Under the Sea
Do you like space shooter games like Galaxia, but you’re tired of always playing in space? That’s the question posed by Genera Indie Games, and their answer is Sea Invaders, a classic 80’s style top-down shooter set under the sea. Now, with a name like Sea Invaders you might expect some sort of high tech sub-to-sub combat. Instead, you command a dolphin who uses dolphin song which looks a lot like laser beams to do battle with other undersea creatures. This might come as a surprise, considering that dolphins aren’t known for their aggressive behavior. What’s more, the invaders aren’t really invading the sea so much as living there. However, the whole thing is just an excuse to shoot stuff, so why get bogged down in the details?
When Dolphins Attack
Sea Invaders is a top-down scroller, so you’re constantly propelled forward. You can move your dolphin all around the screen by dragging it with your finger, and you shoot automatically as you move. You successfully complete each stage when you kill a set number of enemies. There’s a nice variety of foes, like stingrays, swirling schools of fish, octopi, and electric eels. Of course, there are also bosses, such as giant crabs which unleash showers of energy balls, or sharks which rush forward to chomp on you.
There’s usually a lot happening on the screen at once, and you’ll need sharp eyes and a quick finger just to stay alive, much less meet your kill goals. If you do die, the game sometimes offers you the opportunity to keep going by watching an ad. However, if you fail to kill the requisite number of enemies, it’s game over. If you don’t beat the stage, you can continue playing by spending “C- energy.” You only have a limited supply. Once you run out, you can either wait for it to slowly refill, or you can buy refills with gems, which you can purchase with cash. If you’re really into the game, this limitation can be kind of irksome.
Building a Better Dolphin
Fortunately, Sea Invaders offers a plethora of upgrades that give your dolphin an edge. In between each stage you’re given a choice between three advantages to improve your dolphin. You can unlock a fourth choice by watching an ad. There are a wide variety of upgrades available, from increased health and faster shooting to turtles which circle around you, deflecting enemy fire. As long as you stay in the game, you get to keep these upgrades, making your dolphin a force to contend with.
Aside from these transient advantages, there are permanent upgrades as well. This is where the game strays ever so slightly into RPG territory. You can spend gold to level up your dolphin, which improves its stats. You can also pick up items which can be slotted into six different spaces, such as a Magma Pearl which increases your power and attack speed. In addition, you can buy cards that randomly give you a benefit, like Thick Hide, which improves your collision resistance. You can even switch out your dolphin for a different creature, like an orca or a blue whale, either by unlocking them, watching ads, or spending money. Although you can buy gold with cash, you pick up plenty of it in the game, and before each stage you get to spin the “Cetacean Wheel of Fortune” which usually nets you even more gold.
It’s worth noting that Sea Invaders both looks and sounds great, with bright colors and crisp, clean graphics. The underwater setting provides a refreshing alternative to the endless star fields of outer space. The developers paid attention to detail and created a variety of backgrounds for you to swim through. Still, there’s only so many ways you can depict the ocean, and games of this sort are, by nature, repetitive. Casual players will enjoy picking it up every so often for some mindless fun. However, long-term enjoyment will ultimately depend on how much you like this genre.
Is it Hardcore?
Sea Invaders offers a nice change of setting from the usual space shooters, and there’s plenty of fast-paced action to keep you on your toes. The only downside is that once your energy is gone, you may have to wait a while before playing again.