Angus hates Aliens Review—Age of Zombies Done Right!
One of the very first Minis was Age of Zombies from Halfbrick Studios. You played a wisecracking action hero named Barry Steakfries and moved around a map shooting zombies. While it was very popular and got a pretty good review here (before my time), I never thought it was all that much fun. Or good, really. It was much too simple.
Angus hates Aliens from Team Stendec essentially takes that formula found in Age of Zombies (and other games, including Minis like Dracula – Undead Awakening) and made it something special. What’s more, it seems tailor-made for the PSP, which is rather remarkable for a game in 2015.
You play as Angus, not as much of a wisecracker as Mr. Steakfries, but equally adept at using weaponry. He wakes up inside an alien spaceship and is quickly directed by a friendly lady alien to get up and get out of the spaceship. As he leaves it, he enters a military base where he gains another adviser, an army general.
While Age of Zombies was more of an arena shooter, Angus hates Aliens is more a scrolling shooter. I would say “run and gun,” but Angus sort of shuffles along at a slow pace, only slightly faster than the enemies he’s fighting. You move Angus with the analog nub (or stick on the Vita) and fire using the shoulder buttons—either simply left or right, and as such, most of the gameplay has you moving Angus horizontally from one end of the screen to the other.
Unlike a lot of game characters, Angus can’t carry everything and the kitchen sink. He is limited to 9 slots, which include weapons, ammo (in groups of 100), med-kits and other things. You access these items either by going into the inventory menu or, once you’ve set things up there, quickly by tapping the D-pad in the appropriate direction. Occasionally there is a shop where you can buy more items or upgrade your weapons, paying with coins that the zombies drop. Besides the usual assortment of guns, Angus can wield a flamethrower, which is pretty neat, and some others, 14 types of weapons in all.
There are twelve different levels in varying environments (including a hospital, shopping mall, and of course, UFO) and many differing enemies, with the difficulty increasing steadily once the tutorial areas are over with. There are some puzzles and things to interact with, which (along with the story) give Angus hates Aliens something of an adventure game feel. All in all, it should take at least a few hours to finish the game, probably closer to ten if you are bad at it (like me). On the downside, there only seem to be 5 save game slots. Given the length of the game, that can prove troublesome at times when you get stuck (like running out of ammo) and need to backtrack.
In the two years since we closed, I’ve had to start wearing reading glasses, and I’m afraid I needed them to play this. Still, as 2D pixel art is timeless, the graphics look fairly good, with a lot of detail. The sound, on the other hand, is really remarkable. The music is really good, and there are a lot of nice touches, like talk radio playing in the weapons shop.
Honestly, I’m not sure why Team Stendec decided to release a Mini almost 3 years after the last one was released (though it’s certainly wiser than releasing it as a PS Mobile title), but I’m glad they did. Not only did I get to write another review, but it’s a fun game with a surprising amount of polish. I just hope it doesn’t get overlooked, though I’m not sure how it won’t.