Hands on: Alien Breed Evolution

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Hands on: Alien Breed Evolution
When I saw that Team 17's upcoming Alien Breed Evolution was playable at Microsoft's pre-PAX shindig, I leapt at the chance to try it out. As a huge fan of the Worms series, I really wanted to give Alien Breed Evolution a go. After spending a few minutes with the game -- which appeared to be the trial version of the XBLA game -- I have to admit I was disappointed. That's not to say it's bad, but it failed to elicit that instant 'click' of the Worms series.
Alien Breed Evolution is a twin stick shooter. Anyone familiar with the downloadable game scene knows the drill by now: Move with the left stick, aim with the right. Rather than offering players a constant stream of bullets, you'll have to pull the right trigger in order to shoot. That's a good thing, as all the weapons have limited ammo. Players find themselves faced with dozens of alien baddies and, naturally, are tasked with mowing them down. The demo offered a few different weapons to accomplish this, including an assault rifle, a pistol and, my personal favorite, a flamethrower. You can find grenades as well.

If all of this sounds a little familiar, it should. Furthermore, if Alien Breed Evolution has a hook to distinguish it from other similar action games, I didn't see it. There were a few things done differently, though. For example, players have to hold a button down for a few seconds to open a door or use a health pack. Obviously, this leaves you open to attack, so you have to choose your moments wisely. That said, the game felt very derivative. Open door, clear room of monsters, find key, open next door, repeat.

It's possible that PAX wasn't the ideal venue to demo the game. I wasn't able to try out the co-op mode, for instance, and whatever atmosphere the game has was lost in the noise of the event. Hopefully, playing the full game with friends is a more enjoyable experience, especially given the episodic plans for the game. Again, it's not that the game is bad but, given the constantly rising quality bar of downloadable titles, Alien Breed Evolution will have stiffer competition than it might have a year ago -- or even a few months ago.

Here's hoping that Team 17 can inject it with some of that Worms magic we all know and love.
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