Game Review: Alien Shooter (PS Vita)

Alien Shooter

I love vanilla. I particularly like those vanilla bars dipped in chocolate. But what does that have to do with games? And with Alien Shooter in particular? Well, Alien Shooter, as its name suggests, is vanilla. It’s a top-down isometric shooter, where you navigate different levels and kill a hell of a lot of aliens. It’s a no-frills experience.

The thing is, Alien Shooter is a 2003 PC Shareware title that has had a sort of cult following since it came to light all those years ago. And playing it, I can see why. It’s really, really fun.

There aren’t that many levels, or a huge diversity of enemies. There are about a dozen weapons and some upgrades, but that’s where customization stops. The music isn’t really all that awesome or varied, and the sound effects are very 2003.

But once you start playing, you no longer care about any of that. All you care about is killing those aliens. And let me tell you, alien killing is something that this game delivers in spades. The action is so frantic, the game play so on point, that everything else kind of falls through the cracks. It takes gaming to a very basic level, and juices it to the max. There’s hoards of enemies, buckets and buckets of blood. It really is a fantastic, delightful experience.

Or it would be, were it not for the frame drops. At first, it’s not a major problem. It’s just a bit jerky, but you power through it. As more enemies appear, and you advance through the levels, however, the problem becomes almost game-breaking, at least for something like a shooter, where sometimes exact-frame precision is necessary.

While this is not the case with Alien Shooter (it is very forgiving with its aiming, at least with the “Aim-Assist” on), the game at times runs at two, three or four FPS. And that takes you out of the experience completely. It’s still playable (I finished the campaign), but it just isn’t as enjoyable. And that’s a shame, because if it weren’t by this one issue – this really, extremely noticeable issue -, it would have been one of the best shooting experiences on the Vita.

We reached out to developer Sigma Team to talk about the game and more. You can read the interview HERE. The bad news is, there probably won’t be a patch to improve performance on the Vita. The good news is, the PS3 version runs at 25FPS or higher, so people with a last-gen home console will get to play this game, and enjoy it.

At A Glance

  • Title: Alien Shooter
  • Publisher: 8floor Ltd.
  • Developer: Sigma Team
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: Digital Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Local Multiplayer: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 113Mb

Vita Player Rating - 05

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About Marcos Codas 292 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers.Like what I do? Donate a coffee: https://www.paypal.me/marcoscodas

4 Comments

  1. All I’d seen prior to doing a bit of hunting around online were screenshots and to be honest it wasn’t a game that immediately appealed to me but I am genuinely surprised about the framerate issues, even when looking at the gameplay videos from the PC version.

    If the Vita can handle the intense action from games like SuperStardust Delta, Resogun and Dead Nation or the technically incredible Killzone: Mercenary, there’s no reason whatsoever that it can’t cope with what is essentially an isometric sprite-shifting game like this. If all of the aliens were rendered in 3D then I *might* be able to understand it, but they’re not – they’re all hand-drawn sprites that can be drawn and placed anywhere on screen pretty much instantly.

    On a hardware level, the Commodore 64 was capable of moving around a decent number on screen at one and I’ve seen the Amiga move hundreds of objects on screen simultaneously without showing any signs of a slow-down. But this is 2015 and the Vita is a far more capable system and should do more. In all honesty this should be a solid 30fps game with the PS3 version running at a stable 60fps throughout.

    The lack of any future update… to me, that’s just an insult to anyone who has invested in the game.

    • I agree.

      Sigma Team themselves said in the interview that they really don’t know why the game runs this poorly on Vita, considering it runs super-smooth on much less powerful hardware using ARM processors (smartphones, even older models).

      I cannot say that I am not disappointed by the fact that they won’t patch it, either. I honestly think the studio who ported it just didn’t do a good enough job.

      I understand, however, that some priorities need to be made, and if by focusing on the PS3 version will make that version run well, then I guess at least one demographic is getting a version of the game that realizes the potential.

      I usually don’t say this, but as bad as the issue is, I still think (with a significant price drop) that this is a game worth playing.

      • Sigma Team should know why the PS Vita version of Alien Shooter runs poorly because the team that ported it used the Android version source code/s the Android (port) version runs smoothly on ARM processors with lower characteristics than the PS Vita has

    • why are you genuinely surprised about the frame-rate issues (problems) in the PS Vita game Alien Shooter? it was developed using the Android version source codes the Android port (version) of Alien Shooter runs smoothly on ARM processors with lower characteristics than the PS Vita has

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