In 1979, a strange phenomenon shook the gaming world: the Invaders landed ensuring that the gaming landscape would never be the same again.
Stop the Saturnians! by indie developer, Jeff Sinisac, is recreating that nostalgic feel with a game that is bigger, brighter, bolder, and to an extent, better than the original. The story, as told with uncanny humor, depicts the horror and threat that would unfold mankind if another alien race were to attack Earth.
Cover your head and don’t lookup
In the opening scene and after terrorizing the God-fearing people of Earth, the invaders pulverize the planet with fire from above, dropping from the skies like the devil riding out of Hell. In fact, it’s too bad we don’t get more time with the invaders in the center of the story because they definitely understand how to embrace the bad guy persona.
On the other side of the moral coin, you play a hotshot pilot tasked with protecting the defensive layer of Earth against an onslaught of enemy ships, missiles, and asteroids as they come barreling towards Earth ravaging the planet’s infrastructure. The genius of the game, for example, isn’t about the invasion itself or having to succumb to a more advanced race, but the emotional devastation that proceeds from it.
The characters, done beautifully through narration, are vibrant and multi-dimensional and are given a smidgen of humanity as they bicker, criticize, and throw out witty one-liners even in the direst of circumstances.
Saturnday Night Fever
Gameplaywise, there’s a lot going on; loot is dropped from either destroyed ships or asteroids that you can use to upgrade your ship, weapons, or use them to improve Earth’s defenses. Every wave completed offers an opportunity to purchase or research technology to even the fight.
Each upgrade visibly changes your ship’s appearance and adds a personal investment to the characters and plot. Whichever route you take, make sure to repair often as the game is challenging and gets progressively difficult the further into it you go.
As with most games of this genre, quick reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and luck are the keys to success. Since enemy ships come at you at a blistering pace, expect to take damage but not enough to completely take you out. If I had one complaint, it would be the difficulty seems to be a bit high, even on the first few levels, which will probably frustrate most players.
Can’t Stop Us Now
Overall, Stop the Saturnian! is a solid piece of work and I applaud Jeff Sinisac’s approach to making the gameplay, the story, and its characters as clear and concise as possible which fulfills one of the classic functions of retro gaming -to take a former trend and extend it to a possible future without compromising the core mechanics of the original. The more I played, for example, the further back in time I reminisced.
Stop the Saturnians! is a long, involving, and challenging game that looks incredible sounds great and plays smoothly. The atmosphere is thick and the missions are long and varied, with the obligatory boss battle at the end. Don’t let the little aliens stop you from getting this game, it’s a definite winner.