Team17 Digital’s latest reincarnation of the Alien Breed franchise has recently made a welcome return to mainstream gaming, thanks to Sony’s new Playstation Mobile platform, a platform designed to bring ‘Quality’ games to a variety of Mobile & Tablet devices including the PS Vita.
Alien Breed, just like Worms, is one of Team17’s iconic games – a game that has stood the test of time whereby players, new and old, still come back for more.
For those who haven’t heard of Alien Breed, then here is a ‘short’ history lesson for you, as the original game was released onto the Amiga back in 1991. It featured a Cinematic ‘text-based’ introduction and fast paced shooting action, where Survival was key. A year after the game’s inital release, Team17 released an ‘expanded’ version of the game featuring more levels and improved visuals. The ‘Special Edition’ of the game was so popular that it stayed within the Games Chart for over a year. Since then Alien Breed has had many ‘spin-off’ titles and sequels, as well as most recently a trilogy collection for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, however none could compete with the iconic classic from the nineties.
This Playstation Mobile release of Alien Breed features both the original 1991 game and its expanded (Special Edition) version that was released in 1992. Additionally the game also features Convergence and Valiance, two new gameplay modes that tell the story of L.P.C. Member Stone, the other team member that was sent in to investigate the space station. It’s also been confirmed that ‘additional’ gameplay modes will be released as DLC in the future, but for the time being this Playstation Mobile version features over 25 unique levels spread over these four gameplay modes.
In addition to featuring a variety of Gameplay Modes, Alien Breed also has two different ‘Gameplay Styles’ – this option allows players to play the game in its newly ‘re-mastered’ format, with High Definition styled Visuals and smoother graphics, or it is ‘original’ format with 2D Sprites. Both Styles look fantastic, even on the PS Vita, and it shows that a ‘strong’ amount of care has been taken with this game, with some suggesting that the ‘original’ format looks better than the re-master.
Whichever version you play, the gameplay remains the same, as the game is played with a ‘top-down’ view like the original Grand Theft Auto game, with the D-Pad or Left Analog stick being used to move your character, while the right Analog Stick or Playstation Buttons being used to fire your weapon at the enemy. Changing your weapons can be done by pressing the Left and Right Trigger buttons, while navigating the menu screens is done by using the touch-screen. All in all it’s a very ‘simplistic’ control scheme and ideal for short bursts of fun.
By using these controls it’s up to you, the player, to navigate around the space station and destroy any ‘mutanted’ or ‘alien’ resistance, while at the same time looking for the Space Stations core. While navigating around the levels, players must also pick-up Key Cards to access restricted areas and in order to progress through to the next level players must locate the exit, which can be more difficult than it sounds due the levels ‘maze-like’ deisgn. In a sense Alien Breed has a similar approach to Doom (where players have to find the exit and use Key Cards to access new areas), however Alien Breed features a top-down view and has more of a ‘survival’ element with re-spawning enemies and confusing paths.
The major new addition, other than the improved visuals, to this release of Alien Breed is the ‘Shop’, here players can purchase New Weapons, Extra Ammo, Lives and Keys. While at first it might not sound like a ‘great addition’ to the game – but it is needed, as it allows inexperienced Alien Breed players to fully enjoy the game without the frustration of spending hours looking for a key (or Ammo or Life) to proceed further into the game. Some players might argue that this option ‘spoils’ the game, since Alien Breed is all about ‘surviving’, however I feel it was a much need addition to keep players coming back for more.
In order to purchase items from the shop, players must pick-up Money/ Gold that is scattered around the levels – but don’t worry about losing money when you die, as the money isn’t tied to the single level or game, as its tied to the whole ‘package’ of games, meaning that money earned in Alien Breed, can be used in the ‘Expanded Version’ and vice versa.
Overall Team17’s Playstation Mobile release of Alien Breed is a great addition to anyone’s ‘portable’ gaming collection, as it features everything that made the original Alien Breed Game a success, with new additions such as updated visuals, easy controls, Variety of levels and a Shop to expand the replay value. While Alien Breed may not be a ‘big game’ when compared to other releases on the Playstation Mobile Service, it does offer short bite-sized fun that’s ideal for short journeys and easy pick-up-and-play gameplay that can meet anyone’s level of gaming skill.
– Easy ‘Pick-Up & Play’ Control Scheme
– Includes Updated HD Graphics & Classic Graphics
– Simple, Short & Effective Gameplay
– Includes 4 Different Gameplay Modes (Original, Special Edition, Convergence & Valiance)
– Quick Loading Times around the Game & Menu’s
– Items obtained can be used in ‘all games’ even after death / quitting the game
– Variety of enemy types & levels as you progress through the game
– Continuous spawning enemies in ‘previously’ cleared areas can become annoying
– Gameplay can feel repetitive after a short period of time
– The Overall Package can be considered rather short (6 Levels in Original, 12 levels in Special Edition, 8 levels in Convergence & Valiance)
Alien Breed is now available for purchase from the Playstation Mobile store for only £3.19 and is compatible with a variety of ‘Sony Selected’ Mobile Phones and Tablet devices. The Game is also compatible with the PS Vita.