Aliens: Infestation (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew



It's been a decade since the classic Aliens franchise made an appearance on a Nintendo handheld and the last time you could battle it out with the universes most feared Xenomorph was way back in 2001. For a while, it didn't even look like we'd be getting this game and Internet rumors were rife with stories that the DS version of Aliens had been cancelled. Thankfully it's here now and in a world where quality DS titles are few and far between anything by handheld specialists WayForward can only be a good thing. Ironically, the same developers are widely regarded as being behind the last great GameBoy Color game (Shantae) so could they be making the same mark on the DS?


You could be forgiven, during your first few minutes with this game, into thinking that the whole thing is about exploration. You'll move through one room after another featuring familiar architecture from the movies just waiting for something to happen. Discovering a map helps to illustrate just how big your play area is although like other similar games, not everything is available to you from the beginning. This is because you need to locate several bits of essential equipment. A wrench to shut off leaking pipes, explosives, a blowtorch and, of course, pass keys for the various lifts. Other rooms are too dark and dangerous to enter so a light of some description is also required. That doesn't mean the game will grind to a halt though and there are many air ducts, which don't appear on the map, some of which allow you to bypass your current 'above ground' obstacle, which can be very handy.

And then just when you think you are completely alone: Robots, Face Huggers and Aliens aplenty appear from nowhere. It's heart-pounding stuff too and you'll need to constantly alert whilst upgrading your weapons in order to fend off the increasingly stronger and more ferocious Xenomorphs. There is some help at hand thanks to a collection of Marines you can pick up along the way to strengthen your team. You can have four in your group at any one time and should you meet your demise, one of your teammates will take over. In other words, you have three continues before you begin from your last 'save point'. The saves in question are ammunition rooms, which are also where you can change your weapons, and, should you desire, your Marine, although all of them appear to fight in exactly the same way, which is a little disappointing.


The control system is both responsive and intuitive and works remarkably well with the touch-screen. The only real problem we had was getting off ladders at a 'central' platform which proved far more difficult that anything else during the game especially when fending off several aliens at the same time. There's also the question of speed and each marine explores the area in a very pedestrian manor with 'speed-up's' only available by keeping the 'L' button firmly pressed down.


We know the DS can pull off a reasonably solid 3D engine and n-Space have done wonders with the Call of Duty franchise for the system. It's refreshing then that WayForward have gone the 2D route and what's on view here is a perfect 16 Bit representation of the Aliens Universe. Of course you could argue that both the scenery and enemies are a little repetitive but some clever level design and wonderfully smooth animation will have you overlooking all of this in no time at all.


Aliens: Infestation may have one of the greatest uses of audio heard on the DS system for quite some time and this is a perfect example of how sound can be used effectively to heighten the gamers emotions. We highly recommend you play this game using headphones: you won't be disappointed.

Dual screen

Throughout the game you will find yourself continually tapping the touch-screen in order to select various weapons and gadgets. This all works surprisingly well and the interface has been expertly designed so it never gets in the way of the gameplay. You'll also need your stylus for the APC sections as you speed along the planets surface. You don't actually control the APC here but rather the turret in order to defend your Marines against the Alien (and Face Hugger) onslaught.

Final comments

Aliens: Infestation is not without it's problems. The design is incredibly linear with any room explored off the main path there for seeking out bonus items or lost Marines. You'll also quickly discover that most of your objectives are very similar as are the Marines themselves, even though the storyline attempts to give each of them an elaborate personality. Strange then that this is such an entertaining and engaging little game and one that not only celebrates the Alien franchise but could also be one of the last great DS games. If you happen to be a fan of the movies or even Metroid style gameplay we'd urge you too seek a copy out although at the time of writing we were finding it incredibly difficult to track down an extra copy for a friend.

Pro: Great Use of Sound and 16 Bit Visuals.
Con: It's all over far too quickly.
Final score: 8.3


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Boxart of Aliens: Infestation (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Action