Cows vs Aliens, the happy uber-casual game about shoving cows, recently received an update that brings Game Center integration and makes the game a universal app. Game Center integration is always appreciated, particularly in high-score games like this, but making the app universal is a particularly smart move.
On the iPad, Cows vs Aliens allows up to 11 (count ‘em, 11) finger inputs. What does that mean? It means you and your buddies and family and frenemies can play co-op, gathering around a single iPad and working together to shove all the cows into the barn. Or, if you want to get creative, you could select one person to be a mole and work against everybody else.
Unfortunately, the iPad version is just the iPhone one blown up, so the blue circles appear extra big on the screen. If you’re playing alone, this is terrific. But if several people have multiple fingers on the screen at once, there’s simply not enough room for all those blue circles. It’d be great to see them add an option that lets you shrink the circles if you’re playing with multiple people on an iPad.
Still, Cows vs Aliens is a fun game, and the new additions only make it a better deal.
As far as uber-casual iPhone games go, Cows Vs Aliens is a fairly typical affair. It’s cute, silly, easy to pick up and play, and it’s over before you know it. The key to making this type of game work is to inject it with whatever magic it is that makes people want to try again and again when they fail. Whatever that quality is, Cows Vs Aliens has it.
There’s not much to the game. When you start, cows begin crowding onto the screen from the bottom, and you need to nudge them into a barn at the top of the screen. Sounds pretty easy, right? There are three catches. First, your nudging tools are big clunky blue rings that encircle your finger when you touch the screen. Second, aliens in space ships also crowd in with the cows, and if you let one of them into the barn, it’s game over. And lastly, a timer that ticks down when you’re not herding cows into the barn, and when it gets to zero, you’re toast.
These things must breed like rabbits.
So the game consists of you using the big blue circles as best you can to herd the cows into the barn, and to shoo the aliens off the cliffs on either side of the screen. The more cows you force in at a time, the higher your score multiplier becomes. One cool thing is that you can use up to five fingers at a time to get the job done, assuming you can fit them comfortably on the screen.
As you progress, more cows and aliens come onto the screen, and the aliens get ever more slippery the longer you stay alive. When your round ends, as it inevitably will, your score is sent to Game Center, where you can go to see how you compare against your friends and the wider world.
That’s all there is to it. Cows Vs Aliens isn’t a revolutionary game, but for what it is, it’s a lot of fun. It employs an intuitive control interface that’s fun to use on its own, and it couples that with addictive high-score gameplay. If you have a few minutes to kill, do your part to fend off those pesky aliens.