Developer: 8floor/Sigma Team
Not too long ago, I was raving about how far 8floor had come in terms of developing games for the Vita. They’d limited themselves to casual games, sure, but over the course of about a year they’d gone from releasing very poorly made mobile ports to ones that looked and played really well. Consequently, I was excited — albeit in a small, low stakes kind of way — for Alien Shooter, since it represented their first Vita game geared towards a more hardcore gaming audience.
I probably should’ve tempered my expectations. While Alien Shooter isn’t anywhere close to being as bad as their earlier efforts, it’s still not really worth checking out unless you’ve got a desperate need to play a mediocre twin stick shooter.
In fact, even then, you’d better really want one of those, because you it’s hard to see what you’d get here that you couldn’t also get out of replaying Age of Zombies or Ultratron or Pixeljunk Shooter a few more times. It’s not that Alien Shooter is bad, either — it’s just that it’s so profoundly uninspired. As the title implies, it’s a game where you shoot aliens and…well, that’s it. Just mowing down dozens upon dozens of aliens, until the metal ground under your feet is slick with bits and pieces of them.
If that description makes the game sound cool, it really shouldn’t, since the reality of Alien Shooter is much, much more bland. The environments are interchangeable, all ugly, metallic labs with zero personality. The aliens are equally forgettable, looking for the most part like mutated crickets — occasionally you get them in different colors, but that’s about as inventive as the character designs get.
It should come as no surprise that the gameplay is about as rote as you could imagine, too. Just think of a no-frills twin stick shooter, and you now know everything there is to know about Alien Shooter. The weapons are boring, the goals are straightforward, and at no time will you run any risk of being surprised. The only thing different about the game is that it doesn’t include a minimap — and considering that a) you need to clear every room before moving on, and b) the levels become pretty big pretty quickly, that’s hardly a point in its favor.
Then again, considering how flawed many of 8floor’s other games were, only having one glaring issue isn’t that bad. Alien Shooter still probably isn’t worth picking up, but if the past is any guide, it may not be too long until it’s followed by a game that is.