Last year we had the fabulous chance to attend a special media open day which showcased many talented developers showing off their projects. Of the several Early Access games included in our coverage of the Melbourne International Games week, Super Mutant Alien Assault managed to recently leave Early Access to not officially release on Steam, but also on Xbox One and PS4.
Since the game’s Early Access launch back in August 2015, Super Mutant Alien Attack hasn’t seen the smoothest sailing. Founder of developer Cybernate, Chris Suffern describes his journey though Early Access with mixed emotions. The developer took the time during Early Access to get feedback from the countless players who picked up the game, but it was disheartening to watch the statistics every time there was a downturn in sales.
Even with that in mind though, Suffern emphasizes that despite the initial stall with sales numbers, Super Mutant Alien Assault has a solid foundation of fans who have been able to help him form and shape the game to its peak for the official release. Judging by the currently roughly 96% positive Steam review ratio, the game has generated some interest with a fair few people. And looking at Super Mutant Alien Assault, it’s not hard to see why.
Super Mutant Alien Assault is touted as the spiritual and natural successor to Vlambeer’s hit, free-to-play game, Super Crate Box, a game that is all about unlocking, progression and brutal platform shooting. Despite the game calling itself a clone of the classic title, it is the incredible amount of content that sets the new game apart. Super Mutant Alien Assault is a 2D arcade action platform shooter where the player shoots and kills an endless horde of mutant aliens across three different galaxies.
What makes games like Super Crate Box so interesting is the addictive feeling of unlocking an absolute treasure trove of content. Super Mutant Alien Assault takes this feature and runs with it. The variety ranges from unique weapons and new enemies to new abilities and new character skins.
Super Mutant Alien Assault is quite a complex game, despite running with a simple premise. This is because it features objectives and tasks that players have to do in levels in order to complete them. These game modes change every level and can be as simple as killing everything under a timer to deactivating engines before they overheat and cause damage to the player.
The game moves very quickly, with a considerable amount of player skill and input needed to dodge around the various enemies thrown at you. Enemies in Super Mutant Alien Assault do get progressively harder as a result of time. The longer enemies stay on the screen, the more likely they’ll come in contact with radiation, which creates a mutated form of an enemy. These mutations cause the alien to become stronger or faster and even gain new abilities such as the ability to explode.
As mentioned in the original Melbourne International Games Week coverage, Super Mutant Alien Assault is the direct follow up to Mutant Alien Assault back on Miniclip. Since then, the game has gone back into R&D with an improved art style and an incredibly satisfying sound design. Killing and shooting aliens in the gorgeous pixel environment feels great and sounds amazing.
To this day, one of the most requested features for Super Crate Box is the option to play with a friend. Fortunately Super Mutant Alien Assault has this option, with the ability to play local co-op. When I spoke to Chris Suffern, he had mentioned that online multiplayer was not going to be in the full game, but it’s still not completely off the table in the distant future.
There’s a sense of joy when you play games like Super Mutant Alien Assault. The appeal is the gratification of unlocking content in the game. But more than that, when you die after trying your hardest, you still made progress. Progress that rewards the player for playing the game has always been a leading feature that has made people invest so much time, and find so much enjoyment, in rogue-like games.
Being a fairly quick game to pick-up and play makes Super Mutant Alien Assault a great title for casual play, which is perfect for a day in busy modern life.
Super Mutant Alien Assault left Early Access on Steam on the 12th of July and became an official game. Furthermore, the game was officially released not just on PC but on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.