Saturday, 25 May 2024

Aliens: Infestation Review

During the twilight days of every console, handheld or otherwise, some of the best games get released only to go by undiscovered. Aliens: Infestation just might be one of those titles. It’s releasing just as the 3DS is stepping into the spotlight, and may get unfairly ignored as a licensed game. Don’t let this one pass you by, especially if you have been craving a 2D Metroid experience, because this may be the closest you will get for quite some time.

An Exciting Adventure Awaits

Aliens: Infestation puts you behind the guns of an ever-expanding group of marines as they attempt to stifle a xenomorph outbreak. Your mission begins innocently enough: check up on a ship that the fleet has lost communication with and hope that nothing has gone terribly wrong. You discover the aliens fairly quickly, and from there you’re fighting for survival while exploring the game’s environments.

A Nod to Metroid

The game is not quite a Metroid clone, but it borrows liberally from that franchise. You will build a map as you explore, find and upgrade weapons, and track down items like a welding gun or flashlight that allow you to explore areas that were previously inaccessible. Infestation lacks the size of Metroid, and certain areas are broken apart as separate levels that cannot be revisited. You do often return to one large area to explore further and further as you gain new items from the aforementioned levels. Checking in at save points regularly is vitally important, more so here than in a Metroid.

Permadeath Adds a Unique Twist

One element that separates Infestation from Metroid – and most games in general – is that when you die, you die permanently. The only way to recover a dead character is to turn off your system and start from your old save. You begin the game with four marines, and when you lose one, he’s gone forever. However, you can find other marines hidden throughout the game that can take their place. Each marine in the game has their own idle animations, character design, nickname, and distinct personality. Moments when you are nervously seeking a save point are all the more enthralling for it. Boss battles, which typically ensure at least one death, are that much more traumatic and meaningful. Not all of the characters are particularly interesting or worth keeping around, but they all feel like real soldiers, which is impressive.

A Balance of Seriousness and Fun

Infestation can be a pretty serious game with all the death, danger, and ominous music, but it manages not to take itself too seriously all of the time. Some of the characters have the odd funny bit of dialogue, and you can play the game featured in the film where you stab a knife quickly between your fingers in an unlockable minigame. The less said about the end credits music, the better. I would hate to spoil the surprise, which I recommend you stick around for.

Minor Frustrations, But Worthwhile

Infestation does have some problems. The combat controls can be uncooperative from time to time. Once you begin firing in a direction, you’re locked in that direction, which causes problems when attacking the nimble xenomorphs. There may be instances where you encounter weak enemies in inconvenient positions, making it difficult to defeat them. Despite these minor frustrations, Infestation’s quality is surprising in a sea of mediocre licensed games. It’s not afraid to show off where it got its inspiration, and that’s okay. Metroid’s format works well in the world of Aliens. The mortality of the characters adds a worthwhile sense of fear to the entire game. If you’re a fan of Metroid, Aliens, or just solid handheld experiences, don’t let Infestation become forgotten as the 3DS wave washes over us.

FAQs

Q: Can I revisit levels in Aliens: Infestation?
A: While certain areas in the game are broken apart as separate levels that cannot be revisited, you do have the opportunity to explore one large area and gain new items to progress further.

Q: What happens when a character dies in Aliens: Infestation?
A: When a character dies in Aliens: Infestation, they are permanently gone. However, you can find hidden marines throughout the game to replace them.

Q: Is Aliens: Infestation similar to Metroid?
A: While Aliens: Infestation is not a Metroid clone, it takes inspiration from the franchise with its map-building mechanics, weapon upgrades, and exploration elements.

Conclusion

Aliens: Infestation offers an exciting and immersive adventure that combines elements from the Metroid franchise with the thrilling world of Aliens. The game’s permadeath feature adds a unique sense of tension and attachment to the characters, making each decision and encounter all the more meaningful. Despite some minor frustrations, Infestation stands out among licensed games with its quality gameplay. If you’re a fan of Metroid, Aliens, or handheld experiences, don’t miss out on this hidden gem as it releases alongside the 3DS wave.