Overall Score 93%
Happy Happy Happy. Seems an odd way to start a game review I know, but if you glance back to my review for the Defender-clone Guardian, you'll know where I'm coming from with this. Pumpkin Games' Alien Abduction is another game based on the classic Defender and if you haven't worked it out, I'm a big fan. I like it, a lot.
If you really don't know what Defender is, please go take a look at the Guardian review for a better description, in essence, it is a side scrolling shooter. Alien Abduction follows the gameplay of Defender pretty closely with level after level of aliens attempting to abduct.
In a clever story twist, instead of preventing human abductions, you fight for the Barrier Defense Force, attempting to keep an energy barrier powered. Power for the barrier is supplied by ten energy crystals that you need to protect in order to proceed. Fortunately you are equipped with guns and nukes for the job!
The game is split up into several modes and play styles. They all have the same core goal but you get to choose different ways to achive that goal. The modes let you score points by way of speed, accuracy or progression, whilst the play style allows you to aim for perfect rounds and be ranked as a hero.
You can start each game by choosing a ship. Your choice effects your flight abilities, speed and weapons. Each level starts you with basic guns and nukes, but throughout the level you'll see powerups floating around that give you better weapons, lightning blasts, invisibility and shields. Like Guardian, the difficulty seems to be too hard in Alien Abduction but you soon realise that your limited stock of nukes replenishes, making it the perfect choice when surrounded.
Visually the game is outstanding. Initial presentation is pretty basic but once you start playing, you are immersed in a strange future-retro world that I haven't seen in other games. One in-game effect is actually worth dying for as the camera rocks from your explosion! My one gripe is that the radar can sometimes be unclear.
It doesn't happen often but I kept the sound on during every play session with Alien Abduction. Matching the minimalist graphics is an ambient soundtrack and clear sound effects that actually enhance the gameplay. My gripe with the radar during play is easily offset by the spot effects that update you when your crystals are abducted.
I wasn't expecting Alien Abduction to weigh in above Guardian as the better Defender game, but it has that extra magic to push it out in front. A recently developed level editor and unlockable extras extend the game further, making this an essential purchase.
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