Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 1
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Welcome to Presidents vs. Aliens, a game that combines two of America's greatest pastimes: politicians and kicking alien butt, a combination that led to Independence Day becoming a smash hit. The goal of the game is to launch a president's head into the sky to hit the aliens on the playing field, trying to clear them all out. Now, the way to get presidents' heads to launch at the aliens is by answering multiple-choice questions about presidential facts, like who was in office when certain events in American history occurred, what party they were in, or to identify the presidents by their portrait alone. Only then can the presidents be used to take out the aliens. Getting three questions in a row correct grants use of a powerup, such as Alien Infection, where aliens that are hit can be used to take out other aliens; Triple President, which launches three presidents at once; and Zero Gravity, which is exactly what it says on the tin.
The concept is really entertainingly ridiculous and is never quite explained why presidents have to be launched against aliens, so just sit back and enjoy it. The game improves on the similarly-structured Stack the Countries in terms of progression; with fewer presidents to collect, as well as puzzles that progress in difficulty, the experience is focused. This isn't just a physics puzzle game, either; the facts about the presidents are legitimately interesting and educational. I know far more about Franklin Pierce than I did entering this game. Combine this with the fun alien-busting gameplay, along with the two bonus modes unlocked, and this is an intriguing game.
Presidents vs. Aliens has pretty much no failure; granted, this is meant to be an edutainment game, and one that kids would play, but there's just absolutely nothing pushing for efficient play. Perhaps a star system or limited number of tries per level would help this aspect of the game out. Again, this is a game that kids will play, and the goal is education as much as entertainment, so preventing frustration from failure is an important goal, but it just feels like with some kind of ability to fail, the game would be more interesting.
Presidents vs. Aliens is solid edutainment. It's far more fun than any social studies class I ever took, that's for sure! This one's a good choice for the young, and the young at heart, so they can learn while they defeat evil aliens.