget to drink my coffee.
Final Verdict: I Like it