Wildsnake Pinball: Invasion
Think of two game genres, any two... Done?
OK, did you think of Pinball and Space Invaders? Didn't think so. Fortunately, Wildsnake Software, who have already made several pinball games, have been thinking for you, and they've come up with Pinball: INVASION!
If you haven't played either a pinball game, or space invaders, then explaining INVASION! might be a little difficult. For pinball, you have a ball, flippers, targets and a gap to lose your ball. For space invaders, you have a ship, weapons and some invaders (from space!). Mix these two together and your pinball becomes a weapon to fight off the attacking nasties. With me so far?
First impressions of this genre melder are very positive. Level One introduces you to the main game mechanics, including your shield, pickups and enemy fire. As you progress, you'll find the occasional boss and more advanced pickups. There really isn't a learning curve in INVASION! as you start in the thick of things.
An early gameplay issue does rear its head though. Pinball is something of a fine art to master, so having the skills to repel an attacking enemy force with only a ball and two flippers can sometimes be annoying, especially when enemy fire can ultimately destroy your flippers. Fortunately, a quick read of the Help file told me that I could return fire, using enemy shots as my ammo - bonus!
Presentation and graphics are excellent in INVASION! I particularly liked the damage effects on your flippers and the shield which arcs from flipper to flipper when activated. A wide variety of enemy ships and bosses ensure that you don't get bored, whilst game backgrounds, in-game display and ball effects all help to add sheen.
Sound effects match the graphics, with an ambient sound throughout gameplay that goes well with the occasion. All powerup and mission data is narrated to you by a female robotic voice that wouldn't go amiss in an episode of Star Trek. Music is non-existent, an omission that helps rather than harms the feel of the game.
Unfortunately, some problems do exist in the game. The nature of pinball means that you often miss your targets whilst playing and this can lead to frustration, most notably when you are on your last invader. I also found the nudge controls to be a waste of time, as they never have any effect.
Whilst I have plenty of praise towards INVASION!, I do find myself a little torn on the final review score. I did enjoy the experience and would recommend it to anyone, but the game is something of a one-trick pony and you'll reach the end quickly. Perhaps Wildsnake Software should include this as a mini-game with their next proper pinball release?
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