Super Destronaut DX-2 is, unsurprisingly, the sequel to Super Destronaut DX, a game which itself was based on one of gaming’s all-time classic titles, Space Invaders. After the original game released in 2018 and attempted to put a modern, more colourful twist on a shmup experience which has cemented a place in the hallowed halls of gaming history, DX-2 follows the exact same trend. And there’s not much more to it than that.
Created by Petite Games and published on console thanks to the rather prolific Ratalaika Games, Super Destronaut DX-2 is a brilliant fit for that publishing arm. You see, over the course of the last few years it has been Ratalaika who have become synonymous with cheap, easy-to-complete games which just so happen to give up a full quota of Xbox Gamerscore in the process. And this wannabe Space Invaders clone completely typifies that.
In fact, if you’re looking for a game that can be fully completed in just 45 minutes, or are after a cool 1000G addition to your Xbox achievement haul in less than half that time, you should be splashing out the £4.19 asking price immediately.
However, if you’re one of those who want more from their games, Super Destronaut DX-2 is going to leave you wanting.
Super Destronaut DX-2 comes with two game modes in place – the Challenge mode which will see you working through 30 levels spread over six worlds, and an Arcade mode which leaves you attempting to gather up high scores over five different disciplines.
However you play, Super Destronaut DX-2 is identical throughout. It has you taking command of a small spaceship that is equipped with a forward firing single cannon. Your screen fills with enemies, you shoot them, occasionally making the most of a slowing-of-time focus ability, and attempt to ride the few miniscule attacks that they can muster up. Occasionally you’ll grab the odd weapon powerup or two (mostly in the form of homing missiles and lasers) and should you find success from there out, you’ll swiftly move on to the next wave of enemies.
It’s pretty much a case of rinsing and repeating that until boredom kicks in, or until all stages are complete. That is Super Destronaut DX-2 in a nutshell.
Obviously there is slightly more to it than that and bronze, silver and gold awards are handed out for how well you do in the Challenge mode. These are dictated by your scoring prowess and with a nifty little combo meter constantly increasing your score, the higher your skills, the more you’ll be rewarded. It’s certainly a bit of a challenge to go home with golds in tow, but accumulation of the lower medals are all that is needed for progression to be made.
To mix things up a bit, each stage in Super Destronaut DX-2 has a slightly different theme. There’s the Classic Mode which allows you to continue shooting until either you, or your foes, are destroyed, alongside both Time Attack and Time Rush which give 30 and 90 seconds of time respectively for you to do your worst. A Bullet Mode is the weakest of the options on the table as you start things off with a seriously limited bullet count. Taking down spaceships can help increase these levels, but while all other game modes allow you to fire at will – and are all the better for it – the precision and limits required here is a bit of a let-down. Finally there is a Hardcore Mode, something which just ramps up the difficulty a little more.
Through the Challenges a few additional modifiers also get added in for good measure. You’ll find enemy bullets increasing in size, foes that constantly shrink or get bigger, or a larger hit of weapon recoil in place. These are decent enough ideas but for the most part don’t ever shake up the standard base game.
The enemies you find yourself up against are of a good variety though. Some require just the one hit to be destroyed, others are shielded a little more, whilst their attack types are just as varied – full salvos will come your way, you’ll be left dodging homing missiles and needing to stop electrifying barriers from taking you down. On the whole, it’s very much a case of pull the trigger and whip your ship up, down, left and right across the screen as best as you can, but it’s nice that the enemy variety is big enough to add in a slight bit of tactical requirement every now and then.
The six worlds that bring together the Challenge mode will however take you less than an hour to whizz through, with only the hunt for all gold medals ever capable of dragging you back in for anything more than that. There is of course the Arcade Mode to complement matters, but this just adds in the chance to set a local high-score across each of the different modes.
It’s here where you’d think that the whole Super Destronaut DX-2 experience could well bring forth a host of online leaderboards as friends and family get the opportunity to hunt down placings and prove themselves as the ultimate modern day Space Invader champion. It’s therefore strange to discover that there is absolutely no online offering here at all and so the inclination to continue heading back into this Invaders clone fast diminishes. Space Invaders on the whole is something that is built on a high-score chase and so it’s disappointing that the modern day replica lacks in that respect.
Thankfully Super Destronaut DX-2 looks decent enough. The visuals are basic but they are full of character and colour, with enough explosions present to give November 5th a run for its money. Occasionally this does backfire though and the sheer amount of visual explosions that are going on mean that it is sometimes tricky to pick out what you need to dodge, and what you can ignore. On the whole though it works.
The problem is, with a short Challenge Mode, a very brief Arcade offering, and less than an hour of gametime required for everything to be done and dusted, there’s little that Super Destronaut DX-2 is able to muster up. If you enjoyed the swiftness of the original game, and fancy picking up some cheap and easy Xbox Gamerscore, you’ll want to get shooting here. But otherwise, this is a Ratalaika Games title that will fast be forgotten.
Start blastin’ away in Super Destronaut DX-2 on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One