Genre: Action, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, mobile, X box One and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Beardy Bird Games | Ultimate Games
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: UK £7.19 | EU 7.99 | AUD $12.00 | CAD $10.57 | USD $7.99
Release Date: 27th May 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Ultimate Games
Waking From Another Coma
It seems to be becoming a another theme for me reviewing games with a similar premise. A while ago it was games where you play a cat, now I seem to be reviewing games about people waking up from comas. What’s next? Reviewing games about finding the perfect coffee? I wish. Well today we’re heading into space for a horror inspired game that occasionally likes to make reference to Alien and Star Trek. Lets get to it.
Zombies in Space
Aliment stars a bearded fellow who has awoken from a coma to discover all is not well on the ship. All the crew appear to have turned into murderous zombies. So you need to grab your gun and shoot your way through the hordes to find out the truth. As you move about the map your character will narrate his thoughts or talk to living allies. The text pops up as red or green in colour and is quite uncomfortable to read across the game’s background. The text would also sometimes pop up in rooms with enemies making it very hard to concentrate on both. Despite this I still enjoyed the final outcome of the story.
The progression of the game is very straight forward. Find a computer to open a locked door. Then repeat this several times until you finish the level, then do this all over again until the game ends. Each level has you navigate a maze like design, with a map on the top left of the screen to point you in the direction of the next door. When you enter rooms you kill all the zombies or robots then proceed to loot all the lockers where you can find weapons and upgrades. It all gets pretty repetitive pretty quick. Boss characters which are essentially standard enemies with enormous health bars occasionally appear, but they’re nothing special. So long as you have a strong weapon and lots of health you’ll always make it through. Occasionally you’ll encounter fellow allies who will aid you on your quest; this is a nice little feature except they often got caught in the environment and usually die in the rooms with lots of enemies.
The game hud is also unnecessarily cluttered. On the top left you have your map which is useful and the bottom right shows your weapon. But the right of the hud has these extra icons like a plus, a pause and gun symbol that serve no purpose at all. They feel like something left over from the mobile roots and just take up space.
Top Down Different
Aliment plays as a top down perspective, shooty bang bang kill all the enemies type, title. Unlike what you might be thinking, no it’s not a twin stick shooter like you may expect for a game of this design. Ailment originally started as a mobile game and it brought its gameplay style with it. When you press the shoot button you automatically target the nearest enemy, and in the early stages of the game this design works. Later when the enemies become more numerous, and when you have to go up against boss fights, the ability to control where you can shoot is missed. These aren’t your typical zombies, though most of them decide they want to shoot back with weapons too, so you need to try avoid the incoming bullet hell as well. A handy shield power-up does help you take a significant amount of damage before it affects your health. Essential for when things get busy.
Lots of Space Guns
There are a lot of guns to find in the space station with various pros and cons mostly in the power and rate of fire ratio. It was fun to play around with the various weapons: from the weird lazer beams to the flame thrower. You can’t rely on your favourite weapon forever though, as the weapon eventually breaks from excessive use unless you repair it. Weapons are found in various lockers scattered around each map along with health and upgrades for your character. You can also buy health and weapons from a menu at any time during the game which seemed a little odd. I didn’t see the need to use this feature at all and it felt it made the game too easy. But the choice is there for you as the player if you want it.
The graphics are basic in design. I’ve always got a bit of a soft spot for a pixelated zombie, but this game is really dark. So dark it’s kinda hard to make out anything. This would not bother me so much if it was just for a section of the game but the entire game sees you going through the same space ship corridors and rooms with the only mild illumination coming from computer screens. I guess it makes sense with the premise of the story, but it was hard to appreciate the character models when I could hardly see them. The main stand out is each time you kill enemies they do leave a rather large bloody mess on the floor which kinda helped track which rooms you’d been to, and all of this was me playing on the TV.
Ailment has three difficulty settings, but the adventure won’t take much more than four hours to play through. There isn’t a lot of reason to replay the game once it’s all over which is shame really. Just the campaign and your willingness to replay it on a higher setting.
Ailment is OK in all departments. It’s a shame the game wasn’t given more attention in bringing it over to Switch by adding a different control scheme and more content. For the price it’s asking for I’d say wait for sale if you fancy a simple brainless space zombie shooty bang bang to enjoy after work with a cup of coffee. Otherwise I think your good to let this one drift into space.
Final Verdict: I’m not sure