When you wipe out a stage full of aliens in Bulkypix’s Soldier vs. Aliens, you’re given the option of heading back into the fight to “mop up” any remaining levels you didn’t clear the first time. This word choice seems appropriate, because cleaning up aliens in this game and earning enough money to buy decent weapons feels like a chore.
Because Soldier vs. Aliens is a freemium download, you start out with practically nothing. No soldier should head into battle as underpowered and outmanned as the hero in this game. You start with an extremely weak machine gun, which can barely pierce the shell of the simplest crawling aliens. Plus, it overheats almost immediately after you start pulling the trigger.
Lime Jello-based life forms.
The idea of Soldier vs. Aliens is to save up enough in-game cash to buy upgrades for your weapons. Eventually, you can unlock a shotgun, plasma gun, flamethrower, and gattling gun, or purchase one-time grenades and auto-turrets. But instead of giving you a steady supply of gold so that you feel properly equipped for each battle, Soldier vs. Aliens cheaps out, forcing you to pay for in-app purchases, repeat levels, or earn gold through Tapjoy offers. Being asked to buy an American Baby magazine subscription or sign up for the AARP in order to kill aliens is absurd.
Assuming you want to play the actual game to advance, you’ll be forced to fight through some of the same levels several times. At least the controls in Soldier vs. Aliens are intuitive– you just swipe up and down to position your soldier, and press on the screen to aim and fire. However, we would have preferred the option to control our soldier’s movement with a virtual D-pad, so we didn’t have to keep moving our hands around the screen during a heated firefight.
Get away from her, you…
We’ve seen gameplay like this before on the App Store. A few years ago, we reviewed Alien Crisis, which unfortunately is no longer available to purchase. That game was challenging, but it didn’t require you to spend additional money, repeat levels, watch ads, or sign up for special offers just to play it all the way through.
By comparison, Soldier vs. Aliens feels uninspired. The graphics are passable, but not extraordinary, and the repetitive gameplay made us cringe. There’s an easy way for the developers to fix this– just offer more gold for completing a level, and stop pushing so hard for IAP and unrelated paid offers. Soldier vs. Aliens’ familiar gameplay formula isn’t inherently bad, but the experience isn’t friendly to players who just want to have fun blasting aliens, and not feel like they’re constantly having their wallet invaded.