The flash gods at Newgrounds decided one day that all this gaming business was sounding very sexy to them. So they went to the drawing board, got to work, and made Alien Hominid. A 2D side-scrolling shoot-em-up involving you, an alien from a planet never explained, going around various locales and shooting everything to death. There’s not heavy plot, no learning curves to weigh it down and no moral choices or grit you find in these modern young whippersnapper games. It’s a balls to the walls throwback to the days of the arcade; the bleep bloop of those age old machines. It’s a masterpiece.
What Alien Hominid managed to do was invent an already invented formula. It took the principles of age old shooters such as Metal Slug, Contra and even a little bit of Smash TV and manages to grind them all through a cheese grater. On top of the big crust of 2D shoot-em-up dough, we have also got a heap of meaty humour, a huge dollop of stylistic sauce. Yeah I bet your mouth is watering right now. Once you take a slice out of this action, you’ve got to keep coming back for more. You keep biting and chewing until you eat it all up and become overweight. You’ve gorged yourself and all it has to offer. It’s gone. But boy was it tasty.
What I’m getting at with this metaphor is that Alien Hominid is a short game, but a hell of a game. The Newgrounds team’s recent lovechild, Castle Crashers, is over ten hours long but Hominid stretches at a mere 4 hours and around near the end, you start to get a bit bored. The nostalgic overtone of a throwback to the arcades washes away at some point and from then on it’s kind of grinding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an entertaining, beautifully designed game and even the final boss had me breaking my thumbs over sheer awesomeness. It’s just, the flair sort of runs out.
If you don’t know what Alien Hominid is then you might as well go hide back under the rock you’ve been living under. It’s a 2D stylistic shoot ’em up in which you shoot stuff and maybe gain a few power-ups to shoot stuff differently. You can jump in the air and control the FBI agents who come at you, by grappling on their heads and covering their eyes with your extraterrestrial paws. You can stab the agents, you can get in a tank and blow them up. One level has you racing on a motorway, shooting your ray gun out of a car window, having to jump out of it as it explodes. You have to dive into car after exploding car, it reminds me of the same similar sequence in Uncharted 2.
Alien Hominid is a fun, arcade and bare balls title. It’s not for everyone, people who like like deep games and actual structure will be lost here. But for those with a sense of humour, and a little bit of feeling that gaming is getting a bit too dark and grim, that it’s lost its colour pallet, should all turn to this gem. You can find it now on the Xbox Live Arcade for something something points, and also pick it up for the PS2 or age old Xbox. Find it, play it, beat it and then lie back in awe at something so simple yet so smart. The gods at Newgrounds have made what gaming needs right now. Fun.