Alien: Blackout was a controversial game when announced. Instead of a direct continuation of Alien: Isolation, it presents itself as a mobile spinoff covering one step on Amanda Ripley’s journey home. She’s stuck aboard a Weyland Yutani research station overrun by xenomorphs, and unable to act on her own. Instead, she has to rely upon the four new arrivals answering a distress beacon. Each of your allies has a full story arc and presents an asset to your escape, but they can also be snuffed out just as easily. You see, Alien: Blackout isn’t here to play around – it’s a true Alien simulator.
Alien: Blackout captures the same essence as Until Dawn, gamifying classic horror staples in a way we haven’t truly experienced before.
Unlike Isolation, Alien: Blackout relies on abstraction to bring the horror to life. Crammed inside an airduct, you have to guide your new friends via security displays and limited security cameras. Worse still, your battery is on an eight minute timer, and you can’t fully control the systems of any branch of the station. You have to make do with extremely limited resources and feedback, sometimes going off of the survivor’s reactions as the mission proceeds. What’s a relief is that exploring Alien: Blackout to the fullest doesn’t require substantial time investment once you get the hang of it’s controls. Clocking in at around forty-five minutes, the main incentivize is to replay the story and experience different endings, including with everyone surviving at the end.
In this way, Alien: Blackout captures the same essence as Until Dawn, gamifying classic horror staples in a way we haven’t truly experienced before. There’s elements of Five Nights at Freddy’s, Lost Vikings, and even some elements of Alien: Isolation‘s gameplay, such as hiding in lockers and careful use of the motion sensor. The new format doesn’t take away any tension or challenge, ensuring you’ll have plenty to scream at. This is bolstered by fantastic audio-visual design. From the creepy walk of the xenomorph to Amanda Ripley’s despairing breaths, the geniuses behind The Detail and the Thief of Thieves game are at it again.
My only complaint is that the controls are less than ideal on smaller smart phones. This is a game you want to be playing on a tablet, or if you have luckier results than me, BlueStacks. Above all else though, Alien: Blackout is a breath of fresh air in a marketplace full of freemium games that pile on hours of grinding and mountains of microtransactions. Instead, it’s a reasonably priced, highly polished, focused experience that you absolutely need to have on your phone.
|A reminder that mobile games can be more than one-touch platformers and match-three puzzlers, Alien: Blackout is the console quality experience mobile gamers deserve.||Steep learning curve, and best played on a tablet rather than phone.|
Alien: Blackout ($4.99, App Store) →
Alien: Blackout ($0.99, Google Play) →