Aliens Need Burgers – Review

A review of Aliens Need Burgers I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The crowbarring of a story into a video game is one of the most enduring parts of the industry. You can’t just have things shooting other things with a thing, it needs to by justified by an invading force or a kidnapped princess or just the fact that some people love a certain kind of food and will do anything in order to get their slimy hands on it.

Which brings me to Alien Need Burgers.

The story of the game is told through a long cut scene which you watch when first firing up the game; through a complicated series of coincidences you end up with the controls to a space station which is the only things that stands between Earth’s burgers and an alien armada that hunters for them. Obviously.

What that boils down to is tapping stuff; the aliens drop from the top of your screen, tap them to fire laser and blow them up. Of course, this being a video game, one laser is never enough which is lucky because passing satellites can charge up your ship giving you more shots. So you can swipe your finger across two enemies and destroy both of them. The more satellite boosts you get the more lasers you get so the more things you can introduce to hot laser death.

Simple. Which is pretty much all you need from an iPhone game, a simple idea gets you a long way. But there’s simple addictive like crack and then there’s simple see everything in five minutes and that’s pretty much it.

Aliens Need Burgers borders on the second one; there’s only so much strategy to it to keep you coming back. The game does complicate things by throwing in space shuttles in amongst the aliens. These you can’t shoot or your laser shots get reset to one and a life is lost so you have to pick your shots carefully.

That is as far as the strategy goes which is a bit of a shame. Disregarding the theme, just shooting stuff works well. When your lasers are powered up and you’re wiping out swathes of invaders with merely a swipe of your thumb it does feel very satisfying.

But that’s about as far as Aliens Need Burgers goes; you get a time attack mode and leaderboards and that’s your lot. It’s all very thin and without a dynamite theme then there’s little to hook you in and keep you coming back again and again. The game itself doesn’t have the depth or strategy in it to make it a compelling experience; a five minute blast is sometimes fun but not when you keep getting the same five minutes.

So what we have here is a simple idea that works pretty well but doesn’t have that certain something to make it a game that you’ll come back to again and again. It’s certainly doing nothing wrong but that doesn’t make the game something that you have to purchase as soon as possible.

Three stars out of five

Originally published March 18th 2013

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