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Alien Breed Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on August 6, 2012


Alien Breed
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Retina graphics and twin-stick controls give the classic shooter a modern touch.
  • Limited resources add to the tension.
  • New 'Convergence' campaign acts as a good introduction to the game's mechanics.
  • iCade support; perfect compliment to an already great shooter.

CONS

  • New weapons feel more like 'flavor' changes; no real change on gameplay.
  • Twin-stick control not offset by better AI; makes it easier to survive bad situations you've placed yourself in.
  • Repetitive audio effects.
  • Multiplayer mode currently missing from this release.

VERDICT

Rose-tinted glasses or not, Alien Breed stands the test of time whether you play the updated or 'classic' mode; an excellent shooter complete with genuine moments of tension that keep you coming back for more.


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Sure, Alien Breed by Team17 may have been a bare-faced attempt at re-imagining the Aliens franchise as a top-down shooter, but if you never had a chance to experience the classic on an Amiga, you haven't lived. That last statement may be hyperbolic (just a tad), but players were subjected to claustrophobic corridors, quick-moving aliens that continued to appear seemingly out of nowhere and (best of all) had to deal with severely limited resources. The sense of fear and tension was ahead of its time, and as such, is ripe for re-releasing in a modern setting.

However, some tweaks must be made to accommodate for mature gaming sensibilities; notably the graphics have been given a Retina quality polishing and the controls now feature the dual-stick shooting freedom we've come to know and (in some cases) love. Of course you can switch to 'classic' mode, complete with the original visuals, soundtrack, audio and controls, but you can save that for when you're after a harder challenge - as it is you're going to need all the help you can get.

This is, in-part, thanks to the way in which each level plays with a gamer's head - turning expectations against them and forcing a player to make decisions such as 'do I really need to get through that door or will I need it to survive the final run to the exit?'. Keys, ammunition, credits and even 'health' are in short supply, dotted around the map behind closed doors or protected by hordes of enemies willing to soak up your precious ammunition. Thankfully judicious use of your resources will keep you alive, but beware the instant-kill pits and doors waiting to suck up those spare lives.

Team17's re-release features not only the original Alien Breed, but the subsequent 'Special Edition' complete with added levels and new version of the weapons you may have already unlocked. Credits, lives, ammunition and keys all carry on between these modes, so it's in your interest to start off with the brand-new Convergence and work your way up to the epic 'Special Edition'.

Pulling off the rose-tinted glasses for a moment, there are a few issues that can't be ignored. For starters, the twin-stick controls destroy the challenge of the game - being able to run-and-gun makes it so much easier to deal with bad situations instead of being forced to stand your ground in the classic mode. Also, while the special effects weren't exactly amazing in the original, the repetitive squawking of the aliens as they die in the updated version isn't much better. Lastly, should you manage to waste your resources your only options are either to start fresh and try to be more conservative, or cough up money to purchase credits via IAP. Ultimately, these are only quibbles, but worthy of fixing in future updates.

Whether you're a returning fan or an iOS gamer after a top-down shooter that isn't afraid to stack the odds against you, Alien Breed is definitely worth grabbing.

Screenshots

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