Alien Bugs Defender is like one of those zombie survival games where you defend a barricade against endless hordes of mindless zombies coming after your brains. Here, instead of zombies, the player finds himself stranded on a faraway planet in a distant future, surrounded by nothing but alien bugs. Using a set of weapons, the player must defend his base from waves of bugs, surviving enough days to move to a different area.
Every day, the player must survive 15 waves of bugs. After 20 days, the player must defeat a boss bug in order to progress to the next area, where he must stay for the same number of days. There are a total of 11 areas, which means the playtime for the game is fairly long.
Great looks, great sound
The first thing I noticed when I ran the game is that it looks beautiful. The splash screen is rich in detail and it’s followed up by inviting music. It’s easily noticeable that a lot of talent and effort has been put into the game. After starting the first mission, it quickly briefs you on what you need to do, and sends you off.
The graphics in the game are of some real quality. The background, the bugs animations, as well as the weapons used, all seem to blend in nicely and give an authentic look of a distant, barren planet. The accompanying sound is also worth mentioning. Background music, the sounds of weapons, as well as the sounds of dying bugs, all are done with quality and style.
Strategy and tactics
One would think that fending off waves after waves of bugs gets boring really fast. The reality is, in fact, quite the opposite. The game offers four types of weapons and a defense upgrade that must be used and upgraded wisely in order to progress.
This is not an easy game. When the bugs come flying in, the player must have a good aim, to try and pick off as many of them as possible. When he gets overwhelmed, he can choose between a power bomb, a freeze-bomb and a gas bomb to slow the enemies down. Every bomb has a different effect and must be used against a different type of opponent in order to survive.
As the game progresses, the bugs get tougher, making upgrades a vital part of the game. With each upgrade, the next one becomes more expensive, meaning the player must choose wisely how he’ll spend his money.
And money is earned by playing the game, which is a great way to reward people for playing. If the player survives through a day, he’ll get a set amount of money that he can spend on upgrades between days.
In case he didn’t survive, he’ll get a smaller amount of cash and a chance to try again.
All these elements combined – different types of bugs, different types of weapons and defense upgrades, and the fact that you need to earn – and save – money in order to progress, make for a tactically and strategically demanding game.
However, this game has its downsides as well, that need to be mentioned. I’ve played a total of 32 days of the game, and during that time I was introduced to only four types of different bugs. And the fourth type was first seen after 30 days, meaning that for a long period of time, the same three types of bugs were attacking.
It would be good for the game to introduce new bugs a bit faster, just to keep the player interested in the game longer.
The same goes for bosses. After 30+ levels, the player is engaged in three boss fights, all of which are against the same bug. Adding more variety to boss fights would be a big plus.
I found it odd that different types of bugs don’t have different types of attacks. They all have to run up to the barricade and start slamming their poor faces against the wall to deal damage. Adding bugs that, for example, shoot from distance, or can give various buffs to their fellow bugs could improve the dynamics of the game and also call for more strategic thinking from the player.
Social aspect is missing
Alien Bugs Defender is a single-player game only. It has no multi-player mode or a way to share the game with friends. This is a shame, given that the game has a good learning curve and a well thought-out progress path.
I’d love to see an option to share your success with your friends, be it via an achievement page or in another fashion, showing how far you got and how upgraded your weapons are could increase the competitiveness of the game, and thus its overall quality.
Looking at the game as a whole, it’s a very good product. Smooth graphics, quality art, fine music, all accompanied with a gameplay that’s fun, engaging and dynamic. It has a well thought-out in-game virtual economy that requires careful planning and consideration, and the results are rewarding.
Still, it has room for improvement, and with time I don’t see any reason why this game shouldn’t reach the top charts of both Google and Apple.