Picture this: You’re just a farmer tending to your crops when suddenly, a UFO swoops in and takes you away from the peaceful life you know and have come to enjoy. That’s what happened to Moe; however, unlike us, Moe is not from our world. His world no longer exists, as the UFO managed to bring him aboard just in time to save him from a planet-smashing asteroid, making him the last of his kind. So, what happens now?
Along with fellow aliens Barry and Marvin, you go to Earth and answer questions about geography. Uh… sure! Whatever passes the time, right?
Okay, so the game at least dresses it up as a “quest for knowledge and wisdom,” which is better than saying “this is an educational game; play it to become smarter.”
“Can’t we just go cruising for chicks…?”
So that’s your basic premise, as a flying saucer takes you down into Earth orbit and highlights different countries across the globe. Three flags are displayed with the names of their countries, and it’s up to you to determine which they’ve highlighted in ten seconds, your point bonus depleting all the while (good luck trying to get the full 100, even if you know the answer). Successfully guess five and you complete the round, but you lose one life for each miss– one of the three aliens’ lives, at that, as they get electrocuted, blown up, or cartoonishly mutilated in other ways.
Fortunately, even if you miss three guesses, it’s not a stressful affair as you can restart from the round where you left off. In addition, guessing is fairly easy, as they generally don’t pile on a bunch of choices from the same region together. In other words, if you don’t think Mexico is in the middle of western Europe, you’ll probably be all right. The only real irritation is listening to Marvin’s sobbing when one of his friends gets vaporized; why is he always the last to die, anyway?
But you can help prevent their fates by paying attention, as the rotation of countries in each round seems limited and fixed, and you’ll likely be able to remember where you screwed up easily enough. A worst-case scenario sees you miss two while you have three aliens, which means you’re guaranteed to get at least one right.
There is also a “Flags – Free Mode,” which is just like the Level Mode, except you have one set of lives and you’re out to last as long as you can. The downside here is that you cannot earn stars in this mode.
Where women glow and men plunder.
In Level Mode, you can earn up to three stars for each successful completion of one of its 32 levels, and your accumulated stars will unlock other modes, including the “Escape” game. Escape is basically an endless runner game in which you take control of Moe and run, jump on or over robots, collecting coins, and dodging lasers and traps. Once you have enough coins and pass certain points, you can even take up a blaster to slag some ‘bots.
This mode is fun, though there doesn’t seem to be much story to it– is Moe making a break for it, trying to get way from his psychotic geography teacher? Something else? It’s still a bit of fun, though the music had a tendency to cut in and out when we were playing, and turning it off entirely just makes it a little less engaging somehow. In addition, some of the jumps seem questionable, and even the jump button itself seems less responsive than you need it to be at points.
Other modes include a Wikipedia-powered library, which displays the flags of countries you’ve correctly guessed and see their location, population, and other stats. Then there are the “Math” and “Quotes” games, neither of which were available for this review.
Overall, Aliens Abducted is a fun educational diversion. It’s probably better for kids than adults, though grown-ups can probably learn a thing or two from it as well, or even just test themselves. Aliens Abducted isn’t especially deep, but it’s good at what it does.