If you’ve played Super Crate Box but wished there was more to it chances are this game could fill that void.
Publisher: Surprise Attack
Genre: Arcade Platformer Shooter
Release date: 20 Aug, 2016
The story in the game is pretty barebones and while I feel like it is there for the sake of it, it’s a nice addition nonetheless. Basically a fleet of alien ships found Earth and completely annihilated the entire planet except for 3 fleets of spaceships which managed to escape while carrying humans in cryostasis.
Despite Humanity’s best efforts in order to preserve our species the aliens still manage to track down the fleets and are now attempting to destroy our last hope of survival. You play as one of several robots which were tasked of safeguarding these last humans and you’re the only thing able to prevent Humankind extinction.
As for the game itself, it features 3 different difficulty settings which you can unlock by beating the game in the hardest difficulty available. You can play either the endless mode, once you unlock it, or the “story mode” which is divided into 3 different galaxies, each corresponding to one of the 3 different fleets and each galaxy consists of 4 levels with the last level having a boss. If you beat all the 3 bosses it’s game over and you win, simple as that. The game does offer local co-op but I’ve not been able to test it out, it’s a shame there is no online or some sort of leaderboard system though.
As far as I can tell the levels are not procedural generated, the game just picks one from a pool of handcrafted maps. However, each level can be played in a different way, sometimes you have to eliminate all enemies while other times you have to carry fuel tanks from one side of the map to the other in order to power the hyper drive to complete the mission. Each level can also have some machines that after a certain period of time can give you either a new weapon, a new type of explosives or HP. There are also crates that can spawn at the beginning of a level which can contain certain perks such as, double jump, dash, dodge, increased fire rate, etc. Overall the weapon variety is enough to keep a satisfying experience by having weapons such as a RPG, a lightsaber, shotgun, among others but I do wish the game had some unique and silly weapons that could potentially make things a lot more fun. As for the enemy variety, I think there’s plenty of it in order to keep the game a challenge, especially when there’s this certain machine which boost the enemies making them bigger and more powerful.
Now, in theory each level is pretty short and one playthrough could easily be accomplished in under half an hour but the more you play the more things get interesting because you’ll unlock new enemy types, new items and weapons that you can choose as starting gear as well as new robots to play as. That said, due to the fact that a single run is rather short, especially if you die in the first levels, the game has that “one more” feel to it. The game does start slow but as you progress through the levels the speed of the game ramps up and the game goes from this slow paced shooting platformer to a very fast paced and hectic one, and I guess that’s one of the things I really like about it.
All in all, Super Mutant Alien Assault is a very solid Super Crate Box clone that brings some new mechanics to the formula which can either appeal you or not, depending on how you like these kinds of games. Despite having a fair good amount of time with the game, I do wish there were more galaxies, unlockables and map layouts or even a little more focus on the story side of the game to keep me coming back to it every now and then, I also think a level editor and Steam Workshop would benefit this game greatly. And, while I do like the pixel art style I can’t really say the same for the soundtrack, even though it seems to be praised by others it just isn’t my thing.