Space Invaders

(Inspired) Slot Review

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Space Invaders: Slot Overview

With so many developers having a crack at the retro thing these days, it's almost turning into a genre of its own. If there is an unspoken competition between studios over who can make the most retro of them all, Space Invaders from Inspired Gaming must be one of the contenders. The studio has found inspiration from a real pioneer, one of the first shoot 'em ups, Space Invaders by Taito. The goal of Space Invaders is to weave your ship left or right, shooting waves of invaders as they steadily move down the screen in rows. Sounds basic, and it is, but Space Invader quickly became one of the highest-grossing video games of all time.

As such, it was ripe for a slot conversion to capitalise on the retro movement, which is where Inspired Gaming has stepped in. Keep in mind, the original Space Invaders game was released in 1978, so it's not exactly a looker by modern standards. The slot version largely sticks to the spirit but is a lot more colourful than the original game was, like a 90s upgrade rather than the 70s version. It's still an 8-bit wonderland visually. Sound is bang on, too, full of rhythmically plodding music and gun bleeps. The only thing missing is the smell of a darkened video game arcade, or the aroma of fast food as you blast a few invaders while waiting for your order.

Space Invaders slot

Space Invaders' action occurs on a 5-reel, 3-row game grid, with 20 fixed paylines zapping their way across the panel. Expect a medium-high volatile game, churning out a theoretical return value of 95%. Stakes range from 20 p/c to £/€200 per spin, and the invasion is available to play on any device.

Matching symbols landing in adjacent reels from the leftmost reel result in a payout, and there are 8 regular pay symbols in the game. Low pays consist of four blocky space invaders worth 2.5 – 5 times the stake for five of a kind, while high pays are three space-related pictures and the game's logo. Landing five premium symbols on a payline is worth 10 to 25 times your stake. Also, wild symbols land normally, or they may be added to the reels via a few of the features. However they arrive, wilds replace all symbols in the game except the scatter.

Space Invaders: Slot Features

Space Invaders slot
Space Invaders - feature wheel

Space Invaders comes with quite a few features, largely related to the arcade game in some way, with bonus rounds awarded from a wheel that can be gambled Blueprint Gaming style.

Reel Modifiers

During the base game, a UFO may randomly fly over the top of the reels. A cannon appears beneath it, and if the cannon shoots the UFO, 1 of 5 modifiers is awarded:

  • Wild Cannon – a cannon appears while the reels are spinning to shoot wild symbols onto the middle three reels (2, 3, and 4).
  • Monster Wild – any wilds that subsequently land expand to cover all positions on their reel.
  • 5 Of A Kind! – guarantees at least one 5 of a kind win.
  • Mega Reel – as the reels spin, three merge to create mega 3x3 sized symbols which land on the left, right or centre.
  • Bonus Boost – extra bonus symbols are added to the reels for the spin.

As well as these modifiers, 2 more may trigger at random following losing base game spins. The UFO modifier shines a beam onto a symbol growing it to super-size, or a cannon may appear, which destroys invader symbols to let new symbols cascade into the gaps.

Just for good measure, there is also a chance at the end of a base game spin the Lock 'n Spin Invasion modifier triggers. When it does, all instances of a chosen symbol type lock in place for a respin. This continues until no new instances of that symbol land.

Bonus Games

Landing 3 or more bonus coin scatters in the base game awards the bonus round. A feature wheel spins to award 1 of 6 bonus games, which can be collected or gambled. Gambling either moves players to the next bonus up the ladder or awards a mystery prize.

  • Shoot Out – press the shoot button to clear rows of invaders and win a bet multiplier.
  • UFO Climber – pick UFOs to move along a trail with increasing bet multipliers.
  • Wild Cannon Free Spins – free spins with a cannon that adds sticky wilds to the reels.
  • Monster Wild Free Spins – free spins with expanding full reel wilds.
  • Mega Reel Free Spins – free spins with a roaming 3x3 mega reel.
  • Space Invaders – watch a round of space invaders to win a bet multiplier. If the screen is cleared a completion bonus prize is also awarded.

At the end of each bonus round, 3 coins are displayed, and players click one of them. Coins either end the bonus, continue the bonus, or award the Space Invaders feature.

Spin Chance

If your balance drops below the cost of the current spin, you can wager the remaining credit on the Spin Chance. Win, and you get one final spin, lose and your balance is forfeit.

Space Invaders slot

Space Invaders: Slot Verdict

Like playing the original coin-operated game, Space Invaders the slot misses as much as it hits. For one, the 8-bit visuals aren't as instantly likeable as, say, Hellcatraz, though they may grow on you after a while. This is especially so following little touches, like when the UFO flies over, and the cannon pops out to blast it. The invader animations are charming, and there are loads of references to the video game that may delight fans. It's hard to put a finger on why we didn't fall for the game's presentation. It might be because Inspired hasn't gone full throwback, and the mix of 1970s invader sprites, with latter era yet still old graphics, created a slightly jarring mismatch at times. Not sure, but Space Invaders doesn't have the coherent aesthetic flow of some other 8-bit slots that have come our way recently.

Though heavily inspired Blueprint Gaming's big feature-rich creations, the gameplay felt strangely thin as well. On one hand, having a stack of modifiers and bonus games to play through was motivating, mainly due to the way Inspired has incorporated so many elements of the arcade game into them. However, while fun at first, some of the bonus games are pretty unexciting on repeat viewings. Still, if you have a soft spot for everything retro or remember playing the original, working through the bonus games might be an enticing challenge. On the subject of payouts, lower bonus games aren't capable of massive hits, nor the upper tiers either, really. Payouts are capped at €/£250,000 or 1,250x the max bet.

After seeing all the familiar bits, marvelling over how far graphics, sounds, and effects have progressed since 1978 while honouring the contribution Space Invaders made to the evolution of video games, there were few plans to return to the slot. Space Invaders had its moments, and fans are sure to be entertained by the trip down memory lane. However, after seeing the game's bag of tricks, our enthusiasm eventually and somewhat sadly waned.


Classic video gamers are sure to get a kick, but like playing the original coin-op, Space Invaders misses as much as it hits.

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