In the early 90’s there was a massive onset of ultra-violent games making their way to the market. The first games that come to mind are viciously violent titles, such as Mortal Kombat and DOOM. However, there was a long string of ultra-violent games that fell under the radar but made their impact. Games such as Lethal Enforcers, NARC, and Splatter house, were all games that had made their way to store shelves, in a time when the ESRB did not exist. Controversies aside, they had introduced a new visual spectrum for gaming, as well as new art designs and animations There was a sense of unique styling that began to occur. It was more visceral and detailed, but also, more satisfying in the scope of action video games. This is what made certain games appealing and memorable. This style would lend itself further into video games over time, eventually coming into games such as Grand Theft Auto and Shadow Warrior. It is in playing Super Mutant Aliens Assault that players are reminded of a more liberating time in video game history, where a new wall was broken, and developers pursued a variety of gameplay styles. Developed by Chris Sufferins at Australia-based Cybernate and published by Surprise Attack Games, Super Mutant Alien Assault is an amazingly nostalgic game with a modern twist and good action.
The Earth has been destroyed. In addition to our own problems, aliens have come and totaled the planet, rendering it a hellscape to which humans can no longer survive. Three massive ships depart into the heavens. The very last of humanity now lies in cryo-stasis as the ships trek across the endless seas of space for a new home. The aliens aren’t going to let you off easy and have pursued you through the cosmic reaches of the universe to put a complete, total end to the human race. All that is standing between certain extinction and survival is a security bot. Detecting the presence of alien activity, the robot is activated and prepares for an engagement with the enemy. This robot is ready to defend the human race and break the molds when it comes to machines!
Super Mutant Alien Assault is a game greatly inspired by an indie game, made in 2010, called Super Crate Box. That particular game, developed by Vlambeer, has players inside of a 2D arena, shooting enemies and collecting crates. Inside the crates were guns, and using a variety of weapons, the player would keep fighting to get the high score, until defeated. Super Mutant Alien Assault has been described by game development partners as “the best Super Crate Box Clone.”
The game places you in several 2D arenas, similar to classics like Joust. In each arena, you are given an objective to complete onboard the ship. At the same time, aliens are pouring through the walls and doors in an attempt to destroy you. After all, you are the last line of defense. Each level layout is entirely different from the next, along with enemy type. In each level, the aliens mutate, becoming stronger and more powerful with each moment, hence the name Super Mutant Alien Assault. Each level has a single challenge that is generated at random. One level may have players fueling the hyperdrive. Another level may just be survival. The orientation of these levels is entirely different with each play through, a rogue-like trait that changes up the experience.
The only way to stop the aliens. is with state-of-the-art weaponry. Each level has various vending machines, dispering weapons, explosives, and health. Each time the vending machine is used, an entirely different weapon will be claimed. The weapons don’t cost anything, but the machines do take a few seconds before being available. The same goes for explosives and health. The arsenal is nice and varied, with the nice mechanic of continued playing to unlock new firearms. In the beginning, players will have simple weapons, like a hnadgun, rocket launcher, and even the Soviet classic AK-47, which works surprisingly well in the year 3048. However, the more you play, the more is unlocked. New weapons, explosives, and special abilities become unlocked through continuous play. Abilities, such as dogde, plasma pulse, and also become unlocked, greatly enhancing the changes of survival Players will die and die often early on, but the game opens up through repeated gameplay.
After that learning curve, Super Mutant Alien Assault lives up to the tagline “Dance with Death.” Throughout each level, pulsating dubstep bursts, pounds, and seamlessly plays through the carnage. With each passing playthrough, there is the reward of unlocking new items and firearms, and trying them out in the best way you know how: on the vicious enemies before you. The aliens, as vicious as they are, come at you from all sides,but they meet their ends in terribly gory ways. From the bullets of your minigun to the fire of your cluster bombs, the aliens are blown to bits and pieces, meeting a terrible fate for trying to destroy the last of humans. Each surviving wave allows that next chance at survival and defeating the Mutant alien menace. Some weapons, like a lightsaber and an atomic pogo stick, make it even better to defeat the vicious creatures. This game is even better with a friend, as the game does support a local 2nd player to play alongside you.
The only drawback to Super Mutant Alien Assault is the length. There are only 12 levels in the game, four for each galaxy. The are three galaxies and three boss fights. I wish there could have been more levels and maybe a few variations in gameplay to really underscore the intensity of a mutant alien assault. Overall, it is a short game, but the game does encourage you to play on the higher difficulties in an effort to really master the game.
Presentation-wise, the game is very solid. The 16-bit inspired visuals are vibrant, sharp and fresh. There is a sharp amount of details in the opening cinematic and the gameplay. It is great to see how well the game looks while so much chaos is going on. there is a small slowdown during the “hyperdrive” levels but it feels as if this was intended. The sound is , with a solid mix of weapons SFX, but the biggest highlight is the soundtrack. Dubstep and electric distortions play throughout the game, giving a sense of style. The thumps heighten the danger and action in each level.
While short, Super Mutant Alien Assault is a terrific action game and a nice throwback title to simpler games. From its engaging, addictive gameplay to its solid presentation and stellar soundtrack, Super Mutant Alien Assault is a nice addition for the action aficionado in you. PlayStation gamers and Steam players don’t want to miss this one.
Super Mutant Alien Assault was played on the PlayStation 4 Computer Entertainment System with a code generously supplied by Cybernate and Super Attack Games