Aliens vs. Aliens

As a rule, I try to finish all the games I review for Indie Gamer Chick whether I want to or not.  It’s not always a possibility.  I surrendered to Mr. Gravity because it was too hard and I pussied out on Plague because I couldn’t convince anyone to play it on co-op with me.  And now, in the case of Aliens vs. Aliens, I quit because after an hour of playtime nothing was fucking happening.

Aliens vs. Aliens is in theory a hybrid of third-person shooting and tactical strategy.  You control a squad of four classically designed “Greys” who have gone to war with others in their species over the fate of Earth.  You’re placed in a forest with a group of opposing aliens and attempt to find and shoot them before they find and shoot you.  You move each alien on your team individually, with a limited amount of distance allotted per a turn.  Upon finding an enemy, you must get within range and stop moving, at which point your guy will start to fire automatically for the remaining duration of your movement meter.

So it’s basically Video Hide-and-Seek, and that doesn’t sound too bad, assuming it works.  Which it doesn’t.  The first stage seemed to play fine, mostly because the enemies found me and I had numbers on them.  And then came level two, where I picked off the first of three enemies on my second turn.  This was followed by the most agonizing hour of my life since I sampled the cyanide-flavored ice cream at Baskin-Robbins*.

There’s a radar system that beeps when an enemy is nearby.  The problem is I could not get within range of them.  After you’ve moved your four dudes, the enemies get a turn that’s hidden from view.  Instead of engaging me, they seemed more interested in running away.  I tried everything to lure the damn things out.  I walked my guys as far apart from each-other as physically possible.  I tried marching them in a group.  I even skipped twenty-five consecutive turns.  That’s not exaggeration.  I did not do a anything at all with any of my guys for twenty-five turns.  I was operating under the false hope that the AI would assume I had died of a heart attack with my head slumped on the start button.

Figuring something glitched out, I restarted the mission and again quickly picked off the first enemy.  My radar went into overdrive and I thought “alright, problem solved, let’s fuck these guys up.”  And then the enemy got to move and the radar never fired up again.  Sigh.

If this game actually worked, it would have been a lot of fun.  I really liked the concept here, along with the sharp graphics and spooky techno music.   Instead, I spent over an hour with the niggling feeling that the game was laughing at me.  I’m not sure if I was doing something wrong, and the developers didn’t provide any help.  There’s no tutorial so it’s like being thrown into the deep end of the pool on your first day.  And your first day happens when you’re six-weeks old, premature, and your mother was a heavy drinker.  Maybe there really is no game here.  Maybe Aliens vs. Aliens is just a really fancy boredom simulator.  Yea, that must be it.  Trying to corner the market on Xbox before Minecraft 360 launches.

Aliens vs. Aliens was developed by Fun Factory Entertainment

80 Microsoft Points waited for an anal probe that never arrived in the making of this review.

*Otherwise known as Daiquiri Ice

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

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