When I first reviewed Aliens Versus Humans I found it to be full of promise, but the lack of a Geoscape and base maintenance of any kind sapped some of my enjoyment. What’s already there is great stuff, but in the back of my mind – and most likely in the back of everyone else’s – it just wasn’t the complete experience. However, Leisurerules has been hard at work since the initial release and are preparing to hit the App Store with their 2.0 update early next month. Just in time for XCOM: Enemy Unknown if all goes to plan. I’ve had the fortune of being able to check it out early, and I can honestly say it’s not going to disappoint.

So why is Aliens Versus Humans 2.0 special enough to warrant such attention? Because it’s essentially a totally different game. The original AvH missions are being sectioned off as “Training Missions,” while the real meat of the game has been designated “Onslaught.” In Onslaught players can expect the kind of portable X-COM experience they’ve always wanted. The Geoscape, ‘pedia, recruitment, research, staffing, manufacturing, and base construction (with multiple bases) is all present and accounted for. It’s practically perfect X-COM in all its immaculate and frustrating glory, only now you can play it whenever and wherever you want. And I helped.

Jim Coughley (coding, artwork, sound, music, testing), contacted me after my review of AvH had gone live, we had a brief back-and-forth regarding our mutual love of the original series and thoughts about what AvH could use in terms of various improvements, then before I knew it I was asked to help out as an advisor for future versions. In other words I take a look at various builds and offer feedback. According to Jim, this was largely due to my love of the series as well as the way I “…didn’t hold back in [my] comments and criticisms and [my] feedback came with sound reasoning…” And now I take a moment to blush (seriously). The lack of a Geoscape was a major (and fairly obvious) issue but we’ve also discussed smaller things like interface tweaks and menu layouts. As someone who loves video games, and especially X-COM, this has been an awesome and surreal experience all-around.

I’m obviously proud (and possibly a little biased) about how Aliens Versus Humans is turning out, but that shouldn’t keep you X-COM fans from checking it out. It really is fantastic and once the 2.0 update goes live it should fill that strategic alien-fighting gap quite nicely. But if you’re still not sure there’s always the free version, limited to early missions only and no Onslaught mode, to try out which is slated for the same release window as 2.0 (early October).

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