Those of you hoping to read about a conversion of hit farming sim Harvest Moon will be disappointed, as this game has nothing to do with Natsume’s cult classic.
In this game of alien invasion, we are the crop to be harvested by the other worldly fiends. Business as usual then.
The game is a third person point and click action game with RPG lite elements and an almost isometric view of the action. You control one of a set of super soldiers out to investigate a way of ridding the planet of the alien menace.
Destroying enemies helps you level up, with various attributes that can be altered, and there are also computer chips that let you upgrade different parts of your soldier, either temporarily for a larger boost, or permanently for a smaller increase in stats.
The temporary upgrades deteriorate over time, but you can collect repair chips that fix them, although you will have to check yourself on their status, as there is no alert for them. Each character also has special moves that require energy that is charged over time or boosted by pickups. Some of the specials, such as the shockwave move, are necessary to proceed in some of the missions, so they are really important to the game.
Most of the game is an unrelenting trudge. Clicking on enemies makes your soldier auto target, which is understandable given the nature of the game, but by the end of the second level the repetitive nature will be taking its toll on your patience. Tap to walk along, tap enemy, tap to walk again, tap enemy, get ambushed by six enemies, use special to clear them, tap to walk again, tap to kill enemy…and so on.
There is a certain addictiveness to upgrading your character to see how powerful he can get, but the problem with his is one of balance. In the first level, its quite a tricky game, as you die rather quickly, so keen use of specials and running away and avoiding trouble keep the action interesting. By the start of the second level however, and, if you have been spending all your leveling up points, you will find it very hard to die, as the enemies don’t seem to have been leveled up in the same way you have.
This, combined with the repetitive gameplay, is where the monotony kicks in.
Monotonous yes, but not altogether unenjoyable, as you will probably find that the game somehow seems to get its hooks in you despite the problems. You will end one gaming, session by snapping out of its mindless spell, vowing not to bother with the game again, but you will soon find your self booting it up again.
Before you do take the plunge there are a couple of other problems. First of all, the map is just plain awful, and particularly on the first level it makes no sense whatsoever. Secondly, the game has a tendency not to save your most recent progress, which really is something to bear in mind.
Aside from that, the graphics are really nice, with big, well animated characters and impressive effects, and the level of presentation is overall very good, although the game does take an age to boot up.
It’s ambitious, there are different characters to learn, and if you like grinding for levels, you may very well find something to love here. If you are put off by monotonous gameplay and the idea of a point and click action game, then this is most definitely not for you.
Overall, a game with bags of potential and lots of sheen is marred by repetition and an over reliance on a few basic gameplay ideas.
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