In 1978, Taito’s Space Invaders took Japanese arcades by storm, becoming one of the highest-grossing arcade games of all time. The game would become a success in international markets as well, going on to spawn numerous revisions and sequels in the early days of arcades. More than 40 years later, Space Invaders still enjoys a loyal following and occasional new releases. Most recently, that includes Space Invaders Invincible Collection for Nintendo Switch. With 10 games, three of which feature local co-op, this is certainly the series’ biggest and best collection to date.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection is interesting in that its lineup of games differs by version. Japan got two different versions plus a limited bonus game, the Sega Mega Drive version of Space Invaders 90, which is disappointingly not included in the English version of Invincible Collection. A slimmed-down version of Invincible Collection that includes only three games has been available for a while on both Switch and PlayStation 4 as Space Invaders Forever. The full version of Invincible Collection is exclusive to Switch and, in English markets, includes 10 built-in games and one downloadable game.
From a presentation perspective, Invincible Collection is a low-frills affair. The main menu allows for the section of the 10 built-in games and a limited number of additional options for certain games. From the main menu, all titles except for Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE have online leaderboards, and most games have instructions as well. The games selection menu includes a brief description of each game and when it came out, but there are no behind-the-scenes special features in the collection itself.
In-game pause menus offer a varying selection of options and features, such as save states for all games except Infinity Gene and Gigamax 4 SE, difficulty settings, customizable controls, optional scanlines, and video scaling. The screen can even be rotated to a “tate” mode in games that originally used a vertical screen orientation. Finally, all games except for Infinity Gene and Gigamax 4 SE offer new Challenge Modes that challenge players to achieve high scores within a short time limit. Overall, it’s a good array of features and options, though behind-the-scenes videos and artwork would have been appreciated.
Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV
Invincible Collection’s non-cooperative games include:
- Space Invaders Original Version (1978, arcade): The game that started it all featured a black-and-white display. Players fight endless waves of constantly descending invaders while employing the protection of four stationary shields.
- Space Invaders Color Version (1978, arcade): Following the original version’s success, the game was quickly released with a color monitor. The mirrored background present on upright arcade cabinets is not replicated here, but it is offered in Space Invaders DX (see below).
- Space Invaders Part II (1979, arcade): Also known as Space Invaders Deluxe in the US, this sequel sticks closely to the original but adds improved visuals, enemies that split in two when shot, and high score initial entry.
- Lunar Rescue (1979, arcade): An unrelated Taito game that ran on Space Invaders hardware, this game sees players pilot a craft from the top to bottom of the screen to rescue lunar civilians while avoiding asteroids and UFOs.
- Space Cyclone (1980, arcade): A rare arcade game that has never been ported to home console before this collection, this is another fixed shooter in which players maneuver a ship at the bottom of the screen that battles aliens and asteroids above. It features several digitized voice samples.
- Space Invaders DX (1994, arcade): A collection that offers several classic and new game types: “Space Invaders Game Mode” (with four selectable visual styles), VS Mode (2-player split-screen competition), and Parody Game (featuring characters and backgrounds from other Taito series).
- Space Invaders Extreme (2008, Nintendo DS; 2018, Steam): The most robust game in this collection, Extreme greatly expands on the original concept with tons of branching levels, power-ups, minigames, boss fights, and flashy backgrounds. This version is fantastic, but, sadly, lacks co-op.
Additionally, Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders is included as a separate download with the purchase of Infinity Collection. Gameplay is restricted to portable mode because the game is played exclusively with touch-screen controls. The game itself consists of 150 levels in which players control the Vaus, the ship from Arkanoid, as it battles Space Invaders by reflecting their shots back at them. Unlockable guest characters from other Taito franchises add to the fun.
Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV
Invincible Collection’s local co-op games include:
- Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV (1990, arcade): This sequel features 2-player local co-op, branching paths, excellent graphics, boss fights, powerups, and a minigame in which players defend cows from being abducted by UFOs. Interestingly, the player ships have built-in shields (life meters) rather than the series’ traditional stationary shields.
- Super Space Invaders ‘91 (1990, arcade): This international version of Majestic Twelve ditches the branching paths and features slightly different graphics. It’s basically the same game.
- Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE (2018, arcade; 2020, PlayStation 4 and Switch): Originally created as a 10-player “event game” for live events in Japan, the home version drops the count to 4 local players. The presentation here is relatively plain and lacks the turbo fire feature of the other games in this collection.
Gigamax 4 SE consists of nine stages, three of which are boss fights. During these arduous boss battles, players can fire power shots while close to one another – a welcome co-op mechanic. Gigamax 4 SE is enjoyable with friends (and much less fun solo), but the game’s short length and lack of leaderboards, powerups, and options keep it from having much staying power.
Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE
The lineup of games is certainly robust by Space Invaders standards, but it’s far from complete. Some notable missing games include Return of the Invaders, Space Invaders ’95, Space Invaders Extreme 2, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, and several more. Again, the Japanese bonus game Space Invaders 90 should have been included as well.
Selling for $59.99 on the Nintendo eShop (and also available in physical editions from Strictly Limited Games), Space Invaders Invincible Collection is a bit overpriced by classic game collection standards. Capcom Arcade Stadium offers a far greater value with 32 arcade games for $39.99. Still, Invincible Collection is the only game in town for serious Space Invaders fans. It offers a nice mix of older and newer games, plus a small but fun lineup of local co-op titles, along with a fair number of emulation options. Space Invaders enthusiasts should definitely pick up Invincible Collection, though casual fans will want to wait for a sale.
A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher for this review.
The Co-Op Experience: Majestic Twelve and Super Space Invaders '91 offer 2-player local co-op. Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE supports 4-player local co-op and features co-op attacks as a mechanic.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.