Alienation takes place in a world where Earth has been taken over by aliens. When things are at their worst a new military organization, UNX, steps in as humanity’s last hope. Mission briefings and codec messages give context to shooting, but it serves not much past that. What’s there is interesting, if not cliché’, in small snippets. That aside let’s get to the core of Alienation: the gameplay.
The game is a top down twin-stick shooter, similar to another one of Housemarque’s games, Dead Nation. Replace hordes of zombies with tons of aliens and that’s the gist of it. Players can choose one of three classes along with customizable colored armor. The Bio-Specialist is the medic of the group. The tank, is well, obvious. And the Saboteur is the quick, stealthy one.
Every job has an allotment of abilities with cool downs along with an arsenal of three different tiered guns and a projectile. Leveling up earns ability points to beef up skills and there’s loot galore to customize weapon layouts via upgrades, or rerolling stats using broken down guns. It has the feel of a classic arcade game mixed with RPG elements akin to Diablo. It’s a weird blend, but pretty awesome nonetheless.
It’s fun solo, but better with others. Players can team up with up to three other people across the globe for co-op by either jumping into an open match, or leaving their game open to the public. Jumping in and out of bouts is a breeze too. Sadly there’s no local multiplayer, a fact that Housemarque has guarantee they’re working on for a future patch.
Stylistically Alienation looks like a clash between Halo and Destiny. Environments are nicely varied from the snow tundra of Alaska to the jungles of South America. Aside from mission objectives, there are tons of secrets planted in every stage including optional mini bosses along with hidden gear. Levels look great, sure, but the real spectacle is the technical prowess behind the action. The bullets, explosions, weather, smoke, and everything in-between look outstanding.
Alienation is a short, but sweet experience. The gameplay and artistic blends work well together, creating an addictive shooter that’s hard to put down. It’s not perfect and the gameplay loop does get old after awhile, but it’s the perfect game to pop out every now and again for quick sessions. It’s just plain fun.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review copy. This article was originally published on April 28, 2016 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.