Ever since I ran across the Flash version of Alien Hominid I’ve been a fan of the game and of Behemoth’s artwork as a whole. Unfortunately until now I’ve never been able to play another one of their games due to lack of appropriate platform, so needless to say I was quite excited to hear about PDA Games, especially since it was an offshoot of Alien Hominid. Then I saw the screen shots, and suddenly I wasn’t quite so thrilled any more. Not that the shots were terrible, but given such eye candy as Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, the chalk outlines of PDA Games didn’t seem so appealing. Thankfully the developers offer the game as a free download with IAP to purchase the full game, and after about 5 levels of the trial set I was hooked.
Alien Hominid is a simple puzzle / platform game. There’s no back story given, but the mission is clear – beat the guys with guns and complete each level. Occasionally a level pops up that doesn’t have a gun wielding foe, but for every level that does you must defeat all bad guys to move on. The most straightforward way of doing this is by landing on their heads, either from jumping or falling. A well placed boulder can’t hurt either. When you’re not occupied with taking care of business you can collect green gems that are scattered throughout the levels. They aren’t required, but they count towards your score and will hopefully affect something later on in the game (maybe some achievements, for example).
Besides the bad guys and gems there are items scattered throughout the levels that can help or hinder your progress. Spikes and water are bad for you. Usually if there is water that you must actually cross you’ll find a boat somewhere on the level. Thankfully you can easily push it to where it needs to go when necessary, and it can even act as a shield when guys are shooting at you. Besides having to simply get them out of your way, boulders are a good method of getting the drop on bad guys. They can also help you rise above a poorly placed spike pit or make crossing a body of water simply a stone’s throw (or roll) away. Don’t underestimate the uses your two tools have.
To move your character you have a virtual joystick in the lower left corner, while the lower right portion of the screen is used for jumping. The controls suffice, but the virtual joystick is not as responsive as it could be, and it’s particularly hard to guide your character while jumping, whether it’s to grab a ladder or slide over to a platform. I also think I’d prefer a specific button for jumping instead of just the general area of the lower right corner. It feels like there are a few levels that I might have been able to beat more easily with slightly more reliable controls.
While the graphics aren’t nearly what I had hoped for from a Behemoth game, the “chalk art come to life” atmosphere has really grown on me. The animation is superb, and I love how the doors are red and gems green so that they stick out from the rest of the visuals. Some day it would be kind of cool to see a level pack with “traditional” Behemoth graphics, but I’m actually glad they chose the visual style they did. The sound effects are decent, and I like the noise your hero makes when he drowns in the water (not that I want to see him drown, of course). The music sounds good, though it’s nothing that stands out from any other solid platform game.
This is not a filler for Alien Hominid or Castle Crashers, either one of which I’d love to see on my iOS devices some day. However, what Alien Hominid: PDA Games provides is a fairly straightforward platform game with quick levels for some instant, addictive gratification. The controls could stand a bit of tweaking, but they haven’t kept me from wasting time with the game. It looks good, it sounds decent, and there are a lot of levels for the measly 99 cent IAP purchase. Don’t take my word for it, though – download the game and take it for a spin yourself. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Final Verdict: 9/10
- Simple, addictive game play
- Quick levels mean instant gratification
- A ship-shield is always cool
- Slick pixel art visuals
I Don’t Like:
- Controls are a bit less than spectacular
- I miss Behemoth’s colorful cartoon style
This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.5.