Angus hates Aliens. Where to start? In all honesty, it’s been a very long time since I last played a PS Minis release so I was a little wary going into Angus hates Aliens. It’s not that PS Minis are especially bad, but I’ve been burnt in the past.
Thankfully, then, Angus hates Aliens has turned me over to the “indie side.” Yep, normally I don’t give indie games the attention they deserve, but after playing through Team Stendec’s wonderfully crafted tactical-shooter, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to gorge on all the indie delights I can.
Angus hates Aliens may not be the prettiest game in the world – it’s a 2D side-scroller, much like Streets of Rage – but it gets the job done and still looks reasonably decent – especially on the smaller screens of the PS Vita and PSP.
So, what’s the game about? Players take the role of the titular character Angus – a mullet-donning hillbilly. Not exactly your typical hero, but it’s a nice change.
The game starts off with our hapless hero waking up aboard the evil alien spaceship before escaping back to freedom. Well, not really freedom as the evil aliens are invading, but it’s better than being couped up and experimented on.
Once back in the fresh air and armed with a trusty hunting knife (very Rambo) you’ll start getting to grips with the combat. Now, I’ll have to admit this is where I got a little confused. Attacking is done via the shoulder buttons, so, if you’ve got enemies to the right of you, tap the right shoulder button, and if you’ve got enemies on the left, tap the left shoulder button. It’s not the most complex arrangement, but having gotten used to using the left trigger to aim and the right trigger to shoot (or simply mashing one button, as is common in side-scrollers) it did take a little getting used to.
Turns out the controls are like this for a reason. The game isn’t a simple “run from left-to-right” scroller. Enemies will come from both directions and you’ll need to time your attacks just right in order to make contact, well, until you get the guns.
Shooting is controlled exactly the same (triggers) and once you get the hang of it, it’s deeply enjoyable – especially when you start upgrading Angus’ arsenal.
Enemies aren’t just a “one-size-fits-all” affair either. Aliens (referred to in-game as zombie-aliens) come in a few different forms and each one will require a different approach. Sure you can just keep the shotgun equipped and spray slugs all over the show, but eventually you’ll either run out of ammo or just get overwhelmed because you’re using the wrong weapon. Fast zombies only require one shot from the pistol to stop them in their tracks, but try testing your gun-slinging skills on one of the bigger brutes and you’ll end up a dead hillbilly.
Weapons can be upgraded throughout the game’s stages, though you’ll have to make sure you’ve got the funds to power up your arsenal. Coins are found littered throughout the game and are dropped as a reward for putting the zombie-aliens out of their misery.
The upgrade system isn’t particularly deep, but it’s deep enough to get your scratching your head as you decide what’s worth your precious coins, a decision that’s not always as straightforward as you’d think.
Traditional ‘Boss’ fights occur from time to time and how these play out will depend heavily on your actions leading up to the encounters. Spend the entire level spraying lead into baddies? Bad luck, you’ve only got a knife to fight the boss. Tactics are vital and conservation of ammo is an essential aspect of the game. It’s actually pretty punishing, so you may find yourself having to replay a level a few times to make sure you’re stocked up for the end battle.
It’s a fairly decent sized campaign that should take you around 5-6 hours to really push through. Not bad value for money considering that the game costs just a few quid on the PlayStation Store.
Disclaimer: Review code provided by Team Stendec.