Alien Invaders AR

Alien Invaders AR Review

I just came back from the shower because I just couldn’t write this review with all my body sweating. Why do you ask? because one developer somewhere in the world has decided to make an augmented reality game that will make you move like crazy. No, it’s not a fitness app, believe it or not, it’s an Alien Invaders game, yes in AR!

In this post, I am going to review an ARKit game called Space Invaders AR, developer by P.A Technologies, a Vietnamese mobile app development company.

Space Invaders in AR

Alien Invaders AR is the augmented reality take on the classic Space Invaders arcade game which saw its first tight in 1978. According to Wikipedia, it’s the third longest-running video game franchise (38 years and 7 months to date). It’s actually not the only Space Invaders-like AR game on the app store. but if I am not mistaken this is the first one for ARKit. Just so you know, there is a game called AR invaders, a non-ARKit game that was released in 2012.

For those of you who never heard about Space Invaders before. It’s an arcade shooter in which you need to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon and try to earn as many points as possible.

Alien Invaders AR game screenshot
This that octopus alien, it is going kamikaze on me!

In Alien Invaders AR you play the game in the first-person perspective. Instead of controlling a small spaceship underneath the aliens, you are the one shooting the aliens. The game takes advantage of the 3D space. The aliens will be moving in both the X, Y and some of them in the Z-axis as well. Some of them will target you by shooting lasers at you in the three-dimensional space. This means that the player will need to continuously move around the environment to avoid getting hit. They are shooting ball-like projectiles, so they are relatively big and a bit hard to avoid.  There are some octopus aliens that once you take them down they will go kamikaze on you so watch out.

The principal of evading is simple, just move your iPhone or iPad so the projectiles are out of bounds. By the way, I’ve already tried to play like an ostrich and put my iPad face down and see if the enemies can shoot me, they can :).

There are some power-ups in this game, I haven’t had a chance to grab them all to see what everyone does. You start with 5 lives, each time you get hit you lose a life. If you lose all five it’s game over.  I tried to see if shooting enemy’s projectiles can take them down, but no, they just pass through and hit you.

There is also an option to change to different projectiles but there is no advantage changing them as they are all about the same size.

You can play the game in either landscape or portrait position, but the UI is always fixed in portrait orientation.

What Do I like About the Game?

OK, now let’s talk about the more interesting stuff. To be honest, the reason I wanted to play this game is that I wanted to see how one of the most classic arcade games plays in augmented reality, ARKit to be more specific.

First of all, the game is really challenging. This is one reason why I bothered exercising playing it like over an hour.

Last alien left, Alien Invaders AR screenshot
The last alien, I’m on it! (I was able to make it with two lives left)

I love challenging games. This game is nothing like any other ARKit game I’ve played before because it really put you into motion. I found myself just moving and crouching trying to evade the enemy’s projectiles and it wasn’t easy.

If you search for an iOS mobile game that will get you into shape, trust me, get this game. It took me like 40 minutes until I finished the first round. I failed so many times but I just couldn’t stop. How can I review a game if I cannot even finish the first round? I was finally able to finish the first level and I am currently positioned at the 4th place in the world..among 9 players in total LOL.  Anyways, I am happy with my performance overall, can you do better?

Alien Invaders is really fun to play in AR because it forces you to move all the time. I did try to cheat like going to the kitchen, shoot and then take a peek to see if the enemies see me, and they did and shot me even behind cover. I finally found an easier way to fight by waiting for them to release their projectiles and move to the other side a second later, then rinse and repeat and do that while shooting.

The shooting mechanics are really good because the projectiles move slowly towards the enemies. This means that you can’t just tap on an enemy and kill it, you need to time out your shooting. Some aliens also have a shield for a certain time and you need to make sure you shoot them when the shield is down. When I got to the last two aliens, they had a shield half of the time and it was hard to take them down. you can check out the gameplay and see for yourself.

It’s amazing that such a simple arcade ARKit game was able to make me put so much effort in it. I like exercising, although I’m not sure that I really would have like sweating after every game session. Anyways, I’ll probably find ways to play it comfortably and yet be able to finish levels.

The music and sound and sound effects are really nice, I also really liked the explosion and particle effects, it all played out really well.

My issue with the game didn’t come from the fact that it doesn’t really bring something else to the table that we haven’t see in other AR games with the same concept. It was fun to play, but I wasn’t excited about it as an ARKit game. Maybe after seeing so many great ARKit experiences, my expectations are higher. Could they make this game better, maybe, but until I see another Space Invaders ARKit game that does something completely different, I wouldn’t be able to judge.

I do think that using ARKit’s surface detection, it would be nice to have the aliens move between surfaces or maybe change orientation so one time you shoot at them from the side and the other time from above while pointing the iPhone downwards.

Conclusion

Alien Invaders AR is a really fun and challenging augmented reality game. It’s a game that will definitely give you some good exercise. It’s not evolutionary nor exciting to play as some of the recent ARKit titles that I had a chance to play previously. Those game really took advantage of the ARKit technology and brought some really exciting experiences. I’ve played this game for over an hour, and I’ve got an about an hour worth of good exercise, not bad.

That being said, Alien Invaders stay loyal to its root and does that in a very respectable way and for both the classic and the ARKit platform.

For me, this game was more like a fitness app. I’ve played this game for over an hour, and I’ve got an about an hour worth of good exercise, not bad.

Overall, really great take on the classic Space Invaders game. This ARKit game is free to play, and I do recommend downloading and playing it—it’s a really fun and challenging game for all ages.

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