By Carlin Au
Alien Hallway… Now at first, this game looks fun. The visuals are reminiscent of Alien Swarm and side-scrolling strategy types were always fun for me. Sea of Fire and Warfare 1917 were always fun games that I could play when I didn’t want to play anything too complicated or too simple. Flash games like Warfare and Sea of Fire did an excellent job by changing things up to keep the player interested; I only wish that Alien Hallway did the same.
So, the background for this game is aliens stumble upon various planets and the first thing they think of is to invade that planet with a hallway full of aliens. Throughout the first third of the game, you defend Earth until you push them back onto other planets. On the other planets, you continue to push them off until you eliminate every trace of them possible. So here’s my question: why do we need to get involved with the other planets? Who cares if Mars or Venus gets invaded by aliens? I can almost imagine the soldiers saying, “What the bollocks does this planet have to do with us? There’s absolutely NOTHING on the piece of rock.”
The game is split up into a worlds and level systems like Mario and Angry Birds. Earth is a world with ten levels, Mars is a world with another ten levels and so on. Each level is generally the same – one single, giant platform. The only things that do change in each level are the aliens and the backdrop. There’s no tactics, no strengths or weaknesses for units, or anything to make you want to change strategies. By the time you finish this game, you’re going to want to change strategies. The game becomes very redundant and you spam the same units and you know you’ll be able to win. There’s the occasional artillery strike you can call in top help you along, but there isn’t much need for those artillery strikes once you have a bunch of upgraded Shotgun units with a bunch of grenades to throw.
At the beginning of each level, you have enough energy (the currency you buy units with) to buy engineers that harvest energy from little sticks in the ground and one attack unit. To gain more energy, you simply create more engineers to gather more energy. Of course, more energy means more units to send into battle. Harvesting energy can be tricky, though. If the aliens gets too close, they’ll destroy all the engineers you sent out. Stopping the aliens from reaching your engineers is simple. Creating units becomes shields for your engineers as they gather energy for you to create more shields. Ultimately, you want to push your units up and destroy the teleporter spawning the aliens. Destroying their teleporter means that you win the level and you can move onto the next. After each level, you gain gold which allows you to upgrade units. Upgrading units makes them better shields, for your engineers, and will also increase their damage.
The problem with Alien Hallway is there’s no strategy involved. Sure you get those first moments when you say, “Hey, I need some flamers up front to tank the damage and some heavy ranged units dealing the damage.” That only happens early game. After that, it’s all about spamming units into battle. I can’t seem to find any reason to change-up my normal series of units to give me a better advantage. Alien Hallway is a click-to-win game. Spamming units is the only way to defeat the aliens. Unfortunately, rather than fighting against alien beasts that threaten your homeland, you’re fighting against cooldown times.
It’s simple… But is it too simple?
I get the feeling that Alien Hallway is supposed to be simple. It’s not as complex as games like Warfare 1917 or Warfare 1944, but to me, Alien Hallway is too simple. Alien Hallway is all about clicking. The controls are pretty basic – click this to spawn, click that to throw a grenade, et cetera. There aren’t any hotkeys or anything really involving the keyboard to invoke a sense of immersion. It’s hard for me to get into the game when all I’m doing is clicking things without thought. A game like this may be something that people could do on a quick break between work or after a hard day at school. It’s pretty mindless and easy to play. There aren’t any complicated controls or strategies to win. Plus, the action looks pretty awesome with all the flames and laser fire you exchange with the aliens.
Is it Worth Your Money?
Alien Hallway is a simplistic strategy game. It feel like a game that could be an iPhone app for wasting time. That said, I don’t think it’s worth the price of $10 on Steam. The game is not complicated in any way, so it’s good for a lazy afternoon on a Saturday. The game’s levels are pretty quick to complete so it’s useful for breaks during or after work. It’s quite a short game; I finished all the levels in two hours and I have to say that it’s a game you should play sparingly. The game gets fairly repetitive if you play it too much and after you finish it, there isn’t much replay value.
Alien Hallway Summary:
- Time Played – 3 Hours
- Widescreen Support – Up to 1600×900
- 5.1 Audio – Yes
- Bugs – None found.
- DRM – Steamworks, RegNOW
- Control Scheme – Mouse Clicks
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Availability – Steam or Sigma Team’s Site
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