Poising itself as a “tribute” to Space Invaders, Doughlings Invasion is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the retro classic in a modern outfit.
Available now on Xbox One (and coming to other formats soon), Doughlings Invasion tasks you with making your way through dozens of levels, each with various enemies to shoot down. Hit those aliens in succession without missing a shot, and you’ll be rewarded with a power-up. Get hit with an incoming attack, and you’ll lose a life (and your attack chain). And, just like Space Invaders, those pesky aliens move from side to side, ever getting closer to the bottom of the screen.
Being a rehash of an arcade classic, then, Doughlings Invasion is very simple. But if you’re a fan of those precursors to modern gaming, then there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Just like Hero Concept’s last game, Doughlings Arcade, which gave us a modern version of Breakout, Invasion gets under your skin. And once you start playing, it can be hard to put down. You’re always chasing for that high score.
It’s hard not to be charmed by the game’s cutesy, cartoon style graphics. It’s bold and bright, with brash, colourful aliens filling your screen, set atop a range of various backgrounds.
While the gameplay doesn’t change up much, there are plenty of upgrades to unlock which will increase your firepower. There’s also a range of different characters, each having their own attacks and special abilities. But even with these upgrades, Doughlings Invasion isn’t a walk in the park. Just like the original games it’s aping, it requires skill, precision and patience. Don’t let its cute style put you off; it means business.
There are more games than ever vying for our attention these days. With realistic graphics, gripping storylines, and all kinds of immersive gameplay, it’s hard to imagine why you’d want to revert back to the 70s with something as simple as a Space Invaders knock-off. But there’s something charming in its simplicity. Sometimes you want to play something that doesn’t require you to be invested in a narrative or a character arc; something that’s easy to pick up (but hard to master). That’s exactly what Doughlings Invasion is. If you’re a sucker for a retro throwback, it’s worth adding to your library.