Impressions: Aliens: Infestation

[The links are light again this week.  So it’s Aliens: Infestation instead.]

It’s been a while since I’ve played a game on my DS that doesn’t begin with castle and end with vania.  I’m not venturing too far off the reservation though with Aliens: Infestation, which has a distinctly metroidvania flavor to it.  In any case, this game isn’t easy.  You’ll be facing down an alien queen before the first scenario is done and probably will be dying a couple times along the way.

Now, if Infestation used a conventional lives system then that wouldn’t be too bad.  However, you are given a team of marines instead and you decide who is put on point.  That marine is the only one on the screen at any point in time and if he or she loses all of their health then one of the other three will take their place.  Once a marine is taken out you have to try to rescue them from an alien nest, but if you take too long then they are done for good. And like games such as Final Fantasy Tactics these are unique characters that you’re losing which may make you think about restarting from your last save point if you lose any of them.

Infestation is also difficult because, at least until you overcome the learning curve, it can feel like you’re just dangling a toy in front of a cat.  It can be a struggle to get into position to place your shots or dodge attacks while your enemies effortlessly pull you apart.  There’s usually an effective strategy for handling these situations but it’s never terribly obvious.  Trial and error is the best way to learn.  Ultimately, it follows the risk/reward structure of metroidvania games well and it does a surprisingly good job of emulating the atmosphere of the film only using pixels.

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