Alien Breed iPad Review
Beloved by Amiga fans, the news that Alien Breed would be hitting the App Store caused no small ripple of excitement in the gaming world. It was the ultimate co-op game of its time, it featured a meaty selection of disgustingly destructive weaponry, and a mobile version could only ever be the ultimate nostalgia-fix.
A true old-school classic, here's the game in a nutshell: a series of space-stations have been over-run by an assortment of thoroughly unpleasant Alien-esque, er, aliens, and as a kick-ass marine you're required to eradicate the menace.
Through each top-down level, you need to gather keys that unlock the path ahead, as well as grab currency for upgrades, ammo packs, extra lives and health top-ups. The aliens themselves range from skittish, insectoid nasties to the larger, more intimidating creatures more clearly reminiscent of the cinematic inspiration.
There are as many ways to die in Alien Breed as there are to kill. For every exquisitely charged-up, roaring machine gun, there's a crawling alien ready to chew your face off. Your rampant, glorious destruction across the game's many levels can be undone by destroying a nuclear reactor just a shade too early. Just as you realize you haven't actually collected the exit door key, the countdown to your obliterated demise begins.
As well as including the original content, Team 17 has also thrown in a brand-new chunk of levels (exclusive to this iOS version), along with the special edition version of the game that was released in the 90s. Suffice to say, there's plenty of content to get your teeth stuck into in this updated release.
Foremost in any Amiga fanatic's mind at this point will be how the controls hold up on a touchscreen. The answer? Pretty good actually, with a solid directional stick and an equally reliable stick for firing. It can be a bit of a faff swapping between weapons using the gun icon located in the bottom-center of the screen, but it is manageable.
Purists will take no end of satisfaction to learn that, while the original game has been given a coat of paint to bring the visuals up to a modern-day standard, the essential look and feel of the game is identical. Still not satisfied? You can revert to the original graphics in all of their Amiga glory, along with the single-stick control mechanism.
As well as sprucing the game up for a modern audience, the enhanced edition also takes some of the pain out of the original Alien Breed. Whereas before you'd find yourself roaming frantically around the space-station trying to find both keys and exits, this mode introduces a directional arrow to help you find your way through the darkness. There is, we're sorry to say, an in-app purchase store which sits at odds with the spirit of the original game, but you should have no trouble enjoying the fire-fight without giving in to temptation.
This is a classic slice of gaming that bodes very well for the future of Team17's back-catalog on iOS devices. The controls are solid, and the content has been ported with affection and respect for the original game. A lack of multiplayer is the only sour note, but we'll have to hope the publisher sees the light and rectifies this in a future update.
What's Hot: Great gameplay, tastefully updated for the modern day.
What's Not: No multiplayer, but we have our fingers crossed for an update.