These past few years, we’ve had no shortage of retro gaming throwbacks like Shovel Knight, where your enjoyment of the game directly correlated to how good you were at the game. The same fact is true in Super Mutant Alien Assault, except turned up to 11. Where Shovel Knight was focused more on the SNES-era of gamers, Super Mutant Alien Assault is more concerned on what I call the “OG gamer”, the ones who put their quarters up to the arcade cabinets in hopes to save their spots in line only to have their quarters stolen by the school jock. No? That’s only in movies? Well, that’s how I picture it anyway.
What really sets Super Mutant Alien Assault is — well — everything. It’s honestly quite that simple. From the moment you boot up the game, you’re greeted with a delightfully Transformers-esque intro cinematic that, even if Peter Cullen did a like-for-like recreation, I wouldn’t be to tell the difference. Furthermore, I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference if this was in my local “barcade”. This isn’t to its disadvantage…well, not entirely.
I worry that the game might be a little too rooted in gaming past for modern gamers like me to enjoy properly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this game, I just wish it adopted a more modern sense of difficulty seen in something like Dark Souls. You see, this game is hard, almost injustly so, for people of my age and gaming history. 8 times out of 10, I was frustrated at a missed shot or felt like I wasn’t prepared to face a boss. For someone like Chris, this is great news, as reflected in his review of the very same game on the very same platform. For me, this is a nightmare. Nothing is worse to me than when a game I genuinely enjoy makes me want to go bald over just how frustrating it is.
However, I do like the level of customization Super Mutant Alien Assault allows, especially like the Quick Start option, because I like a little bit of spice in life. Every time you start the game, you feel like you’re playing with a completely new strategy, which, if you only have one game to play a month or a year, the game gives you the most bang for your buck…literally.
Although, as I mentioned before, the controls are as floaty as they come. I also, in my playtime with SMAA, noticed quite a bit of lag to my input and some slowdown when things got hectic on screen.
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.