Super Mutant Alien Assault Review – Space Saving
Super Mutant Alien Assault
Developed by Cybernate and published by Fellow Traveller, Super Mutant Alien Assault is a quirky, yet hectic arcade platform shooter.
Earth as we know it is doomed. The last remaining humans have decided to flee the blue planet in three fleets of space vessels.
But little do they know, all the while they’ve been in cryostasis, they’ve been pursued across the stars by a ravenous horde of mutant aliens.
The responsibility then falls squarely to the on-board security droids to protect the precious cargo from the ensuing threat.
Choose which bot you want to play as, only one in the beginning with a further 2 to unlock, gear up and head out onto the deck (killing floor).
Mutants Vs. Machinations
As mentioned earlier, Super Mutant Alien Assault is a platformer/shooter, comprising of 12 single screen arenas.
This may not sound like much, that is, until you start throwing in a plethora of devious rogue-lite elements into the mix.
I have to admit I was caught completely off-guard by these elements.
Not only do you get randomised stages, but random enemies too. Still think it sounds like a synch? How about some different vending machines that grant you random weapons and explosives to use?
That’s right, the game is constantly changing and no two runs will be the same. If you run out of ammo for your AK-47, instead of getting more ammo, you might get a rocket launcher.
Use up all your grenades and you could be given cluster bombs, or remote charges.
More weapons and defensive upgrades unlock as you progress. Guns range from the standard sidearms and shotguns, to crazier stuff like grenade launchers and “explosive pogo sticks!”
Meanwhile, defensive upgrades come in the form of a double jump or dash. Very handy if you become overrun.
Just to throw an extra spanner into the works, I thought I’d mention that each vending machine has a cool down timer.
Oh but that’s not all, the stages are broken down into 3 galaxies, representing each of the 3 fleets, consisting of 3 stages and a final boss stage.
You must clear the galaxy in a single run to progress to the next galaxy, otherwise it’s back to the beginning!
That being said, once a galaxy is cleared, you do get the option to start at a later galaxy, rather than the very beginning.
The real challenge, for me at least, came from the various different objectives that would be thrown at you in each stage.
Whilst these on their own weren’t too taxing, the fact that you’re constantly given wave after wave of enemy, was.
You have your run-of-the-mill Survival which is everything you’d expect. Survive wave after wave of beasties to clear the stage.
Hyper-Drive, on the other hand, requires you to collect canisters from one point and take them to another point, all the while you dodge/kill/blow up the alien threat.
Pressure sees you racing between 2 points in the stage to hit a button, releasing the pressure before it sends a damaging shockwave through the ship, hurting anything in its path!
Vanquish is a little bit like survival, accept you’re required to eliminate a boss, as well as the other critters in order to win.
There are a few more challenges in the later stages, however, it won’t take you long to reach them, so I’ll let you discover them for yourself.
It’s also worth noting that, whilst none of the tasks presented are difficult, the fact that you’re having to fend off a near constant threat, is.
Oh and you better take care of the enemies before being overrun, or the ships radiation leak will mutate them further, making them far more formidable.
Gears of War
As well as the solo campaign, which as mentioned won’t take very long to clear, there’s also multiplayer.
This comes in the form of drop in/drop out local co-op. Grab a buddy and take the fight to the alien scum!
Though check your fire. As with the single player mode, which you can hurt yourself on your own explosives, due to the same screen nature of co-op, friendly fire is present here!
Not only can you potentially kill your backup, but the vending machines and various crate pickups are shared between you also, hence tactics, strategies and teamwork are essential for success.
One of the stand out aspects of SMAA (aside from the slick pixel art design), was the audio.
Opting for a pounding Dubstep and House style music choice, it really gets you pumped for the fight to come.
Even the opening cutscene that explains the story is fully voice acted, which I did not expect. I always appreciate the extra time given by indie developers for such quality.
The guns too, lest we forget, also sound brutal and impactful. An aspect many small studio produced games tend to fall down on.
They’ve even taken the time to include a tracklist in the options menu, in case you fancy sampling some of the awesome tracks.
Admittedly I severely underestimated the rogue nature of this game. Personally I’m not one for rogue-lite’s or rogue-likes.
Therefore it was quite a challenge for me, in particular each galaxy taking several runs to complete.
With that said, those that are more accustomed to challenging shooters will have a blast here. Sure I ran the campaign on the default Normal difficulty, however, those brave enough can take on Epic or Heroic.
As I’ve mentioned before, the campaign is very short by design. If you’re still itching for more beyond the campaign, why not try your hand at Endless mode?
To some this review up, the style of game isn’t really my cup of tea. I did appreciate the little touches, such as the cool soundtrack, the voice acting and slick art style.
Coming in at a competitive £7.99 in the UK and $9.99 in the US I feel it’s priced accordingly. Even if it is a little light on content and modes, everything it does offer runs well, with a high level of polish.
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Reviewed by Micramanic on the Switch, game provided by Fellow Traveller.