"Invaders! Possibly from Space!"
Off the bat, you should be familiar with your goal in Space Invaders Extreme. You are a tiny cannon at the bottom of the screen who wants to shoot the descending mass of invading aliens before they reach the ground, dodging their shots all the while. What Space Invaders Extreme does is add a ridiculous number of features to that simple mechanic to turn it into a highly addictive arcade shooter. There are now multiple colors of Invaders, and shooting up groups of the same color drops power ups, like the ability to shield yourself from attacks or fire off giant death-rays. Racking up multiple groups of colors can cause a flashy UFO to fly overhead, and destroying it breaks up what you're doing for a quick mini-game round where you have to perform a specific task, like beating up only red invaders in a sea of white ones. Your reward for completing this is a fever mode where you can just go absolutely berserk and rack up serious points.
For the record, this game is all about the points, a tradition that has grown strangely uncommon in video gaming these days. Multiple kills grants you combo point modifiers, fever mode grants you a ridiculous number of points, and there's even a roulette wheel that, among other random things, can boost your score. In the end, this isn't just for fun, as you can take it competitively and upload your score onto the Nintendo WFC to see how you compare to the insane Japanese players.
Probably the best part of this game is the Boss fights at the end of each stage, which generally consists of shooting at a massive invader while dodging some Gradius-level bullets. These are easily the highlight of an already supreme package. Sadly, the game is lacking a straight-up Boss Rush mode, which is unfortunate since there is a mode where you just plow straight through every stage without dealing with Bosses. It would have made sense to give you the complete opposite... Oh well.
There is a multi-player aspect of the game, both online and locally, though it's not really robust. It mostly consists of who can die less. Simple, but appreciated none the less, especially since you only need one cartridge. While I'm double-checking the back of the box here to verify multiplayer count, I am reminded that this game supports the Rumble Pack, a rare feature in DS games. Using this causes the pack to vibrate too the beat, which as far as I can tell, has no real impact other than making it feel more bass heavy.
It should be mentioned that this game is difficult. Very difficult. Somebody who is originally worried about the lack of content should be happy to know that this game doesn't need a lot, because you will not be getting through it very quickly. It's very easy to pick up but insanely difficult to master. It is truly deserving of the name "Extreme."
The music of the game is fairly good. It's mostly a few generic techno beats, supplemented by the sound effects. Every shot you take is meant to sound like a note, similar to the way Lumines operates. It helps really pull the game together, and with the crazy flashing backgrounds, really pulls you in. Something about the whole audio-visual experience is ridiculously engrossing, and it's hard not to get lost once you've started.
There really is no complaint for this game, unless being too hard is a complaint. If you prefer games that give mercy, you should move along but for everyone else, I can't recommend you pick this up any more without being considered obsessed. It's a great game to always have with you, because it doesn't require you to take up a lot of time, or remember a convoluted story. It's pick up and play at its best.