Cows Vs. Aliens Review

Cows Vs. Aliens Review

Sep 9, 2011

Throughout the ages there have been countless rivalries documented and romanticized as tales told and passed down from generation to generation. David versus Goliath, the Montegues versus the Capulets, the Hatfields versus the McCoys, Republicans versus Democrats, Coke versus Pepsi, Pirates versus Ninjas, so on and so forth. But the one rivalry seldom heard about is the one of Cows versus Aliens. Finally, one developer brave enough to turn their powerful, amazing story into a game is XMG Studio with the game Cows Vs. Aliens.

Cows Vs. Aliens is simple enough, in concept. You’re constantly herding a steady stream of cows into a barn to protect them from incoming alien ships. As cows appear in the pasture, you just use your thumbs to push them along, ushering them towards the open doors while keeping the aliens at bay by shoving them off the edges of the cliff. The game ends when you either run out of time or allow an alien ship to slip by and into the barn.

While the core gameplay is simple, there’s a little more nuance to the game in the form of dozens of challenges to be met that earn you “milk points” which you can use to buy new stages, upgrades and other items. The addition of special cows with abilities to extend time, provide huge bonuses or eliminate aliens do help to keep the game interesting, but there still isn’t a lot of depth to it. The very arcade-like gameplay is rather shallow and sees you repeating the same stage again and again as you attempt to meet each challenge.

Conversely, if you don’t mind spending real money, you can completely circumvent many of the very difficult challenges by simply buying all the milk points you need. Seeing as how the game, itself, is free, this might not be such a bad option. In fact, depending on how adept you are, spending money on milk points might be the only way you can get enough to actually buy anything. Again, some of the challenges are very, very difficult to pass, and they earn so few points that you might never pass enough of them to afford the items you want.

One of the most frustrating things about Cows Vs Aliens is that the touch controls aren’t as good as they could be. I’ve noticed that the game doesn’t always register touches, making a difficult game even harder. It’s unfortunate as the game is a lot fun due to the arcade-like experience of racking up points and competing with friends over OpenFeint.

Sporting some rather high production values, the cute graphics and interesting concept make it seem like this game has a lot more to offer than it actually does. However, the shallow gameplay and multiple flaws tell a slightly different story. If you’re a fan of short, simple arcade games, you’ll probably enjoy this very much. If you’re looking for a deeper gameplay experience, however, this might not be enough to hold your attention.


Cows Vs. Aliens Review Rundown

8
Graphics/Sound - The graphics are a lot of fun, with cute characters and cartoony visuals. The background music is also good, although hearing it constantly repeat may get annoying after a while.
5
Controls - The controls are definitely this game's weak spot. While they don't fail all the time, they do fail just often enough to seriously mar an otherwise good game.
7
Gameplay - Extremely easy to pick up, but very nuanced with dozens of challenges to attempt to meet. The arcade action can be an addictive, although, somewhat shallow gaming experience.
7
Replay Value - The fun of challenging friends and attempting to meet the many challenges offer some good reasons to come back and keep playing, but not for very long.
7
Overall - Cows Vs Aliens is very well-produced and does provide an interesting concept, but the technical problems and shallow gameplay are holding this game back from achieving a higher score.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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