Developer: Andrade Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action & Action
Release Date: June 14, 2018 (NA) & June 22, 2018 (EU)
I can never get enough of the old-school shoot em’ ups and the Nintendo Switch has become the quintessential landing place for many great and nostalgic shooters. Most of these titles, while action-packed, almost always tell the story of one pilot able to face impossible odds and emerge victorious, even again insurmountable odds. Such is the case with Andrade Games 1917: The Alien Invasion DX which released first on PC, but is out now on the Switch.
1917 – The Alien Invasion DX is a straight-foward less-is-more, vertical type of shoot em’ up. There is not a lot of extra content, as the four ships you can select from (starting out with two) have only a couple weapons, including a clear all attack. While classified as a bullet-hell type of game with a few elements present, I found that there was much more room to maneuver than Ikaruga or a number of other shooters on the Switch. I appreciated how 1917 was able to get most of the fundamental shoot em’ up elements right with a good balance of speed between your ship, enemy ships, and enemy projectiles.
The story of 1917 does, of course take place in 1917 with your character flying a World War 1 style tri-plane through the Verdun, France and even in space…somehow… You play as Doctor Brunhield Stahlmuller, a German woman tasked with eliminating the alien invaders and her spunk is immediately apparent with how she humorously insults you if you get hit while playing. There is not much story content since this is a basic shooter, but I found the premise intriguing.
If you take one hit you’re dead, but there’s plenty of shield powerups around so you can absorb one extra hit. You have unlimited lives, but there are no checkpoints, so you have to start at the beginning of each level after you die without any extra powerups. The nest part of the action is that you really have to use the entire screen, whether in handheld or docked mode, instead of just hanging back and dodging. Sometimes you have to use your surroundings; for example one level takes place in space and in order to survive it’s imperative to use the asteroid cover for ships that spray bullets in all directions.
Being that 1917 is a shoot em’ up it does get pretty hard to stay alive, though it’s not too difficult of being totally unapproachable or inaccessible to someone who just wants to shoot up aliens and their ships. My biggest flaw with 1917 is that this DX edition is still too short from its PC version, only adding three additional levels from the original five and they’re all relatively short stages. A boss is at the end of each level and this is where most of the challenge comes from with fast projectiles and higher health.
Keep in mind, even with the short length 1917 is predicated on acquiring points and high scores, and that’s due to the combo/point multiplier system. This system allows you to rack up points quickly as long as you keep destroying ships before the meter on the lower right runs out. 1917 may be short, but once you develop some skill for its mechanics, you can always go back to any level for a high score ranking.
Lastly, the music in 1917 is absolutely brilliant with every track being memorable, well-done, and fits the aesthetic perfectly. The soundtrack was upbeat at the right times, and calming synths play for the first time when entering space recalling bringing you in to the world Andrade Games created. Unfortunately, the sound design behind the explosions and weapon fire could have been more beefed up, lacking the punch many shooters provide in this area.
Overall, 1917 – The Alien Invasion DX is a nice and approachable pick-up-and-play shoot em’ up. It’s very short even with the levels added to the Switch version and has no extras. However, if you’re shooter enthusiast, 1917 is worth the modest price point if you want a retro-inspired bullet-hell type of game. It doesn’t reinvent or innovate the genre in any way, but it is still fun and enjoyable to play.
The Verdict: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by KORION
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This post was written by minusthebrant