Apr 5, 2010


I'm not sure why Aliens disappeared, but it was back on Sunday morning released under the publisher '3D Studio' which has a rep for releasing first person shooter ports such as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom on the Android. When I purchased it on Thursday night it was under Vladimir Silva's name according to my receipt and while I tried to figure out what had happened I noticed that he has written a book called 'Pro Android Games' as below:

Aliens is a 3D first person shooter (FPS) written using a new 3D engine that I gather he developed (the book supposedly talks extensively about this topic). The game is currently only for Droid owners, but hopefully either already runs or will soon be tested / fixed to function on other Android devices. The game itself does not offer much of a story line and the game plays very much like a Doom style game. I reviewed Toon Warz awhile back and indicated I wasn't very gung ho on this style of game on my mobile device. Aliens changes my mind and does a lot of things very well.

First, the controls. Using the accelerometer sucks. It's too imprecise and that almost made me give up on this one, but I switched to popping out the keyboard on my Droid and using the DPad. Much, much better! One issue with the accelerometer was some angles that were needed to move made it so I couldn't see what was going on very well and made the game uncomfortable to play. The DPad offers the precision I need to play effectively. However, the game doesn't come with much in the way of instructions. Help really needs to be added to this game so that you don't have to fumble around to finally learn that it's the @ key that is used to fire. Am I supposed to already know this? I guess I was sick that day.

Second, a lot of these style games on the PC offer gamma correction to compensate for differences in monitor brightness and color differences. I suppose with a constant platform like the Droid that might not be necessary, but I see it being more necessary in order to accommodate other devices with different display hardware. It would also be nice to have because this game is difficult to play in bright light because the game's environment is so dark... and that's not dark as in disturbing... that dark as in 'no light'. I got the most enjoyment when I played this in a dark room, but gamma correction would be nice.

The game engine is smooth. The graphics are solid! And the sound is effective. The enemies cry "game over, man" as you approach which is cute at first, and does become repetitive (but not intolerable). Control, once the switch to the DPad was made, became precise and the game is a very playable pocket FPS. The game is hard, though. There are a couple confidence builder enemies, but the last guy on level one took me many tries and some strategy to finally knock off which let me get the key I needed to move on to the next level. I don't consider myself to be terribly good at these kinds of games though so if you can breathe chances are you'll do better than I did.

All in all I'm glad to see this game prove me wrong about Android 3D FPS games. From a technical standpoint this game is a great achievement and a good way to demo your Droid phone to others. The game also does the 'download lots of data to your SD card' so it doesn't consume too much of that precious system memory. Big plus! At $4.99 this is a premium title and I wish it was available for more than just Droid owners so that more could enjoy it and the author could sell more copies of the game. But for now it is for the Droid only and I'm glad that, at least, I can play this title. 5/5 stars.

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