"Set in the future, made in the present, looks like the past"
I have a bold prediction to make: Aliens: Infestation will be one of the last games to be full of pixel goodness. For some people, it may not matter. But for the ones that grew up on 2D gaming, Aliens: Infestation harkens back to a simpler time. A time of 2D pixel goodness and primitive gameplay.
In Aliens: Infestation, the player takes control of a marine – or rather a team of marines. If a marine gets killed in action, they don’t come back. However, during certain parts of the game, being defeated means being captured. The player may take control of the other members of the team to rescue their fallen comrad, but if the player is too late, then that marine is done for.
The soldiers of Aliens: Infestation come in all shapes and sizes. They each have their own dialogue and unique way of interacting with other characters. But be warned, don’t get attached to any particular character because your favorite may kick the bucket at any time.
- There's death around every corner -
Marines are able to run at faster speeds and roll. Performing these actions will eat up the stamina meter. Running and gunning is straight-forward. Marines have the option of using several weapons – for example, the handy-dandy machine gun or the grenade. If the player is adept at exploring, numerous upgrades can be found throughout Aliens: Infestation to increase a weapon’s strength.
The player is able to have four marines in the group. When one soldier dies, another can take his place. This feature is a unique take on a continue system. It’s the most interesting aspect of Aliens: Infestation.
Speaking of interesting, combat is far from it. The enemy encounters are uninspiring and primitive. For instance, androids are easily beaten by crouching and shooting. Human enemies are beaten by taking cover and blind-firing or spamming your gun. And the aliens... well, the aliens are uninspiring as well. They do not present a major threat, but an annoyance. These enemies are easily beaten, but carelessness will sneak upon a player. Do not be surprised if marines are at half of their life due to negligence.
While combat presents problems for the game, everything else is up to par. The exploration aspect of Aliens: Infestation is very fun. Fans of Metroid and Castlevania will eat this title up. When certain obstacles block a player’s progress, the game will lead the player towards the right tool to overcome that roadblock.
Thankfully, WayForward implemented goals in Aliens: Infestation for the player to accomplish. Thus, players will never have to wander around aimlessly, looking for the next area to explore. The goals are marked on the map or explained by the man in charge of the operation. Due to the nature of these goals, players may follow a linear path to progress through the game. However, knowing where to go is much more satisfying than being lost.
Another charming aspect of the game is the art style. While 2D games have started to use polygons, Aliens: Infestation takes us back to the 16-bit era. The game’s pixel art is fantastic. The animations are very fluid and the backgrounds are fitting for the atmosphere.
- The pixel art graphics are masterfully created -
Unfortunately, the sounds of the game are not as impressive as its sights. WayForward normally puts out catchy songs in their games, but in Aliens: Infestation, the music gets repetitive. Whenever tension fills the air, the same song could be heard over and over again. With such repetition, the tension removes itself from the game. Just like combat, the sound department is one of the game‘s shortcomings.
All in all, the game is a worthy addition to the Aliens franchise. Does the game have its flaws? Yes, it does. The music and combat prevent Aliens: Infestation from being special. But, despite all those flaws, the game is very fun to play. Players will rarely be lost in the maze, and the pixel art is a delight to see in motion. If Aliens: Infestation is one of the last of its kind, then it will be a good game to end the 2D pixelated era.
GameDynamo's Score for Aliens: Infestation (DS/DSi)
Chris started playing games at the tender age of 5. Since then, he sees mushrooms, hearts, aliens, and spikey-haired blondes in his sleep.
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