Title: Super Mutant Alien Assault

Platform: Windows, Steam, PS4, Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Action Platformer

Players: Single player




Written by Bad Demoman 5th September 2016

















For me, Super Crate Box was a nice little distraction in a time where I had neither money nor a beefy pc to run - well, anything past flash games and games from 5 years ago. I’d flit from free game to free game like some sort of Flash Butterfly (which sounds very much like a Megaman X boss). Super Crate Box was no different - reasonably fun, little lasting power and fairly effort-free. Super Mutant Alien Assault by Cybernate looks to revive that sense of carefree fun and even improve upon it, touting itself as “The Citizen Kane of Super Crate Box clones” (a title I don’t think it had much competition in its claim to).


First off, let's outline what Super Crate Box was all about so that we can compare the two. Super Crate Box's goal was to collect - what else - crates containing random weaponry. All the while staving off hordes of enemies. It valued, in its own words, “The Glory of the Golden Arcade Age, when all that mattered was getting on that high-score list”. It’s a fast paced game where death usually means next time you’ll have some more toys to play with and the only success is to improve your score.


























That out of the way, let’s take a gander at what Super Mutant Alien Assault brings to the table. Taking place on a ship fleeing a desolate Earth, the ship comes under attack from the titular Super Mutant Aliens. What ensues as a result are a series of levels that are “randomly” generated (read:picked from a rather shallow pool of layouts) where you must fulfil a variety of goals to proceed. You may have to just kill a certain amount of enemies, or manage the overheating ships systems. In an effort to preserve the fast paced nature, enemies that stick around on the screen get progressively stronger, so you're encouraged to get them out of the way as quickly as possible. Weapons are supplied to you via a weapon cache at a fixed point on the stage, which generates new random weapons over time. These elements combined - the objectives, random weapons and strengthening enemies - leads to chaos, and not even the good kind of chaos. One particularly unwieldy weapon (of which there are many) and things can spiral out of control. Enemies will become difficult to efficiently dispatch with the best of weaponry, never mind the endless supply of junk that the weapons supply is giving you, and you only barely made it in time to that objective to prevent the whole ship exploding. Some people might enjoy this chaotic gameplay, but in my mind it goes against what Super Crate Box was trying to do.


In Super Crate Box, an unfavourable weapon was easily solved by another quick box, and a failure at the hands of a bad one isn’t nearly as frustrating when progression is only achieved with the sheer number of boxes you collect. Super Mutant Alien Assault, on the other hand, has an actual requirement to progress, getting further in to unlock more.I found myself getting frustrated, playing the starting few levels over and over with my meagre selection of guns both gating my access to the newer ones, and severely dulling the experience. I suppose it’d all be worth it if the later levels were any more interesting or the later weapons felt like they switched things up dramatically. Spoiler - They aren’t and they don’t.


























Super Mutant Alien Assault is OK as something on its own - but compared to SCB, it’s free predecessor, it’s just not got that same Arcade-style charm. It makes claims to be the Citizen Kane of Super Crate Box clones - the absolute magnum opus, the point to which all other Super Crate Box clones have been building to! (Can we get an update on those other Super Crate Box clones? You know, the ones that the original devs called out for being copies?) But it doesn’t really build on the formula enough to be considered a massive improvement, or to really be considered as a game on its own rather than just a clone. The changes it does make end up diluting the simplistic fun of the original. If you see this game on the Steam Store and think, hey, that looks like it might be alright, go try out the grand daddy instead.



Pros:

Decent visuals,

A ton of different guns.


Cons:

Adds nothing worthwhile to the formula,

Chaotic gameplay elements to emulate a fast pace.


Final Verdict,

Super Mutant Alien Assault gets a 5/10.


Written,

Bad Demoman



    
















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