Super Destronaut DX Review
Developer: Petite Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Release Date: 13 July 2018
Price: $4.99 / £4.99
Reviewed by Phil Myth
Developer Petite Games are fostering quite a reputation for bringing small but well put together games to Nintendo Switch. Their latest release is an interpretation of the eternally imitated Space Invaders, in the form of Super Destronaut DX. It's yet another title that has existed in some for or another on both Wii U and 3DS, and is now getting a run out on the new hot-to-trot hybrid system.
If it ain't broke
As mentioned it's a relatively straightforward Space Invaders type shooter. Armies of colourful aliens descend from the top of the screen and it's your job to blast them out of the sky before they do precisely that to you. The enemy ships themselves are reasonably varied, with different colours and shapes identifying what attacks they're likely to launch in your direction.
The straight down shots of red and green aliens are easy enough to avoid, but the curving shots from the pink blighters, or the triple bullet spread of the larger yellow enemies, make staying alive much more arduous than you'd expect. There's no intimidating boss fights to come across though, so despite the variation in enemy design, multiple waves soon start feeling a little repetitive.
There's no defences for you to hide behind either, so you really need your wits about you if you're going to increase that multiplier and rack up a high score. Fortunately, you do have a blaster to your name, and you can also take down the occasional large orange ship in order to earn a timed upgrade. From lasers that cut through entire rows, to homing missiles that track down their target, they're all pretty effective and fun to use.
There's a half decent selection of game modes on offer too. Naturally you can go for as high a score as possible in the classic mode, and the inclusion of online leaderboards will keep you coming back to try and improve your ranking. A time attack mode adds a little variety too, and you can even hand the second JoyCon to a friend for some pretty intense multiplayer.
Rage to the Challenge
The real challenge though lies in the, err, challenges. In these you're given certain objectives - clear a set number of waves or reach a certain score for example - thus giving you something else to think about besides just blasting as many aliens as you can before you yourself get obliterated. Some of these are absolutely solid too, so you won't be breezing through all 30 inside ten minutes.
Speaking of getting obliterated, it happens frequently and can be rather frustrating. Because as well as the bullets being aimed your way by the celestial interlopers, greyed out enemies - that you can't shoot - also fly along the ground, background to foreground, towards your position before exploding on impact.
There'll be several occasions where you're deftly tracking the path of laser fire only to smash headlong into a greyed out enemy, destroying your run. It's frankly infuriating, and given the amount of carnage on screen at times anyway, starts to feel incredibly cheap.
The production quality though, ain't cheap in the slightest. Everything looks spectacularly bright and vibrant, the electronica that accompanies the action sets the retro mood perfectly, and there's even some minor voice work that lets you know what powerup you got, or if your multiplier has expired. It may just be moving and firing, but the controls are nice and tight too. It's a well put together package.
All in all, Super Destronaut DX isn't going to win any prizes for originality, but if you're in the mood for some classic arcade shooting action, it's a well put together effort. Some deaths can feel a little cheap and frustrating, but the challenges and online leaderboards give you enough incentive to shake it off and dive in for one more run.
Pros & Cons
+ Slick production value
+ Tough yet engaging challenges
+ Online leaderboards
- Some cheap deaths
- Fairly repetitive