Posts Tagged Aliens Versus Humans

Even with the iOS release of XCom: Enemy Unknown rapidly approaching, some may find the wait unbearable. Playing the original release on Mac, PC, 360, or PS3 is certainly an option but if you’re specifically looking to fill the gap on your iOS device (or simply want to play something similar on the go) then today’s your lucky day. We’ve got a list of seven different iOS titles that ought to scratch that itch until Firaxis makes it official. Keep in mind they don’t all offer the same exact X-Com experience, but they do all evoke a similar feel for various reasons.

aliensvshumans03Aliens versus Humans is definitely the list’s most faithful to the early X-Com series. Skyrangers and Interceptors are MIA but there’s still plenty of that good old back-and-forth between base management and turn-based firefights. New technologies such as advanced weapons and armors can be researched and produced and soldiers can acquire marginal improvements if they survive a number of missions, too. It’s the closest thing to playing UFO Defense on your iOS device that you’re likely going to find for a good long while.

hunterstwo07Hunters 2 shares quite a few key similarities with early X-Com games, but it’s not a 1:1 likeness. Many key elements are here; such as hidden enemy movement, soldiers that level up and learn new skills individually, customizable loadouts, and needing to keep an eye on action points (i.e. Time Units). That said it’s also its own game with an emphasis on combat over management, daily missions to complete for extra credits in addition to the campaign, and a much smaller (but elite) team to control that prevent the stages from overstaying their welcome.

tacticalsoldierTactical Soldier – Undead Rising is another close comparison to the older X-Com series. It’s zombies instead of aliens, and it’s all about the skirmishes with little in the form of resource management, but it’s definitely rocking that tactical vibe. Stylistically it’s very reminiscent of getting a squad of rookies killed before they even step off the Skyranger, and there’s a big focus on each soldier progressing individually with better stats and abilities.

wesnothBattle for Wesnoth might use orcs and elves instead of aliens and space marines, but it still manages to capture some of that classic X-Com magic. Mostly it’s because your soldiers can be leveled up individually and sport their own names, but it’s also just a very rewarding strategy game. One with a ridiculous amount of campaigns to play through and factions to control.

frozensynapse05Frozen Synapse doesn’t require any base management. It doesn’t have named soldiers that can individually tweaked. There aren’t any aliens. And yet, most missions in this simultaneous turn-based strategy game feel quite a bit like X-Com. Your soldiers are just as susceptible to bullets are your enemies, and losing even one can have a huge impact on your strategy and chances for success. There’s also the added intensity of planning each move, right down to the little details like which direction a soldier will aim. That in itself isn’t so nerve-wracking but having to decide what to do without knowing what your opponent is planning (and vice-versa) can be just as harrowing as being down to your last rookie and knowing that final (you hope) Sectoid is close by.

starcommandStar Command is a bit similar to Frozen Synapse in that its strategy is more reactionary. Rather than trying to lure enemies to key positions you need to think fast and get your crew out of harms way while simultaneously trying to avoid getting your ship scrapped and trying to blast your opponent’s vessel. There’s nothing turn-based about it but the combat can be every bit as lethal and death is just as permanent. Of course it’s possible to reload an earlier game in order to save a downed crew member, but that sort of goes against the spirit of it all.

rebuild07Rebuild might appear to be the least X-com-like game at first glance, but it’s actually just as valid as every other title on this list. Instead of capturing the feeling of a desperate struggle to keep your squad alive, it captures the feeling of a desperate struggle to plan ahead and manage resources well enough to prevent total annihilation. In essence it’s more like the Geoscape than the battlefield. Carefully taking control of various buildings, divvying out salvaged weapons and clothing, and assigning roles that best fit each survivor’s skillset are all essential to not ending up like every pocket of humanity always does in a George Romero movie.

Favorite 4: Games that can Save Anywhere

Anyone who takes the bus, train, or subway to work has had this problem at least a few times: You’re in the middle of a game and before you know it you’ve arrived at your stop. You hurriedly close out the game, turn off the screen, stuff the iPhone into your pocket and bolt out the door. Once you have a moment to start it back up you realize that your progress has been wiped. Bummer. If only there were some iOS games that allowed players to save whenever they wanted!

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
Ascension was quite honestly the first deck-building game I’d ever played, and it totally made me fall in love with the concept. I also fell in love with the way it saves all the time. No prompts and no menus to browse. The game automatically saves progress at the start of each hand, and it can do so for multiple games whether they’re solo or against other players.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-30 :: Category: Games

Solitaire by Backflip
I’ll admit that most solitaire iOS games will keep track of a player’s progress at all times, but I like Backflip’s offering so that’s what I’ve decided to go with. Again, there’s no need to do anything in order to save a game and come back to it later. Simply exit the game and the next time it’s started up things will be just as you left them; most likely a step or two away from failure and needing to start another round.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-08-18 :: Category: Games

Aliens Versus Humans
It’s an homage to one of the greatest strategy games of all time, and it faithfully reproduces many of the mechanics that even the new contemporary remake has done away with. But more important than that – and the sheer enjoyment of fending off an alien attack without losing a single soldier – it allows players to save their game at any time. Whether they’re in the middle of a mission or on the Geoscape, opening up the options menu and quickly saving progress is always an option. Reloading after getting a soldier named after loved one killed is also just as fast.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-11-24 :: Category: Games

Junk Jack
Aside from the fantastic art style and clever adaptation of the block/world-building ideas popularized by Minecraft, Junk Jack also brings constant saving to the table. Pausing the game saves progress. Quitting the game saves progress. It does prevent reloading after losing some favored items or getting killed, but it also makes hopping off the bus or train in a hurry far less detrimental.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-11-07 :: Category: Games

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).

Aliens Versus Humans Review

Aliens Versus Humans Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Aliens Versus Humans is the closest thing iOS users have to THE classic sci-fi strategy game, but it doesn't quite cover all the bases.

Read The Full Review »
    Advertisement    





Featured Apps

    Advertisement    


Categories

Developers

Would you like your application reviewed on 148Apps? See the About page for information.
    Advertisement    



Steel Media Network

148Apps - iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.
http://148apps.com :: @148Apps

Android Rundown - Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown

Best App Ever - Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver

Pocket Gamer - Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer

Pocket Gamer.biz - Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz

AppSpy - iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy