Before I begin, I must state the following: I love all things Alien and Predator. I think Predator 2 is a misunderstood classic, and I even enjoy watching Alien 3. The AVP films on the other hand are kind of hard to digest due to their bad pacing and forgettable characters (sorry Lance), but I’ll still watch them if they’re on TV. Out of these two now classic movie monsters, I favor the Alien more for its horrific yet elegant look. This creature (once known as: “Necronom IV”) still gives me nightmares after watching the 1979 classic where it made its big screen debut. These nightmares are always the same: I’m trapped on some rusted out bunker, I have no weapons, and Aliens are chasing me. Every time I wake up from these nightmares, I’m never frightened. As a matter a fact I get excited, wanting to play whatever Alien-related game I can get my hands on just to revisit the awesome experience of being in the Alien universe.
There lies my problem.
The Alien films are Sci-Fi/Horror films that are meant to scare and keep you in suspense though out their duration. Most (if not all) Alien-related games are action driven. In order to maintain pacing within the action genre, fear has to take a back seat otherwise the game will become stale, boring the player who will mindlessly trade in the game in for the latest Call of Duty.
Action fans can be very shallow sometimes, but can you really blame them for wanting what they pay for? If you want mindless action, you go to the nearest arcade or pop in CoD. If you want fear and suspense, you play the original Dead Space or one of the first four Resident Evils. Games like Operation Raccoon City and Aliens Colonial Marines proves that you can’t always marry the two genres successfully, Horror games are suppose to be slow and ominous, allowing players to take in the atmosphere which in turn induces fear. When the pace is sped up, players don’t really have time to take anything in because they’re too busy shooting at whatever. The only time for panic is when the player runs out of ammo. I love Aliens Colonial Marines for what it really is: a mindless action game. If anyone attempts to play it as otherwise, they’re going to have a bad time and be turned off. The same can be said for Aliens VS Predator Evolution, an iOS/Android game developed by Angry Mob. It’s an action game; not a great action game, but an action game non the less.
Here’s the story: On a distant planet, the blood feud between Predator clans continues to rage. In a final attempt to eradicate the Jungle Hunter Clan, the Super Predators secure the capabilities of an unlikely and unwilling species, the Aliens. As an Alien, you must ultimately destroy the Super Predators and free your species from enslavement. As a Jungle Hunter Predator, you must eliminate the Alien Queen in order to prevent the Super Predators from annihilating your clan. The story seems okay, but it’s missing one vital part; the Marines. Without the Marines there is no balance between good guy and bad guy. It’s all bad guy and bad guy and that really leaves us hero player out of the mix, so it’s best to just ignore the story all together.
The highlight of this game to me are the Aliens. AVP Evolution marks the first time that you play through an Alien life cycle from a Facehugger, to a Chestburster, to finally an adult Alien. Unfortunately the lifecycle only occurs for one level. It’s kind of a let down, but let’s not forget this is an action game; gotta keep the pace.
Graphically the level designs and Aliens look pretty good, while the Predators and other enemies seem kind of blocky, however the game itself run very smooth with less frame rate drops than I’ve seen in any other mobile game. Another great feature is the leveling system. As you progress through the game, you rank up and get skill points that you can use to purchase new Alien skills, Predator weapons and skins (AKA armor) for both species. Some of the items for purchase are kind of high, so you’ll either have to grind for your points or you can purchase them with real money.
Here’s where the game nearly falls flatter than your iPad; the controls. They’re responsive for the most part, but there are times where my character would move the wrong way or wouldn’t move diagonally. The fight mechanics are very stiff and dated. It feels like you’re playing streets of rage, only you’re getting attacked from multiple directions with no way to counter. You can pull off fatalities to some of the enemies via quick time event, but it’s fifty percent of the time unresponsive. You lunge instead of jump. This wouldn’t be an issue if your lunge attacks would always connect and you could at least control how far you could lunge. The camera is too close to your character and doesn’t zoom out far, so it’s hard to know what coming or where to go without manually moving it around. Having to move the camera around manually is not a big deal until you’re in the middle of combat where you can’t see the enemy unit it’s too late and he’s already hit you; this makes for some real cheap deaths, which will have you pushing the home button out of frustration.
Overall Aliens VS Predator Evolution is a good throwback to the basic beat’em up classics of yesteryear, however the lack of good camera zoom and counter attacks holds this game back from being a classic in itself.
Final Score: 2/5