Super Destronaut DX (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Colin Beauchamp 24.12.2018

Review for Super Destronaut DX on Nintendo Switch

Space Invaders is a game with a legacy that's too big to quickly put into words. It's been 40 years since it first released, and many (to put it lightly) other space shooters like it have come out since then, offering new twists and evolutions to the formula. Super Destronaut DX harkens back to this era, its gameplay and presentation being a clear throwback to classic, old-school arcade shooters. Does it do enough new things to stand out from the crowd, or is it worth skipping over and looking for a different shoot 'em up instead?

First off, if you've played Space Invaders or even something like Galaga, you've played this game. Super Destronaut DX doesn't simply take inspirations from those games, but it's more like it bases its existence on them. Therefore, you control a spaceship that moves left and right and shoot bullets as you take out lines slowly moving lines of alien baddies, and then move onto the next wave once they're all defeated.

There are a few other elements to this, though. For one thing, certain aliens will drop power-ups that your ship can absorb, giving you different shot types such as rockets, lasers, and so on. Another element is that foes don't always just disappear when destroyed, and will instead slowly float down the screen and can be shot further for extra points. This mechanic even affects oncoming background objects, but since they're on your ship's level in terms of verticality and can't be shot, you have to avoid them so you don't take damage.

Screenshot for Super Destronaut DX on Nintendo Switch

Unfortunately, these mechanics all fall flat for different reasons. As an example, all power-ups play almost the same, just being some variation of a shot in a straight line. There could've been so much potential for more interesting power-ups, like being able to shoot projectiles that move in an arc, being able to shoot in three directions, and so on. The only one that actually feels unique is the rocket launcher, which lets you shoot homing missiles.

The mechanic of enemies sometimes slowly descending after being destroyed feels pointless, too, because it gives out so few points, touching falling ships deals damage to you, and it also blocks your shots if you try killing any other enemies. Enemies coming from the background is irritating as well, especially since there's no way to get more points out of it with any risk/reward type system; it just serves to be a hindrance.

Beyond the basic "kill as many enemies as you can until you die" mode, there are a few other options as well. The time trial mode tracks how many enemies you can defeat within 90 seconds, hardcore mode removes lives and gives you only one shot to succeed, there's a multiplayer mode, and then there's the challenge mode, which comes with 30 trials that have you completing various objectives.

Screenshot for Super Destronaut DX on Nintendo Switch

Challenge Mode is notable due to having established levels, each with an ending, instead of a high-score mode. Unfortunately, the challenges themselves are underwhelming; it doesn't matter whether it's a variation of "kill X enemies" or "collect X number of power-ups" (which is annoyingly luck-based), or "defeat X waves of enemies", because these all have you doing the same thing: just killing enemies until you win, and it's very rare that you have to think about the objective itself, since none of the stages have specially made enemy layouts, proper boss fights, or anything similar to this.

As a result, it all leads to an extremely repetitive experience, even if you haven't played any shoot 'em ups before. There's such a lack of variety as you whittle down wave after wave of uninteresting enemies. Perhaps this would be less of an issue if this title was released decades ago, but it wasn't. There's still so much potential for a game like Space Invaders put into a modern design context, instead of taking a basic gameplay set-up and doing very little with it.

Screenshot for Super Destronaut DX on Nintendo Switch

Another big issue this seem to have is its aesthetics. The screen is filled with tons of different particle effects and the like, which makes it quite difficult to keep track of enemy bullets, since everything tends to blend in together. There are many instances where deaths just feel cheap, mainly because of how difficult it is to tell what's going on, something that definitely leads to a good amount of frustration.

Despite all that, Super Destronaut DX is still okay. Shooting up ships is somewhat enjoyable for a while, although what's considered as "a while" is up for debate, since challenge mode barely offers an hour of content, and all the other modes are just the same thing over and over. The game certainly isn't aggressively bad, it's just incredibly underwhelming.

Screenshot for Super Destronaut DX on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Super Destronaut DX could've been a lot worse, but it certainly could've been far better, too. If you're extremely attached to space shooters from the late '70s and early '80s, then you might get something out of this. Otherwise, though, there's nothing done here that hasn't been already executed much better by other similar titles, and the fact that it doesn't add anything particularly unique or interesting to the table makes it difficult to recommend, even despite its low price.

Developer

Petite

Publisher

Ratalaika Games

Genre

Action

Players

2

Online enabled

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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