Alien Shooter TD is a tower defence game set in the Alien Shooter game world. You’re a commander in charge of Earth’s defence forces as you try to wipe out the invading alien threat. You’re given command of SWAT, marines and various specialist military units, and with these paltry few you have to save the planet.
Developer: Sigma Team
Publisher: Sigma Team
Genre: Tower Defense
Release date: 13th of January, 2017
Type: Single Player
The game is played from a 3/4 top down view. Graphics look nice when zoomed out, but become a bit blurry and pixelated when you zoom right in. You’ll spend most of the time zoomed out anyway.
The interface is fairly pretty and easy to use once you get the hang of a few intricacies. The tutorial shows you most of the functions and you can work out everything else fairly easily after that.
There are no graphics options to speak of; only full screen / windowed mode (requiring a restart of the game, for some reason), and an option to turn blood green. Performance-wise the game ran fine on my new gaming laptop, even with hordes of nasty alien scum on screen at once.
Sound is workable but nothing too exciting. Gun sounds are good and chittering alien death is satisfying. Music is forgettable but unassuming.
The core gameplay in Alien Shooter TD is the same as every other tower defence game: place towers in set positions on the relatively small battle map in order to try to wipe out the aliens that travel along set routes. In the case of Alien Shooter TD, the towers are actually troops of different types, but the principle is the same.
In this game most levels have relatively few placement areas on the map and there are only seven different troop types in all (with only one available to begin with), so your choices are sometimes quite limited. But you’re shown the path the aliens will take in each wave and units can be upgraded with training and skill trees, as well as improved weapons, so there’s a surprisingly broad scope for trying out different tactics and some reward for replaying levels you’ve already beaten.
Placing a unit costs a certain amount of level cash, which is very limited. Replenishing ammunition for a unit also costs level cash, so on each level you need to balance the number of units you have against their ongoing ammo costs. Trained units cost the same as untrained ones, but giving better weapons to units increases both their base placement cost and their ammo restock cost, so it can actually be a good tactic to enter a mission with a low-priced weapon as well as a more powerful expensive one. You earn level cash throughout each mission: a certain amount for each alien you kill, with more powerful aliens awarding more cash on a kill. So far I’ve found that each level is basically won or lost in the first thirty seconds, as this is when money is tightest. After your initial placements you’ll know if they’re successful, in which case you’ll kill all the aliens and have considerably more money to spend on more units and ammunition, or you won’t kill the aliens, and you’ll be out of ammo and lose the level.
Each level rewards you with campaign cash based on your performance. You even earn cash for failed missions, which is great; I hate feeling as though I’ve wasted quarter of an hour on a failed mission for no reward. Campaign cash has no bearing on the money you have available on each level. Instead, it can be used to unlock new troop types or train your existing troops, making them more powerful and unlocking skill points to spend on the skill tree for each unit type. Most of these skills are simply better range or damage, or more ammo, but some skills are new abilities, like the grenade launcher your automatic-weapon-wielding marines can acquire.
On some levels supply crates can be found, too. Shoot these (repeatedly — they have a lot of hit points!) to gain a weapon on successful mission completion. You can also spend cash on supply crates between missions, if you have any to spare after purchasing and training your troops. The weapons from the crates are random but the better the crate type the more likely you are to get a unique or legendary weapon.
The game includes 35 standard levels, each playable on four difficulty levels, as well as some survival missions where your goal is to survive as many waves as possible. Each of the three basic difficulty levels on each mission rewards you a bronze, silver, or gold star, depending on your performance, with cash bonuses accompanying each. I’ve played for a little over three hours and I’m only about a third of the way through the standard missions so far and I’ve had to repeat some of them a few times to earn the gold star. I’m also nowhere near maxed out in upgrades for even one of the seven troop types, so there’s a fair bit of game time here, particularly if you’re an achievement hunter, as some of the included Steam achievements are pretty difficult.
+ Good advancement model, with troop training and skills as well as weapon improvements and upgrades
+ Clever game balance due to increased cost of placement and ammunition restocks for troops with better weapons
+ Mines, dynamite, and drones add another ‘last-ditch’ option
+ Fairly good graphics; easy-to-use interface
+ Automatic ammunition reload option is a useful addition
+ Quite a bit of game here
+ Steam achievements and trading cards
– Only seven types of troops
– Not a lot of variation in alien types
– Can get repetitive after an hour or two at a time, but easy to get back into again.
Alien Shooter TD is a solid addition to the relatively crowded tower defence genre. The game world is fairly uninspired, but the inclusion of clever balancing between unit, weapon and ammunition costs, as well as weapon upgrades and skill trees, makes for plenty of improvements to keep you playing.
If you haven’t played a TD game before then this one is a reasonable place to start, and if you have, then Alien Shooter TD is a pretty good place to get your fix.