PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Alien Robot Monsters
Developed by: Kraftix Games
Published by: Kraftix Games
Released: September 9, 2015
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, Steam OS, iOS, Android
Genre: Tower defense, action
ESRB Rating: E10
Number of players: 1
Price: $5.99 (Steam), Free (with in-app purchases for iOS, Android)

Thank you, Kraftix Games, for providing a copy of this game to review!

Human colonists finally arrive at Planet X and are preparing to live there. But what's that in the trees? Is it an alien? A robot? A monster? No – it's all three! It's the Attack of the Alien Robot Monsters! Aaaaaahhhh!

It's also an amusing tower defense game offered by Kraftix Games. It plays out like a lot of other tower defense games – you place some defensive towers at specific locations along a wandering path. Hordes of alien robot monsters appear from the entrance – or entrances – and make their way along the path. The more you destroy, the more scrap metal you get. You can then use this to place more towers or upgrade existing ones. If any of the aliens manage to slip past your defenses, you'll take damage – if you take 20 points of damage, you lose the level. If you survive all the waves, you earn stars (which can be used for more meta-upgrades, like increasing the range of all your explosives) and unlock new levels. The better you do, the more stars you earn, up to a maximum of three stars per level. 

In terms of the genre of tower defense games, Alien Robot Monsters doesn't really do anything new. Each new level will bring you a new upgrade to try and factor into your defenses, but that's not unusual. You have towers that produce flames, or shoot enemies with electricity and paralyze or slow them, defenses that generate troops to go out and fight the invaders, and many more. Likewise, you'll find enemies that are fast but can't take much damage, enemies that are resistant or immune to bullets, but take more damage from explosives, enemies with tons of armor but move like turtles, and so forth. The usual tropes are here, and quite familiar.

Alien Robot Monsters
Highlights:

Strong Points: Good music; great graphics; funny voice acting
Weak Points: Not terribly innovative; steep learning curve
Moral Warnings: Some violence; language

Where the game really shines is in other elements. The graphics are top-notch – reminiscent of the 16-bit era of video games, but much more polished, in a cartoonish style. The music is quite pleasant, and fits the action extremely well. The sound effects are great, and although the text boxes aren't read aloud, the voice acting of the marines is nice, and often hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things the soldiers said upon receiving upgrades, including "where did I put the pin?" when receiving grenades, or "touch the wire to see if it's live." 

The game starts out simple enough, but escalates in difficulty rapidly. You really have to be more conscious of where you place your towers and what upgrades you use as you move through the levels. Fortunately, you can redistribute your stars to change what bonuses your towers and troops get per level. The more stars you have, the better the bonuses you can use. Although you can replay levels to get a better score and – possibly – more stars, you can't use any new upgrades in the lower levels. For example, just because you unlock flamethrowers in the sixth level doesn't mean you can use them in the first one. 

Alien Robot Monsters
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 85%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 6/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

In regards to some of the moral worries, there are a few. There is violence, of course, but creatures that are killed – whether your soldiers or the alien robot monsters – explode in a flurry of metal parts that rapidly disappear. There is language in the game as well. The word b****rd appears in one of the tower upgrades. It's rather disappointing to see this, because except for the swearing, the game is rather family friendly. The inclusion of the vulgarities is entirely unnecessary, and may serve to deter purchasers, rather than encourage more. 

One odd quirk occurs when trying to click on the button to start the waves. Every once in a while, doing this will cause the game to freeze until the mouse is clicked again. It actually looks like the game locks up completely when this happens. The best I can figure is that there is a remnant of a hidden "pause" button that hasn't been completely edited out of the game. It's a minor quibble, but can be somewhat disconcerting, especially when a player isn't expecting it.

Another oddity is that, on Steam, the game is offered as a regular version and a "deluxe version." There's no explanation – even on the developer's Web site – as to what else is included in the deluxe version, though. Perhaps it includes the soundtrack, which can be purchased separately.

For fans of the tower defense genre, this could be a welcome inclusion to their collection. Although it doesn't do anything new, what it does accomplish is done quite well. I've seen it go for less than $2 on Steam sales, and given the amount of gameplay, it's well worth this price. 

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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