Energy Invasion Review

Continuing the series of “Energy” games on PlayStation 4, Energy Inversion is the latest in that series. Taking a complete genre leap from the other two – and they were different genres, though still the same in some ways – Energy Invasion takes on the Brick Breaker genre. Does it do the genre justice, or does it completely miss the paddle?

Energy Invasion is Sometimes You’s latest game to come to the PS4 and Vita, and like many of their games on the console so far it’s fairly basic. Energy Invasion is also the third game in the “Energy” series, following up on Energy Balance and Energy Cycle – one of which was near-impossible to complete without a computer and one of which was a complete joke trophy-wise but at least playable. Energy Invasion aims to actually be playable, but is still riddled with numerous bugs that may have you wanting to throw your controller out the window.

You have three modes available for you to play in the game – Invasion, Linear, and Endless. Endless is pretty self-explanatory so I won’t really cover that one, but let’s talk about Invasion and Linear. Before we go too into the modes though, do note that there are two available difficulties to play (Easy and Normal), and most of my play is based off of Easy.

Invasion – Invasion consists of 25 levels of increasing difficulty for you to plunge your way through. As you progress through the levels you’ll have to break through more and more blocks in order to proceed. No problem, right? It’s not really that big of a problem on Easy, though if your ball falls out of the field you will lose a life and several blocks will gain another hit or two that they need taken care of before you can destroy them. On Normal, however, you’ll need to dodge the enemy fire in later levels, as getting hit by one of these also makes you lose a life.

Linear – Linear is Invasion Mode but without the enemies. Instead of the enemies you’ll be faced with a slowly lowering field of blocks (unsure if it lowers faster on Normal), and if the lowest block makes it too far down you’ll instantly Game Over.

Now, Game Overing isn’t TOO big of a deal in Energy Invasion. You’ll be given the choice to either completely restart that mode or just restart that level with a penalty. That penalty is losing a bit of score – something you can’t see while you’re playing anyways – and the level being reset back to the start with you having some arbitrary number of lives.

So, sounds easy, right? Well, here’s the thing – this isn’t normal brick breaker. Instead of the blocks breaking when your ball hits them, you need to instead shoot projectiles from your ball at the blocks. This is much easier said than done as it seems somewhat random as to whether or not you’ll be able to shoot fast enough to make a reasonable dent into the levels, especially in Linear Mode. You can shoot with your right stick or X, though if you choose X it seems to choose a random direction and only aims in that direction. When you start off the ball it also only EVER shoots in one direction, instead of the reasonable thought that it should shoot in whichever direction you aimed your right stick.

The game is also riddled with bugs. The biggest one is the fact that power ups are completely invisible, so often times you’ll just find yourself randomly with a bottom shield so your ball can’t fall out of play or that you have more lives. Oh, and that bottom shield? It blocks anything on both sides, so if your ball was falling out as it triggered, or if it got trapped down there in another easy to do method, then you can’t shoot ANYTHING until it goes away. You can also – fairly easily, in fact – get your ball stuck at the top so all you need to do it shoot down. Oh, and did I mention that whenever you shoot down or up, you ball will ever so slightly move up and down. This can be useful if you manage to trap it against your paddle, but oftentimes it’s more of an annoyance. Ironically, I found that if I got my ball stuck at the top the game was MORE fun as I could just try and bounce back my shots instead of needing to deal with the ball too.

The music in the game is somewhere between completely forgettable and absolutely terrible. Some tracks are nice and calm, and then others will completely blast out your ears and quickly make you reach for the mute button.

All in all, Energy Invasion is a fairly forgettable game and is a fairly easy “pass”. Even for trophy hunters you may find yourself cursing out Linear Mode quite quickly when you find that one level that you just can’t get past because that ONE block always evades you and gets out of your reasonable range thanks to the aiming system. With the annoying bugs and frustrating controls on top of all that, it’s very hard for me to recommend this game, and as I said it’s a lot easier for me to just give it a pass. Save your money, time, and right thumb and play a better game – might I recommend Shatter on PS3 instead?

I was provided with a key for covering the game on PS4 and Vita by the publisher, Sometimes You. This review is based off of the PS4 version.

Energy Invasion launches on PC, Switch, PS4, and Vita on January 11, 2018.

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