Space Invader may sound like the arcade classic alien shooter, but it’s almost as fun. With a name like that, many a number of unwitting smartphone users have probably downloaded it mistakenly, much like I did from the Android Market.
The underlying concept of Space Invader is to control most of the board, which consist of colored hexagonal squares. Player one starts at the bottom left while player two begins in the upper right corner. All of the cells in between are (randomly?) colored.
Players alternate turns acquiring more cells to their collection. Squares of five colors: orange, green, indigo, light blue and red, line the bottom of the screen. Each player selects one color on their turn, taking control of any cells touching ones they already possess. The game continues until one player can no longer acquire more cells than the other.
Understanding the system takes a few games to fully comprehend, but mastering it is something else. Better players will map out routes with large pockets of each color, strategically block your opponent and delay your foe by selecting the color they could best use (only only players can control a color at a time).
Space Invader can be played with two human beings, but I would imagine it’s more commonly used in single player mode. That’s because this game is a fantastic time-waster, but merely an average game. There’s a total lack of flashy graphics, action and deep plots. Thankfully it is a silent game and the tapping may make you look more productive than you actually are.
Oh, and don’t expect an easy game just because you’re facing the computer. The AI is very tough and will handily beat you more than you care to admit. A recent update changed the game to offer three difficult settings: amateur, expert and pro. Amateur is a great way to learn the game and will let you win. Expert is very challenging, and I can only imagine pro is impossible – I don’t dare try it. The developers also created a setting to choose from small or large fields. However, they removed the option in previous versions to choose more densely populated maps with more colors.
The only way to return that option, and gain other settings, is to pay the 99 cent fee. I have no desire to ever pay a dime for a cell phone application, so don’t expect me to review the full version. However, for the sake of a measly dollar, this time-waster is probably worth a shot.