You've got to protect what really matters: cake!
A game doesn’t always have to be complex to get you hooked. Sometimes, all it takes is the solid execution of a simple premise to derive enjoyment. A perfect example is Cake Invaders, a new release from developers EastAsiaSoft. Not only is it extremely charming in its presentation, but entertaining, and perfectly challenging as well. The game is straightforward, easy to understand, and it delivers on what it promises. This results in a very solid, and most importantly, fun experience.
Cake Invaders, as the name alludes to, is an arcade-style shoot‘em-up with elements of tower defense gameplay. You start off playing a lone astronaut with a powerful railgun, and your mission is to protect your cake from waves of alien enemies. As the aliens rain down from the sky, you’ll need to shoot them to protect the precious layers of your Baumkuchen– a sweet German cake popular in Japan.
To stave off the invasion, you’ll hold down the triggers to shoot, and use the joysticks to aim around the screen. A variety of enemies await, and while each may seem simple to beat, the pairing of multiple alien types creates a real challenge in each wave. Killing aliens builds up your rainbow Baumkuchen meter, and when it’s maxed out, you get a power-up. These range from extra gunners, cake protection, stronger bullets, and faster shots. Some upgrades are temporary and others last until you’re hit, but each feels genuinely satisfying to use, while also making gameplay more diverse. Wiping out waves of invaders feels extremely good, and kept me wanting to play more. That said, the game has some wild difficulty curves near the beginning, which can make it hard to get going. For me, this extra challenge made it that much more satisfying to clear a stage.
Much like the premise, Cake Invaders’ presentation is simple, but extremely effective. The pixel-art graphics are adorable, with bright colors, and an overall pleasing art style. The frantic running animations for your fellow astronauts are cute, and add to both the aesthetic and pace of the game. Likewise, the aliens you’re fighting are quite varied, which helps in telling them apart. Finally, the snappy music fits the game’s tone and speed perfectly, and it even speeds up during particularly tense moments of fighting. Everything comes together for a solid, cohesive experience.
Overall, I ended up enjoying Cake Invaders a lot, and I’ll definitely keep trying for new high scores. The worldwide leaderboard gives you a great motivation, begging you to play just one more wave. Again, the challenge of the first few waves might feel overwhelming, but pushing through to victory is extremely satisfying. All in all, Cake Invaders is definitely a game you shouldn’t overlook.