It Came From Space And Ate Our Brains is a twin-stick arcade shooter that puts you in the shoes of the world’s greatest alien slayer fighting off the hordes of intergalactic invaders who are here to eat your brain!
All in! Games’ insane top-down shooter is truly a testament to the genre. Its blocky graphics lend themselves perfectly to the aesthetic the neons give you, and its gameplay is easy to pick up and a joy to play. It’s rewarding enough to keep you going but lacks that little something that truly makes it stand out from the rest.
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Graphically, It Came From Space is a bright feast for your eyes.
I wouldn’t compare It Came From Space to Minecraft, exactly… But it is blocky. This is in no way a bad thing, though! It just means that it doesn’t become as visually overwhelming as it could when the proverbial shit is hitting your alien-slaying fan. With a lot of the levels being in greyscale, the game expertly juxtaposes quiet, colorless moments with bright action. This makes the title a lovely game to look at. Its neon aesthetic is also perfectly accompanied by an exciting techno-synth soundtrack which only helps to cultivate the tension set by the gameplay.
Throughout, your player character always has a torch equipped in one hand and his weapon in the other. The torch itself lends itself well to the overall look of the game. I find that games with this lighting system in play are instantly more dramatic. You feel much more in control when you quite literally control what you see via the torchlight. Furthermore, this makes the shadows feel darker than they are and allows the aliens more opportunities to sneak up on you!
One feature which I think It Came From Space is currently missing is the option for customization. I admit I wasn’t too focused on the appearance of the player character during all the chaos. There can be a lot going on at times. However, the option for customizing your character is always welcome. It just helps you immerse yourself further in the experience, in my opinion. Not only this, but it makes you feel more in control; it helps to make you feel more included in things. Unfortunately, It Came From Space doesn’t offer you this. Although I do admit that the character I was playing as was pretty badass for an intergalactic alien slayer…
It Came From Space does twin-shooters well but doesn’t revolutionize the genre…
This game is very simple, to put it bluntly. It’s a twin-stick shooter at its core, and it does this extremely well. There’s a “sprint” feature that offers you a short speed boost, which is a nice little addition, but I found this acted more as a dodging technique. Other than that, though… The game does not bring anything new to the genre through the way it plays.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Its simple gameplay complements its simple graphics and makes it the perfect game to pick-up-and-play.
One thing I did think as I was playing is that it doesn’t offer much longevity as a game. It has six Campaign missions and a handful of survival stages… But that’s it. These survival stages aren’t even endless, from what I can tell. When I played on Medium difficulty, I found myself surviving to the end. Not only was this a shame, as I only had enough to upgrade one gun to its max, but I also found this negates the High Score aspect of the game.
The fact that there is an end to the Survival mode would mean that there is, at some point, a finite high score that cannot be topped. I find myself preferring scoring systems which count the number of waves survived over the high score achieved. This didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the game, but it didn’t improve it, either. I simply did not care about my high score, in truth.
There’s a basic premise to the game but not much else.
In terms of a plot, It Came From Spaceand Ate Our Brains pretty much sums up the majority of what you get. The mysterious alien species has landed on Earth and is trying to eat your brain. That’s it. It’s not too complicated, but it’s enough for the type of game it is. You don’t need much else, really.
The Campaign mode doesn’t contain dialogue or cutscenes, so a lot of the story you have to assume and make-up yourself. This is pretty fun and doesn’t hinder your enjoyment of the game at all. Rather than fighting waves in an enclosed area in Survival, the Campaign has you moving through levels with some degree of an objective.
Primarily, the objective is to reach the next safe house. To get there, though, you have to activate and interact with various objects and overcome a number of destructible barriers. This helps to simulate a sense of story and plot within each level, but it still leaves each experience open-ended enough for you to have your own input.
I find co-op games like this don’t need a lot of plot influence though. When playing Ghost Recon: Wildlands with my friends, for example, we found that we weren’t paying much attention to the story that was unfolding. This was due to the fact we were all talking with one another throughout and joking around. A game like It Came From Space would almost definitely suffer a similar fate if its story was more concrete and overbearing. It would arguably get in the way of the experience.
Power-ups and upgrades bring variety to an otherwise simple game.
The thing that gives It Came From Space it’s footing in the crowded world of top-down twin-sticks is its weapon upgrade system and power-ups. Admittedly, when looking at the genre without these… It’s hard to make a dent. The genre itself is so simple that you’d have to do something truly incredible to truly stand out. Thankfully, though, we have weapon upgrades and power-ups to play with.
It Came From Space has six base weapons; this includes a rocket launcher, which is by far the most hilarious to use. Each weapon subsequently has four levels you can upgrade it to. These cost a lot in comparison to buying another weapon, but I found that this is the best way of maximizing damage.
On top of this, there’s also a whole host of power-ups that you can use to help you out of a tight spot. Health packs, shields, and mines all lend you a helping hand defensively. Currency drops, automated turrets, and ethereal laser beams from the sky help you fight back. It’s a nice balance that helps to keep the gameplay from getting stale.
It Came From Space is an alien-slaying experience best played with friends!
Unfortunately, due to a busted controller, I had to play alone. Don’t get me wrong though; it was fun. Really good fun, actually. I didn’t have too much trouble surviving when I did play, either, but despite all this, it is obvious that this game would be much better enjoyed as a Co-Op experience. It Came From Space is not exactly a party game in the same way Gang Beasts or Overcooked would bring a competitive spirit to game night, but it is definitely one where playing with others would help it to thrive. There is a lot of chaos when playing alone, but with another person contributing to the neon explosions and tight escapes… You can imagine that it would be a sight to behold.
All in! Games’ top-down shooter was released on Windows and macOS in 2015 but has recently made the jump to consoles. If you’re looking for more Co-Op fun during the lockdown, check out Save Your Nuts and Tools Up! with these reviews. This review was done on an Xbox One. For more of the latest gaming news, reviews, features, and more follow @GamezoGG and check out Gamezo.co.uk!