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Genre: Action :: Players: 1 :: Released: 14/7/09

UFO: Afterlight Review

Publisher: GlobalFun :: Developer: Pixalon Studios

Pros

Game Features

Rating/100

Hugely addictive TBS game
Massive
Interesting plot

Cons

Finite set of troops
No save mid level
AI is tough!

See Compatible Handsets

92

Graphics

89

Sound

93

Controls

90

Playability

92

Lastability

96

Review Details
Handset Sony-Ericsson K800i
Time Played 5 hours
Game Progress Mission 14 (13 was hard!!)

Anannya Sen’s Review

Review Date: 16/7/09

The new Ancient Empires?


It obviously says a lot about this game that it's gone 1am, I have to work tomorrow and I'm still playing it. Of course, it could be that I have no life but cut me a little slack.

UFO Afterlight is a turn based strategy game or TBS to those in the industry. Actually I think we coined that term here at MGFS! Anyway, it's based on the 3rd game in the hit PC series which I've never played or even heard of (it's console all the way baby!). Anyway, it seems similar to those games like Dune or Command and Conquer in that you have to collect resources and fight off aliens.

Not so in the mobile version. Yes, there are things to be collected, for sure, but the developers have stuck to a basic format of wander around and get into battles. Now the battle getting isn't quite as random as Finaly Fantasy, and there are a set number of battles in each level. Wander around enough and pretty soon you'll see the cut to man in big space suit with big gun which will remind you very much of Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

Finish the battle and you may well have unlocked new weapons and elements of research aiding you in your battles. For battle you must, as the human race has been subjugated on Mars and must vanquish the grip of tyranny. As the very interesting plot progresses you will fight all manner of creatures from aliens, to robots (who don't seem to obey Asimov's three laws) to big worm and crab like creatures. Still, they should all fall before the might of a laser rifle.

The TBS element is well thought out. You have to pick a team of 4 for each mission and every time they survive their stats increase. So too do your other team members who didn't go on the mission, but not as much. Once you have decided on who's going, you can select your primary weapon, secondary item and armour. As you progress through the game more powerful weapons and armour will get unlocked and while much improved in some areas they may be restrictive in terms of weight and firing distance.

So in addition to choosing your rifle or laser of choice you can also outfit your troops with a secondary item such as a type of sword (great for the close up kill and can do more damage than a gun), a health pack (plenty of missions where you will need these) or grenades (limited supply of 4). Each of the enemies are vulnerable to different things and each mission has different objectives so you have to choose the items wisely. For instance if you need to assault a structure, the heaviest armour will do, but if you are repelling invaders, it might be more useful to select armour which periodically heals you.

Like other TBS games, the terrain makes a difference. Specifically things to hide behind. Rocks and metal will allow you decent cover and the ability to shoot back (although detracting a little from your accuracy). Shrubs and cans are good cover but they can be destroyed (and in the case of some cans they can blow up, damaging whoever is around). So choose your cover wisely. And for the final choosing of the wisely phrase, the placement of your troops in relation to each other is very important. You don't want one of your troops to be in the line of fire and get hit by friendly fire, now do you. We aren't American soldiers after all (sorry, cheap shot there).

So with all these things to think about the game gets pretty complex. On each turn you have a highlighted area you can move to and a choice of 3 actions. Shoot, use your secondary item (weapon or health) or defend. The last one does have a strategic element as you will hold your position and automatically return fire. So if an enemy takes two hits to kill, you might want to defend until he fires at you. You will get off a free shot (and start praying it hits) and then it will be your turn again. Hopefully that should be enough to finish him off.

The missions are pretty varied, although all of them are about combat. The playing area isn't that large and there's plenty of terrain to keep you thinking. Oh, and one advantage that I forgot to mention, as Lex Luthor said, quoting Alexander the Great "always seize the high ground". As the plot progresses you also have choices to make on whether to do certain things or allow certain things in between missions. It certainly is entertaining. If that wasn't enough, the graphics are great, if a little condensed, but the sound is brilliant. Speech effects, screams and decent background music throughout. This is a great example of how sound shouls be done in a mobile game.

So what are my criticisms of the game? Well, for one the instructions are a little brief. Some of the nuances I picked up myself. And it took me a while to figure out how to change weapons and items (press fire on your selected character). The levels can be very tough sometimes so you may well find yourself replaying them. It's a bit disappointing you can't save mid level as some of them take a good 20 minutes to finish. Making the game even tougher is the fact that you have a set number of characters to choose from. The human race doesn't have too many people left and when your troops die during the level they aren't selectable any more. This makes it imperative to finish the level without any deaths so one false move and you might as well restart. I lost 3 in one level before I figured this out!! And finally I guess it can be very frustrating when your team shoots nowhere near where you are aiming, even if the enemy isn't that far away. Of course, conversely, when you do land a good hit with something way on the other side of the screen you do feel a sense of satisfaction.

Speaking of which, I got a huge sense of it from playing this game. At first I thought it was a really simple TBS game, but as the levels progressed and the choices increased, I found myself really getting into it. The tough AI didn't put me off either nor did having finite troops. In fact it made me even more determined to keep playing the levels until I made it through them with zero body count. To this end I have been playing this game constantly since I started it. Even after writing this I will probably have a quick go to get a feel for the next level. Because just when we thought TBS games were dead in the water, something really decent comes along to knock you out of your reverie.

If you like TBS games then this is definitely a must have for your phone, it will keep you entertained for ages. Great graphics, stunning sound and horribly addictive gameplay. It's been a while since we've given an ice cold, but it thoroughly deserves it.