Super Mutant Alien Assault is a retro inspired arcade platformer shooter that has you playing as security droids, gunning down mutant aliens in order to save the last remaining humans in the galaxy. Fight through randomised levels and proceed from one galaxy to the next in your pursuit of being Earth’s last remaining hope.
The general crux of the game is simply to take out as many enemy mutant aliens as you can whilst doing your best to survive. Unlock new weapons as you progress from one galaxy to the next. And that’s where Super Mutant Alien Assault falls short, in its content (or lack thereof). The game can easily be completed within an hour and despite having a co-op mode, as well as an endless run mode, the whole experience seems to be over before it barely begins. You have the option to unlock harder difficulties by beating all three galaxies in one playthrough, but it all becomes quite repetitive after a while.
That all being said, what is there is a fun little arcade game that will splendidly capture your attention. Super Mutant Alien Assault runs without a hitch, making the challenge of the game justifiable. Not once where I died did I feel as though I couldn’t have done better. For an extra layer of difficulty, each monster has the ability to be powered up if not taken down. This prevents players from simply completing the objective whilst ignoring the enemies.
The button layout is a bit strange with the weapon and sub-weapon buttons being assigned to L&R instead of ZL&ZR. It’s a minor complaint but after years of playing games that have a shooting mechanic, using the bumpers instead of the triggers to shoot takes a little adjusting.
The lack of HD Rumble is a MASSIVE oversight in this game with so many missed opportunities. Not only could it have been utilised when firing a weapon, activating an explosive or upon taking damage, but there are other instances where the game simply felt lacklustre without that vibration in your hands.
Each of the three galaxies contain four levels (three standard levels and a boss level). In order to continue, you must consecutively complete all four levels without dying, otherwise you’ll need to start from the beginning of that galaxy.
Depending on the objective that you must complete, whether that be taking a powered ball from one pod to another or simply destroying every alien and keeping the towers from sending out explosive shock waves, each level’s platform design keeps you from getting complacent.
The story is minimalistic, but it gets the job done for its short play time. The opening cinematic helps to set the scene, and a few lines of voice acting actually came as a surprise, but in the end, it doesn’t do much to add to the game’s presentation. The plot is very forgettable and with no in-game cutscenes, plot points, dialogue or any sense of story progression aside from getting to the last galaxy, it is very easy to forget that this game actually has a story.
Graphics / Art Direction
The graphics are clean and the art style is crisp, with a bright and colourful retro pixel look that never goes out of style. The enemies and weapons are easily distinguishable, creating next to no confusion about what you’re going up against. While the sprites and enemy designs come across as a bit generic, they fit the bill.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack is fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping, exactly what you need it to be. Its techno/dance vibe accompanies the sci-fi setting well and the brief shifts in intensity creates a nice mix, allowing to avoid becoming too repetitive.
Final Score: 60%
Whilst Super Mutant Alien Assault has some great ideas and is ultimately a fun video game at its core, it greatly lacks in content. Going in blind, you’ll play for 45 minutes and ask yourself, “is that it?”, which is a shame as the game has some potential if it had more content.