The shooting gallery genre is huge on the iPhone, from simple carnival rubber duck shooters and Sniping games to Zombie chavs and Metal Gear Solid Touch, it seems to be the easiest game type to pull off. Pirates Vs Aliens is one such game. The way the game plays is slightly different, but the premise is the same, wave upon wave of enemies appear on screen and you must kill them all. In this case you play a pirate aboard his Galleon, and it’s Aliens that are the enemy. The developer are obviously cashing in on the fact that everyone likes Aliens and Pirates, or at least one of those.
Unlike the majority of these shooting gallery games, PVA plays more like the classic shooter Operation Wolf, so instead of a fixed view, you are taken through the environment on a side scrolling rail. The game has a 3D look to it, so it has some depth, but it’s all illustrated to have a flat pop-up look and feel. The only true 3D object is your weapon, which is centrally mounted on board your ship.
As you slowly move through the level, a variety of aliens appear to take you out. Some simply walk along shooting lasers at you, while others swoop in from the sky and hit you with circular rays. Killing them is simply a case of unloading all manner of weapons on them before they take your health. To aim your weapon you drag your finger around the left hand side of the screen, which acts like an invisible joystick, it works pretty well offering responsive 1to1 controls. To shoot you simply tap or hold the fire button at the bottom right of the screen.
You start out with a relatively low powered rifle style weapon, but as you progress you can upgrade to a gatling gun, and later a very powerful cannon. Ammo and health can be picked up in-level by shooting at it, or at the end of each level you can power up with money earned at the pirate shop.
Presentation and Graphics
The game looks OK overall, the aliens are fun and come in strange shapes and sizes. The environments are nice and bright, my only criticism is at the pirates themselves which are a bit uninspiring, especially the irritating guy and his parrot which pops up at the beginning of each level.
While the weapons effects and the creak of the pirate ship sound good, the audio is let down by poor voice work. Sure for $0.99 you can’t expect Johnny Depp style quality. But, it does sound particularly amateurish and hurts the experience somewhat.
The controls work very well, but while fun in short bursts, the gameplay gets very repetitive quickly, offering little more than a change of scenery to keep you interested.
Three differently themed levels to beat, but after that that’s it! Nothing really to keep you coming back for more
Pirates Vs Aliens is a fun little shooter, but it’s ultimately forgetful. Best try the lite edition first, and if it tickles your fancy you can take a $0.99 punt on the full version. Just don’t expect much for your buck.