Saturday, 9 March 2013

Review: Alien Breed - Impact

Alien Breed is a rather simple but fun isometric view shooter. The game is set aboard a spaceship and the single player campaign lasts around 8-9 hours. Although the game mainly involves walking through dark corridors and shooting at giant alien bugs, it manages to maintain a good sense of atmosphere and delivers well on the fun aspect.

The player gets to use 5 different weapons, several items, and faces a healthy variety of enemies, which does well at minimizing what could potentially have been a repetitive game. The situations vary greatly. At times you might face one or two bugs at a time, and then at other times a whole wave would just burst out from all around you and force you to battle for your own survival. The fact that enemies could come from anywhere – doorways, vents, floor – creates a sense of tension and keeps the player ready for anything.

Although it seems like the game is building towards some kind of plot, usually in the comic-book-style cutscenes, most of the things you do don’t seem to have much relevance. For most of the time when outside battles you just go around the huge ship and activate various computer systems in order to gain access to the next area. It could feel repetitive at times, but the main focus of the game is mostly on tension and battles with the aliens, so I suppose it’s not much of an issue really.

There is also a chance to upgrade your weapons so to give yourself a bit of an edge in combat. Each weapon has 3 different upgrade options: rate of fire, reload time, and damage per shot. Now the interesting thing is that you can only ever have 1 upgrade active at a time, so the player will have to do some decision making and choose an upgrade that they feel is most suitable for each gun. This also opens a slight possibility for replay value.

Without giving spoilers, I also want to mention that I was a bit disappointed with the final boss of the game. Its attacks kept repeating themselves over and over in a very repetitive pattern, and also for some strange reason at times when the boss is supposed to go under the floor it kept getting stuck upside down. However, this is only a mere 10-15 minutes of an otherwise very engaging and well-polished game. It’s quite simple at its core, but the quality of the presentation that it delivers is very respectable.

Now after having completed the game, there are two more parts that await me and it seems the plot is still building towards something. This is not really a stand alone game, but more like a chapter of a book or an episode of a TV show. So I am quite eager to try out second and third instalments in the series and see where this goes. I might make a combined review of both of them. Lastly to mention, the game also offers a co-op mode, but I am yet to try that out.

My score: 9/10