It came from space and ate our brains (PC) | Review

It came from space and ate our brains is a mouthful of a title for a mostly adequate top-down shooter. Conceived by Triangle Studios and published by All in! Games in 2015, this has you running ‘n’ gunning through boatloads of aliens who are awfully deen on chowing down on your delicious noggin. While some of the design choices haven’t done it many favours, the content on offer makes it a justifiable purchase.

Across each mission, you’ll need to rush from point A to B while killing everything in your path. Not exactly breaking new ground here, though that wasn’t really the aim. In between seeking refuge in safehouses, you’ll come across destroyable barricades and other obstacles that’ll summon the horde en masse as you fend for your life. What the game lacks in variety, it partially makes up with its sense of urgency. The difficulty on the whole is mostly fair, but demanding. 

While you only get four lives, you start each level with only three. It certainly doesn’t help in survival mode…

Word to the wise: don’t go thinking you can quit a level and return mid-way through, as it won’t save your progress until you’ve completed it. Considering the fact that these missions can feel a bit lengthy, not to mention there being a fair bit of distance in between each safe house, it feels like a silly exclusion. They don’t really have a lot of replayability since there’s little in them to help them stand apart from one another; some of them are fairly spacious, while others are much more streamlined and narrow. 

Even then, it  still looks like a damn good game. Its predominantly-grey environments, minimal amount of lighting and ominous vaporwave soundtrack contribute to the drab and gloomy atmosphere that the developers are trying to create here. The use of voxels and blocks does make it look quite charming, too. Plus, it runs smoothly with very quick loading times.

Changing the difficulty doesn’t alter much, aside from the enemy’s hitpoints and speed.

Aside from the campaign, there’s also a relentless survival mode. Health supplies are dangerously low, and considering you have hearts rather than a health bar, chances are you’re gonna die a lot. In each map, a dropship will float around the area, sporadically dropping off items for you to use. It’s easy enough to follow their movement pattern and figure out where items tend to get dropped. Anyway, the fact that you can complete these after a number of waves does give this mode more reasons for you to come back for more.  

While there are only a small number of enemy variants, these dudes will not cut you slack. Most will rush at you, while others will dodge side-step or lunge. Despite their predictable attack patterns, the sheer number of them is to be feared. When you reach the end of a mission, you’ll have to fend off incoming waves of the squishy gits as you attempt to destroy an alien egg. These chaotic battles are quite enjoyable, even if the target in question is a bit of a bullet-sponge.

If you time it right, you can run right through the smaller enemies before they swing at you.

Your arsenal is made up of a hard-hitting selection of upgradable guns. Starting off with a simple pistol, you can use cash to buy new weapons or improve their usefulness. Each modification costs a fair bit, the increased range, firing rate and firepower are all worth it in the end. You can upgrade them three times; many of the fully-upgraded weapons are incredibly powerful and oh so satisfying to use, like the laser rifle firing a continuous beam of energy when fired, or the SMG being turned into a minigun. Some of the guns ain’t so great in comparison. The shotgun won’t deal any damage whatsoever unless you’ get really up-close, and landing a direct hit on such small targets with the rocket launcher is tricky as well. 

Crates and barrels contain items like ammo and portable health kits, as well as special equipment like shields, mines, turrets, and even a gigantic trio of laser beams that zaps any of the nasty buggers that try to get up close. While the mines are a tad underpowered, the rest of them are particularly useful. Sometimes, you’ll be able to use an upgraded weapon that’s not been purchased yet for a limited amount of time. Think of them as trial versions in the form of a power-up. This is a cool inclusion.

It supports up to four-players locally or online. It’s a lot more fun this way.

Nevertheless, you can’t pull off any special abilities, aside from dashing for an incredibly brief amount of time. Seriously, the sprint function is an absolute joke. Not only does your stamina bar drain within two seconds, you won’t cover much ground. 

It came from space and ate our brains is a frantic top-down shooter with a great arsenal and an unsettling atmosphere, though there’s not much else to expect from it rather than running down linear corridors while oodles of monsters are in pursuit. If you’re after a fairly tricky – albeit mindless and undeniably flawed – shooter, swiping this one’s a no-brainer.

Rating:

3 Stars

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