I'm now ready for when real Space Invaders attack my garden thanks to Google's free AR game

Google and Taito partner for 45th anniversary of iconic arcade shooter

Space Imvaders World Defense on iPhone
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

Space Invaders first appeared in arcades and kebab shops 45 years ago and, as part of the iconic shoot 'em up's anniversary, Taito and Google have joined forces to release a new, augmented reality version of the game for mobile devices.

Space Invaders: World Defense is available for free for iOS and Android  - you can download it now from your respective app store. And it's, quite literally, a blast.

It uses your phone's camera to scan your surroundings (by asking you to follow a spaceship as it travels across the background) and then spawns invaders from behind buildings in your field of view.

You get your craft at the bottom and a radar to show where the invaders have appeared next, then you have to tap the screen to shoot them to score points. They can shoot back, so you'll have to also tap on their fire to avoid being hit.

Like with the original, it's a fairly easy game to get to grips with. However, the AR angle not only makes it fun to play in your garden or outside somewhere else, it also allows you to see and try to beat friends' scores, even share your achievements on social media using an AR selfie.

Space Invaders: World Defense uses Google's ARCore and Geospatial API to capture your surrounds and location. It cleverly knows where buildings, landscapes and architectural elements are to interact with them. The engine also changes the game based on time and weather conditions.

It's all great fun, as I found out by blasting the invaders emerging from behind my shed and over the rooftop of my house. And, like I've said above, it's simple enough to get into. There are power ups along the way too, to add extra depth - something the original coin-op didn't include.

I expect there'll be plenty of other activities around the game's 45th anniversary coming up. For starters, Numskull's official Space Invaders Quarter Scale Arcade Cabinet is pretty awesome - that'll be released this August and I certainly can't wait to relive my youth when I get my hands on one myself.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.