Review: Super Destronaut DX-2 (Nintendo Switch)

Publisher Ratalaika Games has made quite the name for themselves by bringing countless arcade-style games like Tamiku and Spacejacked to the Nintendo Switch. It’s only natural that they pay homage to the original arcade classic, Space Invaders, with Super Destronaut DX-2.

Super Destronaut DX 2 is the second entry in this clear send-up to the first arcade game that many claim caused a shortage of coinage in the U.S. and Japan. If you’ve played any of the countless iterations of Space Invaders released on everything from the NES to the graphing calculator you used in your college statistics class, this game will look and feel pretty familiar.

Every level has you squaring off against squadrons of aliens. Unlike the baddies of the arcade cabinet era, these aliens don’t have predictable attack patterns. Everything is in flux, from their movements to their firing patterns. Some even dish out Raiden-style lasers. Ouch. Your little ship is armed with two types of firing styles: rapid and normal. 

At first glance, utilizing the rapid-fire seems the way to go. But again, this isn’t a simple top-down arcade shooter. Different levels come with different challenges. Some stages simply have you clear the horde of aliens before your three lives run out. Others make you do it before the time is up. Some give you a finite amount of bullets to work with, making every bullet fired a precious resource. 

It’s an odd idea, but it definitely follows Bushnell’s Law of “easy to learn, difficult to master.” There are six worlds, each with five levels to run through. There’s even a challenge mode that lets you play whichever of the aforementioned modes at will. Once you’ve conquered that, there’s even a Hardcore Mode you can try your hand at. I lasted all of 16 seconds. 

That said, it’s a pretty apt clone, or homage if you prefer. It’s chock full of that style and classic sound that screams “arcade shooter.”

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