Digi-Chain Games’ strategy title Invaders Inc. sports a novel spin on the alien invasion game trope by placing players on the side of the extraterrestrial race covertly bringing about the Apocalypse. While this high-concept approach provides enough material for the developers to craft a solid diversion, Invaders Inc. doesn’t pack enough excitement to stand alongside the best Android Strategy Games.
Invaders Inc. begins by placing you in the role of a Grey commander tasked with invading earth and gathering resources to aid in the eventual Alien World War. You accomplish this from a map screen displaying the countries of the world, with icons that trigger pop-ups detailing the country’s stats: Strength (or military might), Science (how good the country is at detecting alien threats), and the resources the country has available for your forces to steal. Once you’ve collected enough resources, either through siphoning them from Earth or by tapping on small bubbles that periodically appear on the map, you can use them to level up your stats. At some point, you’ll inevitably be detected, triggering the Alien World War, where any country that has an alien presence will attack your operatives until you’ve either conquered that country, or they’ve successfully repelled your advances.
The main problem with Invaders Inc. is the complete lack of variety. Those two unlockable alien races the game teases you with on the select screen? No effect on gameplay whatsoever. Think the difficulty settings may add some depth to the proceedings? The game is easy as pie on the Easy and Normal settings, but artificially ramps up the difficulty on Hard by depriving your forces of materials. Either way, your first game will be representative of every replay, following a rigid pattern of invading countries, leveling your ships up, and tapping the pop-up bubbles to max out your resources. The actual “world war” that results from the humans detecting extraterrestrial activity is as interactive as watching paint dry, boiling down to waiting for your limited weapon arsenal to dwindle so the humans and aliens can duke it out based on raw stats alone.
The lackluster battle system only serves to highlight the cool ideas the developers worked into the game, like the aliens’ reaction to different temperatures according to the country being invaded, or the War of the Worlds-esque focus on biological warfare as the main means of combat. You can develop viruses that target physical health of the enemy, influencing the outcome of the war, or you can create diseases that drain the brain power of entire countries, allowing your aliens to operate undetected. These features would be compelling if they had more of a tangible effect on the outcome of the game, rather than essentially being busy work. It doesn’t help that the action is solely conveyed through pop-up messages and menu screens, and the audio consists of a single loop repeating over. And over. And over.
Invaders Inc. brings some solid ideas to the table, but feels a bit empty, perhaps unfinished. The complete lack of variety in gameplay, graphics, and audio doesn’t warrant the game’s price tag. The high-concept, “X-COM meta game meets Whack-a-Mole” sounds great on paper, but Invaders Inc. ends up feeling like playing a game of tabletop Risk all by yourself.
Not hardcore material.
Invaders Inc. is the type of strategy game that is fun on your first playthrough and a chore on your second; its solid ideas and clean interface are squandered on an experience lacking any real interactive gameplay or compelling graphics. Its price tag seems a little steep for a one-time diversion.