Aliens vs Humans
Aliens vs Humans treads the well-worn path of tower defence strategy games that appear so popular on the App Store these days. While platformers and more arcadey titles may struggle with the restrictions the touch screen puts on them, this is one genre that embraces the interface iOS devices offer.
The other big advantage the App Store gives is an accessible platform, relatively simple to develop for. It has never been easier for those looking for a gateway into games development to give it a go. Aliens vs Humans is a perfect example of that, developed in less than three weeks by a group of students taking part at Gamer Camp in Birmingham City University.
When given such a short period of time to develop a game from scratch, it is understandable that the students developing Aliens vs Humans may have looked at other examples of the genre for some influence and ideas. And everyone knows, the king of the tower defence strategy genre is Plants vs Zombies. Perfectly balanced, genuinely funny and slickly presented, Popcap’s masterpiece has sold millions of copies on every platform imaginable.
To hint that Aliens vs Humans is a bit like Plants vs Zombies would be like suggesting Transformers 3 is a bit like Transformers 2. Whilst Aliens vs Zombies is an admirable achievement given the time scales involved, it is a touch disappointing to see such a complete lack of originality in structure and game mechanics.
Gameplay is simple, with the screen divided into a five by eight grid. Energy is gained which is then spent on alien companions to assist you in defeating the human invasion. By placing a combination of offensive and defensive aliens on the playing field, the aim is to stop any of the humans reaching the left hand side of the screen.
Like Popcap’s variant, the game is split into two main modes – campaign and survival. The campaign is six levels long and will take you no longer than an hour to get through. It ties in a cute wee narrative to keep things moving along but don’t expect anything too challenging. Survival mode requires you to withstand wave after wave of humans until you eventually die. Unfortunately, it is fundamentally broken. You will get to a point where the game just swamps you with enemies and no matter how prepared or skilled you are, there is nothing you can do about it. While frustrating, this is something that would likely have been ironed out with more time spent on development and testing.
Visually, the game is bright and vibrant with pinks and purples the order of the day. The sprites are simple but bursting with personality and character achieving all they need to with a minimum of fuss.
Aliens vs Humans is a difficult game to pin down. On the one hand, there isn’t much more than two hours content here but it is fun while it lasts. The game lacks any real imagination or creativity but when you consider it was made in less than three weeks, is an astounding achievement. It would have been nice to have seen something with a little more originality even if it meant the finished product was less polished. That said, there is no excuse for you not checking out this little curio seeing as it is available on the App Store for free now.