Sometimes, a cheesy game is exactly what you need—and want.
Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable is a re-mastered version of the classic shooter for the PlayStation Vita that includes seven new levels and the ability to play in co-op or versus mode with your friends.
If you never played the original as I hadn’t, you will face off against swarms of giant ants and spiders, tall robots, space ships and more in a third-person view. You need to save the Earth from an alien invasion as the member of the Earth Defense Force. Each level isn’t over until you’ve killed every enemy on screen.
You level up your health and acquire new weapons by picking up little boxes dropped by dead enemies. If you pick up a weapon box, however, you won’t actually know what you snagged until after the level is over and you can start to use it. You’ll want to experiment with weapons as sometimes you want a missile launcher that locks in on targets, whereas other times you’ll want rockets without targeting so you can directly take down a spaceship before dealing with the insects and robots it is dropping.
The kind of weapons dropped will also depend on the difficulty you’re playing the game on. Difficulty can be toggled at the beginning of each mission as can the weapons you take in to battle. (You can only take two, however.)
Enemies increase in difficulty the longer you play, while it seemed my AI buddies got dumber. There were certain levels near the end of the game where they were completely wiped out and it was up to me to take out 50+ insects or robots. (I never had the chance to play co-op with human players unfortunately.)
While the game is re-mastered, you won’t mistake this game for a high definition new release. The plot is also cheesy and silly, as are the one-liners your AI buddies will utter. But the game is incredibly addictive and is a fantastic game for a commute, which is how I’ve been playing it for the last few months.
It’s also a fairly long campaign—even playing some of the levels on easy, I wound up taking more than nine hours to make my way through all 60 levels. According to the game, however, I only completed 20% of the game since there are so many more weapons for me to discover.
The environments are also destructible which never stopped being fun and while there are tanks, helicopters and more for you to take control of, the controls were so wonky and ineffective, I almost always avoided them. I preferred to tackle my enemies on foot.
The only thing that makes recommending Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable hard is its price: $39.99. It’s an incredibly addictive, fun way to spend your time on flights or on trains, but not at that price unfortunately. If, however, you were a fan of the original, you might not mind as much. If this game was $20, it would be an absolute must buy.
* Disclosure: A downloadable code for the game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review. *