At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Dave Wickham Nintendo DS SEGA Wayforward Technologies 1
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
None. Click here to buy Aliens Infestation.

Aliens Infestation review

I often find myself thinking I should probably get round to watching films which have managed to lodge themselves in the collective public mind somehow. I can't really remember which "Star Wars" films I've seen, for example, nor could I tell you the plots of any of them. "Back to the Future"? "Aliens"? "The Terminator"? Not a clue. So, who better to review Aliens: Infestation than me?

He's bursting to get out

He's bursting to get out

Aliens: Infestation follows Fire Team Fox, a group of four marines who have been sent in to investigate a mysteriously (almost) abandoned ship. Once they're in, after a small bit of dialogue, you get to control the team one member at a time, making them explore the ship in a fairly typical Metroidvania kind of way. Of course, even without having seen any of the "Alien(s)" films, it's not hard to figure out that the ship may not be quite so empty. Before too long your marines find their route being slightly blocked by robots who want to kill them, and, as you'd hope for a game with Aliens in the title, Xenomorphs. (For those of you less familiar with the series than I am, they're the titular aliens.)

It's probably worth mentioning that, if you're not a fan of challenging games, then Aliens: Infestation is not for you, and you should probably stop reading. This game is hard. I mean really hard. Even on the easiest difficulty it's still hard, and can cause immense frustration. You can switch between each marine at will, effectively giving you up to four lives, but if all of them die, you're chucked back to the title screen and have to start off from the last save point, and in some cases this can be quite a way before the boss that wiped out your marines last time. Oh, and when a marine dies, you don't get them back. Ever. There are some marines in the various levels that will join your party if you meet them with fewer than four team members, but if you've finished the level, you can't go back. This actually adds a nice degree of realism to the game, solving the multiple lives problem - each marine is an individual, with their own name, picture, and even personality, with different marines having different dialogue.

Grenades vs eggs. Grenades win.

Grenades vs eggs. Grenades win.

The difficulty of Aliens: Infestation serves to add an element which is presumably quite important for an Alien(s) game: suspense. Early on you gain a proximity sensor for your map. This can reassure you that an area is empty, warn you that there are a couple of enemies nearby, or, as is quite often the case, scare you with a mass of blue dots when you have barely any health left. (Oh yeah, health and ammo supplies? Generally pretty rare. On the plus side, save rooms replenish both.) I often found myself putting off clearing out some of these areas, knowing I'd almost certainly die, before finally giving in and slowly venturing towards the danger zone, hearing the "ping" of the motion detector, desperately hoping to not lose my marine, waiting to see the full body of enemies in store for me. The flip side of this is, of course, the sense of relief you get when you finally find a save room, or manage to beat a boss, or find another marine to join your team, those times where you feel a bit less doomed.

Apart from the fact that it's so hard, Aliens: Infestation is pretty easy to get in to; basic controls are quick to learn, and you can easily switch between marines, change weapons, and look at the map from the touch screen. It's also usually clear what you're meant to do, although it may just feel that way because of the amount of time you spend carefully trying to do it without being killed in the process. The only let down is a lack of an initial tutorial regarding the controls as it seems to be assumed that you can figure the basics out for yourself. Or that you can look at the manual. But who does that any more?

Another classic reference Dave won't understand.

Another classic reference Dave won't understand.

Despite its ability to be incredibly frustrating at times, playing Aliens: Infestation is an enjoyable experience. The tension of trying to make it through a heavily enemy-laden stretch followed by the relief of finding a save room is gripping. The only downside with this is that it can sometimes feel like you're repeatedly bashing your head against a brick wall, which can be a bit off-putting. But still, persevere and you'll be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and a fun game.

Ratings

Overall If you're not scared of hard games, and you enjoy entertainment in the form of the 'Metroidvania' style, then you're unlikely to be disappointed. It may even have some good Alien(s) references in it, too, just I wouldn't know. 8/10

Click here to buy Aliens Infestation from Amazon.co.uk.

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