Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 18, 2010
Alien Hominid – Review

Alien Hominid – Review

Post Rating

What a story! The niche web game comes good in the age of EA monopolies. Alien Hominid originally appeared free to PC users on the newgrounds.com website in the form of one of those highly addictive flash games we all know and love. But several hundred thousand hits down the line Hominid has crash landed its way to the multi-format console world and is beaming up interstellar accolades from a wealth of venerable games leaders. The crucial problem is whether the differences made in the transition are significant enough to warrant slapping a twenty five pound price tag on a downloadable freebie.

Gameplay
SNK’s excellent Metal Slug series has a lot to answer for, and thankfully Hominid is one of those things, the gameplay will instantly strike a chord with any Slug veteran’s, as well as the basic side scrolling shooter with delightfully OTT bosses (giant flying soviet robot anyone?), vehicle mechanics and gentle extreme violence, there are several happy nods in the direction of the classic shoot ‘em up series such as the ‘GO’ arrows that signal it’s time to move on.

There are a variety of not so cutesy methods of attack waiting those FBI agents or soviet soldiers who dare cross your merciless path: slice and dice with your knife; collect different ammo for your gun in order to burn, dismember and generally destroy your foe; and a variety of melee attacks which might entail biting off heads, throwing, or even burrowing into the ground and dragging those meddlesome kids down to the depths of a fiery hell. Each attack has been carefully animated and even the most gruesome attack is executed with an absolute charm that’s unique to this title. And you’re going to need all of them to defeat the bosses ahead.

And those bosses really make Hominid what it is, most follow a pattern which must be learned in order to be defeated, and include a giant seemingly mechanical bee and the now legendary ‘Instant Pudding Monster’. The former is located at the end of essentially the second level, and the fight itself takes place atop rows of cars gridlocked on the freeway, forcing you to jump along the roofs as each individual is destroyed and then ducking inside to avoid his giant sting.

The frenzied pace of Hominid make it fun if a little infuriating and you will often find that death is an unavoidable obstacle which seems a little unfair. The game is also quite short, but both the single and two player modes have a decent amount of replay value.

Graphics
Hominid’s selling point is the way it mixes that violence with its unusual visual style, which works wonderfully your little Hominid smacks of Disney’s Stitch, and it all adds to the cute murderous charm. The graphics have obviously been improved since its flash days although the animation has been left rough in places almost as a retrospective to its noble beginnings and perhaps more than a slight nod to the cyclic character animation of Metal Slug.

The backdrops, and characters all appear in bright, garish colors and it gives the whole game a child-like quality, that helps to protect your Hominid’s illusion of innocence. They also feature amusing landmarks and store titles which often hide a secret of their own to look out for places like the Hairy Nanny Day-care (hint, hint).

The whole visual style and the excellent way that the character movements are animated is what makes Hominid the unique title it is, and contribute well to the appeal and charisma of the title in full.

Sound
Hominid draws on an original score of mainly drum and bass style tracks, which contributes to the often frenzied nature of the action sequences, they are however limited and can become repetitive if played for any length which isn’t too likely given the short playing time of the game., and the game requires no subtitles since it has no dialogue so is accessible for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Female Gamer Angle
The cutesy, cutesy aesthetics and the comedy violence of the game make it enormously enjoyable for the female gamer who likes this cutesy style and the games difficulty in places make it just as enjoyable for the female gamer who likes a challenge. But the games content and lack of a defined story really make it suitable for all so it’s probably equally as genial to both the sexes.

Overall
Hominid is a very appealing title it’s not unique in its gameplay or in its take on the genre, but what it is unique in is its graphical style, like Viewtiful Joe it sets a precedent that it’s OK to make an individual, and good looking side scroller, though Joe had more originality and unlike hominid, unfortunately, could be considered a modern classic. Alien Hominid is a good title worthy of serious consideration, but does little to compete against its heavyweight contemporaries.

Review by Peter

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