Continuing their mission to become the most prolific Vita game publisher of all time, Ratalaika is back with another cross-buy title for the Vita and PS4: Zeroptian Invasion. We played the handheld version for the sake of this review.
Zeroptian Invasion makes it clear from the get-go that it’s a retro-inspired shooter, drawing inspiration from arcade legends like Space Invaders. It doesn’t use the full width of the screen, showing high resolution artwork on the sides in a style that immediately reminds you of the kind of artwork that adorns many arcade games.
In the middle of the screen, the action very much resembles Space Invaders, with modern twists including a few different attack patterns, power-ups and big boss fights at the end of a few regular waves of aliens. The visual style’s definitely “retro”, with the color scheme and sprite design reminding me mostly of the ZX Spectrum era of games. There’s an optional CRT filter to make things look more like an arcade monitor, so that’s nice for those who have a personal preference.
I thought the chiptune music was very well done, with a bunch of different tunes throughout the game. You don’t need to see much of the game to nab that infamous “Ratalaika easy platinum” though – that usually comes within about 10 minutes after you beat the second boss fight. The difficulty keeps ramping up after that, so it’s a shame that there’s no reward for pushing on – though I assume trophy hunters don’t care as they can just repeat the same feat on a PS4 and move on if they wanted to.
If trophies are what you’re after, then Zeroptian Invasion is a great game for you. As a Space Invaders-inspired shooter it’s fairly formulaic, and the Vita has better arcade shooters out there – Sine Mora, Sky Force Anniversary, Soldner X-2, Super Stardust Delta and TxK come to mind right away. If those are too “modern” for your tastes, however, then Zeroptian Invasion can take you a little further back in time. Just don’t expect to be playing it two weeks from now.