Alien Rage was able to grab me almost right away based on its visuals alone. For an indie shooter I was immediately impressed by the visuals and fluidity of the game's movement. There was even a really interesting fiction set up by a beautifully rendered opening video. Unfortunately, that luster didn’t hold up after playing the game for an extended period. I have always been a huge sci-fi fan and space themed games developed by small teams charm my tastes, so I am always willing to give anything in the genre a shot. While the game is a sound and competent shooter, there are just too many issues that hold it back from standing out in an over saturated genre.
Alien Rage feels like a multiplayer focused game with a single player build around it, both being optional gameplay options. The story involves the human colonization of a meteorite filled with precious minerals. At some point after, an alien species shows up to colonize with the humans and share the minerals. The peace however doesn’t last because the aliens suddenly destroyed the human miners. Your character is later sent in to assess the situation. The story set up is actually kind of interesting and there is potential for a fresh sci-fi series but the campaign never picks up, leaving you to desire much more. There isn’t a lot of writing but what is there is usually pretty bad. There is even a point when a boss character quotes "Scarface" in the worst way. The story only seems to exist to serve the environment and it’s unfortunate that more time wasn’t spent building a fiction.
The gameplay is your standard shooter format. You have guns and grenades used to take down hordes of enemies, although in this game hordes aren’t the case, Alien Rage seems more focused on close quarters combat. There are ten different guns in the game (human and alien) and are actually really fun to use. Next to the visuals the guns are maybe the best part of Alien Rage. Human weapons include assault rifles and shotguns, as well as their alien counterparts, but every gun has an alternate fire some of which are legitimately incredible the first time you use them. The titular aliens are pretty simple armored bipedals and nothing you haven’t seen over and over in a game like Halo but shooting them down feels satisfying enough. There isn’t much depth to the gameplay and no attempt at any kind of interesting hook either. It all just feels rather generic and when you’re making a shooter with less focus on story and more focus on gameplay, you should probably make sure that the gameplay is solid. Alien Rage fails to commit either way.
The multiplayer isn’t really a lot to brag home about either. It’s hard to tell how expansive it is because no one is really playing but all of the matches I played were maps that were a little too much of a maze and not enough encounters with actual players. When I actually found someone, that encounter lasted five seconds at most. One thing to note about Alien Rage is that you feel extremely fragile as a character. The campaign is brutally hard for this reason. You are given boosters that you can equip but that still didn’t stop me from getting completely frustrated from dying over and over again through the single player. The balance in this game feels way off and takes a lot of potential fun away from the player.
The visuals of Alien Rage are easily the best part. When I booted up the game the first time I was ready to give it five stars for the graphics alone! The game looks and feels like a throwback to the old Unreal Tournament days in its visual representation and speed. The game moves quickly and looks flashy doing so and if the gameplay matched then this could have been a great multiplayer shooter. The game is worth seeing but not exactly worth playing. There are some well realized space environments and a lot of bright and interesting lighting going on. The game has a flash futuristic look that I really enjoyed but it was really the only enjoyable thing about the game.
Aside from some well realized visuals, Alien Rage offers almost nothing new to the genre and is so difficult that even the single player is completely avoidable. There are some things that Alien Rage does right when it comes to the visuals and atmosphere (which are honestly fantastic) but for the things it does right, the gameplay is not one of them and it winds up just being a frustratingly unimpressive experience. There will be a small audience for this game I’m sure but most should just let this game pass them by.