Apr 9, 2015
Ah… aliens, shooting and TV. No arcades here, just Alien Invaders.
Off the bat, the game is made for Chromecast, Google’s multipurpose casting dongle that opens up Android to more generalized modes of consumption. To be honest, the game offerings are thin, and that isn’t too hard to understand.
The game is fairly useless without the dongle, as opening the game requests that the user connected to a local Chromecast; after the connection is made, one can get into it by “joining the game” on the big screen. On the device, one will find three spacecraft symbols, which serve as controls.
At first blush, the game looks a lot like the classic arcade game Missile Command, and plays a lot like it too. There are waves of enemy craft at the “top” of the screen, all in direct conflict with the protagonist ship at the forefront. The wave of aliens move side to side, and, less gradually, forward a step, reducing the distance between them and the player’s ship. The player’s ship can be controlled by the aforementioned virtual icons on the screen; the outer ones initiate perpetual movement in the corresponding direction (until arrested by the playing area), while the middle one controls shooting at the enemy craft. Thus, the dual objective is to avoid fire and to destroy the enemy ships.
To increase the challenge, as soon as one level is cleared, a new, better populated one replaces it. In this way, the gameplay gets tougher, as there are more ships to destroy as well as more gunfire to avoid. Another aspect is the scoring mechanism, which taxes the player for missing the target. Thus, to get the highest score possible, it makes sense to avoid the urge to strafe continually.
It’s a simplistic game, but that is as much a blessing as it is a curse, as it is easy to get into. I like the simple leaderboards as well. Control-wise, it is possible to slide off the controls at times, so I had to glance down every so often, but such is the challenge of using devices that have fewer hardware buttons. I still think the controls can be improved upon greatly.
In the end it is a fun take on a classic style of game, and the Chromecast functionality is a plus. It is so easy to chase high scores, and that helps the game shine.