Alien vs. Predator: Evolution Review

Developer: Angry Mob Games

Publisher: Fox Digital

Release date: February 28th, 2013

Available on: Mobile, Ouya

Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the Ouya. There may be differences between versions.

So when I wrote my review of Knock-Knock I thought that deciding the worst game of 2013 that I played would be really easy. It’d be Knock-Knock and I could move on. It turns out I was wrong. I just didn’t dig deep enough into the Ouya cesspit of “games” to find this one.

AvP: Evolution is a 3D beat ’em up where you take control of either an Alien or a Predator, both of which have a kind of unspecified task they’re trying to complete. At the beginning of the game you’ll be asked who you want to play as, but it doesn’t really matter since the game will just switch you between characters every level or so. To the best of my knowledge the Predator is trying to kill the Super Predators because they’re going to kill his tribe, and the Alien is trying to free his queen from said Super Predators. For whatever reason both of these tasks require them to be at a Weyland Yutani base so they can kill people I guess. Most the story is just some text that is mentioned during loading screens anyway, so it’s not like this was even something they were thinking about.

We’re already starting off on the wrong foot, and it doesn’t take long for the gameplay to get there as well. You only have a single attack button in this game, and by alternating between it and the dodge button you can preform combos. No, that doesn’t really make much sense to me either. Both characters only have access to a few attacks anyway, and eventually you’ll find out the best way to play is to just spam the basic attack over and over again. The Predator has access to more equipment that he can utilize, like a plasma cannon for shooting enemies. The problem here is that the aiming is extremely wonky and rarely works the way it’s supposed to. It’s a shot in the dark if the game will actually let you aim for the required amount of time to hit the enemy and even then the amount of damage these weapons do is so minimal that it hardly matters. The Predator can also activate a cloak for some limited stealth, but you really don’t get anything out of the stealth and most enemies know where you are anyway. On the other hand, the Alien can summon facehuggers to instantly kill enemies but it seems completely random if these facehuggers will actually kill anything or not. I’ve summoned them and have watched them sometimes kill enemies instantly and sometimes just wander off pointlessly. The Alien can also climb through walls and vents but this is completely situational and doesn’t really help you out in any way. The Alien missions really ends up as the most disappointing of the two. The early levels let you play as a facehugger, and then the early forms of the Alien when it’s still the snake. Sadly both these segments are extremely short and just require moving from point A to point B and it never does anything with the concept.

Vital to the game is execution attacks which is something both characters can preform. Once an enemy is low on health you can grab them and use the left stick to preform a special finisher. This was actually the first time I also realized the game was a rushed port but I’ll get to that later. These execution attacks are vital to preform as it’s the only way for the Predator to heal, and it’s one of the few ways for the Alien (the Alien can also regenerate, but it can’t get back to full health through regeneration.) I guess the first time they’re a little fun to watch, but pretty early in you realize that both characters only have two and you’re going to be watching them over and over and over. I guess it’s fitting though, since for the most part you’re fighting the same guys with machetes and shotguns over and over. The game pretty quickly settles into a motion and never really wants to leave it. There’s a few non-combat segments but none of these are really pleasant either. The Predator gets a thermal visor that he can use to see trip mines. One segment has you avoiding them and detonating them with your plasma cannon. Not a bad idea, but quickly ruins it by introducing the completely invisible floor mines that block the ways you’d think of going, and that kill you instantly. You’re going to run into these and you’re not going to understand it for a while. Any kind of puzzle feels less like a puzzle and more like busywork to keep you doing things when there’s nothing to do, especially since most answers are really obvious.

Between missions you can spend points to buy upgrades for the characters. You can also go on special side missions to get some extra points for each character. It’s not too hard to grind out the money you need for things, but there’s little actually worth buying in the stores. Counterattacks are a must, but otherwise I just found my points going towards extra health. If you collect sets of armor/body parts then you can get a passive boost that will help your stats a little more. If you really feel like you need something and don’t want to spend the time grinding for it, you can spend money to get extra points of course. This never feels necessary though.

I also feel like this game was a rushed port from android devices to Ouya. When you try to preform your first execution attack the game tells you how to do it. Only instead of telling you to use the left stick, it tells you to swipe the screen (something especially confusing considering the Ouya controller has a touch pad on it). When you get the tutorial on how to use the plasma cannon it tells you to use the plasma cannon button, not the A button. Also the game’s hud is way off. It’s too close to the center of the screen and the character, instead of being pushed to the corners like you’d expect the hud to be. Because of this it’s constantly getting in the way of things you’re actually trying to look at like enemies or intractable objects.

I want to note the two scenes that I actually liked in the game, both not even lasting five minutes. The first was a scene as the Predator where the power gets knocked out. You’re stuck in a room with a group of blind marines who fire wildly around them while you use your thermal vision to pick them off one-by-one. It’s one of the few scenes that actually made creative use of the Predator’s abilities and was pretty neat. The other was when you’re playing as the Alien and another Predator is hunting you down. You see yourself through the Predator’s view, having to deal with his constantly switching vision and the plasma cannon shots he’s launching at you. Like I said, both of these scenes didn’t even last five minutes so neither is worth the asking price for the game.

As a heads up, I couldn’t even finish the game. Eventually I got to a point where the game continuously spawned aliens to try and kill me and it just never ended. The swarm would grow bigger and bigger until I died. No point in continuing from there because I just couldn’t.

I’m not sure who’s supposed to be happy about this game. I only really have two guesses about that. Ice-Pick Lodge can be happy that I now no longer consider Knock-Knock to be the worst game I’ve played this year and Gearbox can be happy that they now no longer have the dubious ‘honor’ of creating the worst Aliens based game in existence. No one else could really get any joy from this game.

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