Nothing screams “Let’s blow mutant aliens into tiny chunks!” like a dubstep soundtrack to accompany the mayhem. That’s the exact basis of Super Mutant Alien Assault from developer Cybernate. The 2D action shooter is already fairly well-known within the gaming community as it originally released on other platforms such as PC and PlayStation 4 back in 2016. Now, it’s the Nintendo Switch’s turn to host one little robot’s final fight against the mutant alien swarm. And Switch is the perfect device for such a game.
Super Mutant Alien Assault puts in you the shoes of a tiny security robot who is essentially the last stand against the mutant alien hordes. The game features 12 stages. There are three galaxies with four stages per galaxy. The fourth stage of each galaxy features a boss enemy. Players will have to complete different tasks in each stage all while killing the monsters that emerge. But don’t get the wrong idea; each of the stages is static, meaning that there is no sidescrolling adventuring involved. All the action takes place on one screen with multiple layers and the stage only ends when the objectives are completed.
This little robot is all out of gum…
The objectives are extremely simple, including delivering batteries to power a generator, defusing overheating generators, or simply clearing the entire stage of mutant aliens. Players can pick up guns, grenades, and replenish a sliver of life from various vending machines. The guns and grenades dispensed will be random. Once the ammo has been depleted from a weapon or grenade type, players must return to the vending machine for another weapon. Eventually, sidearms become available. The robot will switch to the sidearm when the ammo has been depleted from the primary weapon. While ammo is unlimited, sidearms don’t deal heavy damage but can save you in a pinch.
Progression also brings about special abilities. Players can obtain the ability to double jump, boost, or vaporize enemies with a protective vertical beam. These items are found in random boxes deployed in later stages. Building up the robot’s loadout is important as the enemies become progressively quicker and deadlier. A radioactive pulse in some stages causes enemies to mutate, making them bigger and stronger. So, it becomes imperative to eliminate as many enemies as possible before mutation occurs.
The buddy system is rough
A co-op mode is available for players with a buddy handy. It literally operates the same way, just with two players on the screen at once. The downfall in co-op is that players tend to get in each other’s way. For instance, the vending machines must recharge before a player can grab a new weapon. As one can imagine, sharing one vending machine between two players can become difficult. The game doesn’t seem to add more vending opportunities despite the additional player.
Furthermore, if one player dies, it’s game over for both players. This seems entirely nonsensical as it stifles the enjoyment of the game. The surviving player should be able to continue and, perhaps, be capable of bringing his dead comrade back into action.
With a price tag of $9.99, it’s easy to expect this experience to be rather short. A run of the game through all 12 stages can be completed in an hour or less. However, those with the desire for a challenge can unlock two more difficulty tiers: heroic and epic. This will inevitably extend that play time.
Super Mutant Alien Assault is a chaotically fun, yet simple experience. It’s the type of experience that lends itself to short bursts of play in-between commercial breaks of your favorite TV show or to simply escape from work for a moment on your lunch break. The handheld capability of the Nintendo Switch lends itself to the quick and simple play Super Mutant Alien Assault offers. Sadly, it’s difficult to truly enjoy the game in co-op mode. Still, it’s sure to delight fans of the genre.
A review code was provided by the publisher.