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Review: Alien Space
Author: s-m-r
Added: 07/05/2009

Alien Space has a fantastic and faithful retro feel to it. I'm personally a big fan of shoot-em-ups (or "shmups") like Galaga, Gyruss, and even the old NES titles like The Guardian Legent and Xevious...That's immediately what came to mind when the title screen popped up. The menu is true-to-form and style, and everything is easy to understand. There's no need for a story; just go right into the action. You can start the game in one click...Perfect!

Controls in Alien Space are easy to pick up for anyone who's familiar with shmups: arrow keys will move you, while you have an automatic-fire primary weapon and an occasional 'smart bomb' that blasts everything on the screen. Though the enemies end up repeating, the action continues to ramp up; you see similar combinations of enemies become more and more challenging as the waves continue. A nice effort, and once again true-to-form for shmups. There is no slow-down, lag, or bugs to speak of.

Being a NES junkie from back in the day, I felt right at home. I assume it was all hand-drawn pixel art for everything in the game, and it is all very well done and distinctive. All the enemies, bullets, backgrounds, and explosions fit together seamlessly into a solid graphical theme For what it is: excellent work!

This is one area where I was very impressed. If you'd ever imagined what the original Metroid would have sounded like had it been a shmup instead of an action-adventure, then the soundtrack for Alien Space is what you'd hear. There is somewhat of a lack of variety, but the audio tracks are worth the wait. The sound design--from 'blast off' at the start of wave 1 to the massive explosions of the end bosses--are fulfilling and evocative. Again, the comparisons to classic 8-bit and 16-bit shooters cannot be denied.

I've not finished this game yet, although I've tried for hours. I keep coming back to it as a quick-and-easy casual shmup that has a lot of lasting appeal. The difficulty seems well-paced, though I've only made it through half the game. It's clear that with a lot of dedication and/or sleepless nights, I just might make it to all 40 waves. I'll definitely be keeping this one on my desktop for a while, as I know I can find some dependable shmup action when I play Alien Space.

For a game that is clearly a tribute to the old-skool shmups out there, this one really holds its own. I mentioned before that I'm attracted to playing it for long stretches of game time, and I definitely have my thirst quenched by Alien Space. This game is once again a reminder that you don't need cutting-edge graphics, a complex, character-driven story, or even save files to make a riveting, entertaining game experience. It's very entertaining and easy to play for the most casual of gamers, while hardcore shmup enthusiasts will enjoy the challenge of the later waves. I highly recommend Alien Space.

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Worth A Click