The first thing that comes to mind when seeing Duael Invaders for the first time is how the heck am I suppose to control two space-ships at once? Approaching the game tentatively resulted in an early demise so I went in all guns blazing. Dead again. Duael Invaders is far more challenging than it first appears.
Duael Invaders is a retro sh’mup (shoot ‘em up) drawing inspiration from the arcade classic Space Invaders. Players take control of two space-ships, one red and one blue with each space-ship on either ends of the screen. Enemies come in red and blue flavour variety, moving outwards from the centre firing indiscriminately at your starfighting duo.
The gameplay mechanics are deceptively simple, the red space-ship is controlled with the d-pad while the blue is controlled with the triangle and X button for up and down movements. Firing is handled with the L / R triggers or square and d-pad buttons giving players flexibility to suit their gameplay style. You’ll need some practice to fully grasp the innovative multi-task control scheme.
My initial impression: Duael Invaders is a shooter beyond my level of gaming expertise. Doing two things at once? Everyone knows guys can’t multi-task. Rather than throw in the towel, I took it as a challenge and soon enough frustration quickly dissolved into gaming bliss as my death rate tumbled away and high score began to soar.
Duael Invaders‘ title is a play on words for those unaware. Not only are you able to take control of dual space-ships, but multi-player modes allow for you and a friend to each share a side of a PlayStation Portable (or a Dual Shock controller). Play together in co-op mode and achieve high score adulation, or turn on each other in versus multiplayer to see who has what it takes to outlast the other.
Adopting a gameplay element dubbed ‘Skew‘, Duael Invaders rewards score multipliers (up to x32) for destroying a chain of like colours. The background planet and star colour changes to reflect which way the skew is headed.
In single-player arcade mode Skew has little bearing. Being in control of both ships means Skew can be easily changed back to neutral by opting to destroy more bad guys with the least Skew spacecraft.
On the other hand, Skew in multi-player versus mode is a barrel of laughs. You can kick back and watch your friend unwittingly blast themselves into oblivion if they aren’t too careful. Its a tug-of-war effect, you got to know when to give a little and take a little.
Eliminated enemies sometimes drop power-ups helping you move onto the next level. Power-ups can have positive and negative effects providing extra lives, score and shots, or work against you speeding up a wave, reversing colours or swapping Skew rate for hilarious consequences.
Duael Invaders won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Getting over the initial control hurdle may prove to be too much for some. For a PlayStation Minis title, there is a lot going for it in terms of replayability. Each time you play, there is always a different gaming experience to be had whether on your own or with a friend.
Retro graphics accompanied by a soundtrack that is out of this world builds upon a tried-and-true formula with Duael Invaders emphasis on fast-paced, addictive action with a unique twist. Give it a go for an experience like no other.
Duael Invaders will be available through the PlayStation Store on the 19th/20th April, 2011 priced at £2.49 / $3.99. PlayStation Plus subscribers can currently experience the game for free as an exclusive bonus.
8 – Great. An enjoyable experience, fans and newcomers of the genre will be entertained. Any noticeable flaws are largely outweighed by the positives.