I have a soft spot for Housemarque. They’ve created some of my favorite games on PlayStation consoles and handhelds such as Super Stardust and Resogun. I also found myself enjoying Dead Nation which is more similar to Alienation, the latest game I’ve fallen in love with.
Alienation puts players in the midst of a struggle where aliens have taken over earth and it’s up to them to stop the alien invasion from growing even worse. Thankfully the game comes packed with awesome weaponry that can be collected on the battlefield and unleashed upon the invaders in many pleasing ways.
Alienation is a twin-stick shooter that sends players searching for loot on the battlefield while gaining XP to level up. It’s a world full of unique and tough aliens, so it’s fantastic to stumble across a rare weapon that can be used to assist in the battle against them. Players are also able to unlock unique abilities based on three different soldier types that bring even more bliss to the gameplay. For example, I selected the Saboteur for his unique ability to call in airstrikes. Oh my, how wonderful it is to make it rain from above!
— Andrew Stevens (@CaffeinatedGamr) August 21, 2016
The first mission feels intense as players begin their journey and encounter their adversary for the first time. This intense feeling has a tendency to stick around too, and not just for the first few missions. One of the best things I’ve discovered about Alienation is the way it progresses forward. Every mission features new experiences with new alien encounters. There are many “what the heck is that!” moments throughout the game, which is fantastic. The intensity never seems to diminish.
Usually in games like this it’s the loot, the more powerful weaponry, that entices the player forward. And while that’s true as well with Alienation, I can’t say enough about how wonderful each mission is as players are always on their toes with not knowing exactly what they’ll be walking into. Aliens get bigger, have increasing range of attacks, and new abilities that players always need to be on the lookout for.
There are other surprises on the battlefield as well, including event battles where players must defeat a mini-boss and other nearby aliens. These bosses are often very powerful and can be found outside of the required path for the mission.
Once players start collecting the more powerful loot is when these battles against a seemingly evolving enemy becomes really stimulating. Each mission continues to be intense, however a new level of excitement arrives when players can unleash the power of flame throwers and rocket launchers. They can really pack a punch with those weapons and either burn the alien scum to a crisp or watch as they go sky high.
Speaking of sky high, Alienation features some pretty fantastic alien butt-kicking visuals. Players will watch as aliens go skyrocketing on the screen in all directions, including right at the camera, when using the explosive weaponry like grenades and rocket launchers. Calling in airstrikes or intentionally blowing up vehicles also send nearby foes launching up into the air. This is so much fun to watch occur and really adds to the overall enjoyment of the gameplay.
As seen in the video above, destroying hordes of aliens at once with explosives is even better! There are so many aliens shooting across the sky that it would make any air traffic controller nervous. And speaking of hordes, there are random periods during each mission where hordes will come rushing at the player. If the player isn’t ready, the hordes will win and force them to start from their last checkpoint, losing their XP multiplier in the process. This is another one of those situations that causes players to be on the edge of their seat with not knowing what’s around each corner.
Mission design has also been a pleasure to experience thus far on my journey with Alienation. The mission map shows the player the general direction of where to go in what’s a rather large map. The player can follow the mission direction completely or run off course and see what other loot can be discovered. This is when players come across the event battles which can lead to earning good loot.
Alienation keeps the screen visually appealing with its animations and colorful weapon fire. It also controls quite well and makes tossing grenades, using special abilities, and firing weaponry a complete joy to experience.
Now it’s time for me to jump back in to battle to further level up and collect more awesome loot. Those aliens are going down! Well, actually, I’ll be sending them up to great heights with every explosion. Oh yeah!