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Review: Aliens Go Home Run (PC)By Gabriel PVJ Jones At 07.02.2018 21:31

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Aliens Go Home Run is game in the oft-overlooked "brick-breaker" genre. Admittedly, whether or not this is really the proper term is up for debate, but it consists of titles such as Breakout and Arkanoid. In this one, Sally must hit the baseball, which causes it to careen around the screen, smashing brick and alien alike. Although aliens can be destroyed, they will inevitably respawn. Therefore, the actual goal is to break all of the bricks. In the meantime, the aliens will do everything they can to make the heroine miserable.

It's worth mentioning that the developer seems to have a fondness for STGs. It has armed the aliens with an array of screen-filling projectiles. Trying to dodge this Hell of bullets, while aiming her swing, can be a very trying endeavour. To add to this, if Sally gets hit three times, she's out. To keep this chaos from becoming overwhelming, the player must make use of the slide. The heroine is always safe while sliding. These invincibility frames can be used to "absorb" projectiles or get far away from a devastating attack. In a few rare cases, they can also be used to take out aliens on the ground.

With continued progress, the stage layouts become increasingly complex. Bumpers tend to serve as shields, protecting bricks and fiends alike. The diverse range of foes each has its own methods of attack. Bullets coming from every possible direction can get quite disorienting, particularly when also trying to keep track of the baseball. There's no serious penalty for allowing the ball to hit the ground, unless chasing a high score. Every time damage is done to the enemy and their inexplicable floating bricks, a multiplier gauge rises. Naturally, the top online leaderboard positions tend to be held by gamers who never miss the ball.

Assistance comes in the form of power-up orbs. Sally can hold up to four at a time. The number she's carrying determines what power she can utilise. A single orb can be traded in to recover health; two of them award a shield. In most cases, it's better to try for three or four orbs, as they provide the extremely useful multi-ball and wave-attack powers. With the wave-attack, Sally can fire up to 30 projectiles, which is great for getting those hard-to-reach bricks. The number of orbs she's holding will carry over between stages, and the extra head start can be helpful as the game becomes more difficult.

The level of challenge never goes beyond improbable, and stages can be repeated as many times as necessary. That said, Aliens Go Home Run is quite merciless, particularly in the bonus stages. Players are absolutely expected to know where to stand and where to slide to, in order to avoid a barrage of firepower. They will grow to appreciate whenever the aliens are stunned, as that brief second just might be enough to survive. The tension lifting from one's shoulders after destroying a particularly troublesome foe is a heavenly feeling. Imagine trying to play those stages for score. Continually throwing Sally's life on the line, just to keep the ball airborne is a frighteningly difficult task. Pros might get some enjoyment out of the ordeal, while everyone else will be happy if their sanity is still intact.

Even during these bleakest situations, the controls and mechanics never fail the player. Movement is very snappy, and the generous invincibility frames make near-death escapes consistently enjoyable. Limited control over where the ball goes with each swing is also very nice. It's easy to make aimed shots. Getting the ball behind enemy lines and obliterating their defences is especially gratifying. Over the course of the review process, there were two instances where the ball got stuck between bumpers, prompting a restart. It's annoying, but not a huge deal.

Clocking in at less than three hours, a play-through is relatively brisk. There's plenty of replay-value to be had in chasing scores. A level-editor is also included, although it's unfortunate that only a handful of stages are available in the Steam Workshop. Designing a stage isn't too hard, as it's mostly a matter of deciding what objects to place where. On the other hand, it would take quite a lot of testing to figure out if a stage can be reliably beaten. How does the designer know if they have made an impossible stage? How does the player know the stage is impossible to beat? It's a lot to consider.

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Final Score
Altogether, [i]Aliens Go Home Run[/i] is a splendid brick-breaker. There are no complaints to be had with the controls, and it's always fun to crush bricks and baddies. The soundtrack, provided by +Tek, is quite delightful. Although the voice-work is a little hard to discern, it does a fine job of keeping the player updated on their current situation. When they hear "Strike One!" and then "Strrrike Two!" they will know to be more careful, so that Sally doesn't take another hit. Anyone with a few hours to spare should really consider giving this game a look. It's another impressive feat by the makers of [url=/review/4060/1/skeleton-boomerang-pc.html][i]Skeleton Boomerang[/i][/url].

7

/10

User Comments
#1 Dragon0085 - on 09.02.2018 at 15:34

They really will make a game about anything.


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