Energy Invasion (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 11.01.2018

Review for Energy Invasion on PlayStation 4

Developed in the 1970s by Atari, Breakout was one of the earliest videogames in the medium's lifespan. Like most games from its era, the core gameplay was simple: bounce balls to break blocks. Many developers, since, have alluded to the arcade classic with references and remakes that pay tribute to Breakout's breakout success. Even without touching the original, it's entirely possible to understand the spirit of the original thanks to the many homages in its name. Energy Invasion is a fully fledged, Breakout-style romp that takes its inspiration to new levels. Bombastic and surreal, this is as modern of a take on a classic as a videogame can get.

Genre reinvention and re-evaluation hasn't exactly been a new concept for a few generations now. Platformers, shooters, and RPGs come out every year to try to break the mold and redefine what it means to be a videogame in their respective genres. As is the case with any title, some are good, some are bad, and some are forgotten entirely. While levels of success vary from release to release, they do all share one defining feature: they attempt to redefine modern genres. Modern not in the sense that these genres are new but, rather, that they are still prevalent in the current generation. It's far more unusual to see a developer go back to gaming's youth in the 1970s to explore a genre, but this is exactly what Sometimes You has done with Energy Invasion.

By going back to the 1970s' Breakout, an arcade game that involved bouncing a ball off a paddle to break blocks, Energy Invasion does lock itself into a predicament that many games strive to avoid: simplicity. Simply put, the core concept behind the gameplay is incredibly basic. How could it not be? It's based on an arcade classic from over 40 years ago. Simplicity isn't always a bad thing, however, and Sometimes You adds enough gameplay tweaks so it still resembles Breakout, yet creates a brand new identity.

Screenshot for Energy Invasion on PlayStation 4

Instead of just bouncing a ball off a paddle to break blocks, both analogue sticks must be used to ensure the blocks break at all. Most blocks need to be worn down, but bumping into them doesn't do the trick. By utilising the right analogue stick, the main ball can fire off missiles in any direction to damage, and break, the blocks. This twin-stick style of interactivity keeps the gameplay engaging, far more so than its inspiration ever was.

Gameplay is nothing without level design, however. Energy invasion offers three main modes of play to choose from: Invasion, Linear, and Endless. Invasion is the main campaign, where breaking blocks is coupled with avoiding enemy attacks, Linear is a more straightforward campaign with design more in-tune with the original Breakout's, and Endless is an infinite mode where players continue until they game over. All three have their own difficulty curve to keep players on their toes, but Invasion and Linear only have 25 stages apiece. Thankfully, this isn't as big of an issue as it would seem, as the core gameplay is fairly addictive. It certainly helps that the soundtrack is always changing, always transitioning into new tracks, and always creating a surreal atmosphere.

More than anything, the star of the show here is Nick R 61's score. At times, it's bombastic, capturing the feel of an invasion. Other times, it's haunting, adding an atmosphere no one at Atari would have expected to be attributed with its simple block buster blockbuster. While the gameplay certainly feels like a progression of Breakout's formula, it's the spirit of the music that solidifies Energy Invasion as a proper evolution.

Screenshot for Energy Invasion on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Against all odds, Energy Invasion manages to take its almost too simple Breakout-inspired premise and spin it into something truly original and engaging. Adding the ability to fire off miniature, bouncing balls from the main ball is an ingenious addition that elevates the gameplay from just a mere homage. While there are only 50 stages between Linear and Invasion mode, the difficulty curve allows progress to feel earned, and Endless offers an unlimited amount of levels to bounce through. Along with Nick R 61's fantastic soundtrack, Energy Invasion is a surreal, and strangely addictive, evolution of the Breakout formula.

Developer

Sometimes You

Publisher

Sometimes You

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
devidise, mudskip, RudyC3

There are 3 members online at the moment.