Super Mutant Alien Assault, developed by Cybernate, is an arcade-style shoot ’em up that throws together platforming, weapons, abilities, and objective-based levels. The player takes control of a robotic avatar and fights across sections of a ship while exploring the galaxy. The ship is infested with dangerous alien creatures that are able to mutate. Super Mutant Alien Assault is fast and fluid with plenty of challenge that will keep players coming back for more.
More Guns, More Aliens, More Fun
Super Mutant Alien Assault is an entertaining, action-packed arcade game that controls impeccably on the Nintendo Switch. The player chooses a robot as their avatar and uses everything that the game provides to stop waves of aliens. The game is separated into three galaxies and the player needs to clear all three in one sitting to beat that difficulty level. Super Mutant Alien Assault is hard, but addicting and the progression of unlockables keeps the game fresh while also adding more complexity at a steady pace.
The progression system is rewarding and adds dangerous and challenging threats to the early stages of the game. Each level rewards a token that can be spent to unlock new enemies, weapons, abilities, and etc. The first couple of runs are the hardest, but in the long run, enough upgrades will slowly turn the tide in the player’s favor. However, new alien creatures change the encounter dynamics of each level. Unlocking new weapons and abilities gives the player more loadout options, but there is a tremendous amount of skill that is required to adapt to each new alien threat. This back and forth between learning new weapons or items, making a better loadout, and battling new aliens is a satisfying loop. It does start to get repetitive after you’ve seen every alien, though.
One of the best aspects of Super Mutant Alien Assault is the variety of cool and powerful weapons that you can combine with creative powers and abilities. Standard weapons like shotguns and assault rifles feel amazing to use even when compared to heavy-hitters like rocket launchers or sniper rifles. Similar games that I’ve enjoyed have used weapons as a metric for damage rather than adapting the weapons’ unique characteristics
Explosives come in all forms and each requires knowing when or how best to use them depending on the level. Abilities like dashing or double jumping can be unlocked or obtained in crates and give the player new maneuverability options. Lastly, powers like plasma blast can help clear more aliens at the cost of your power gauge, which can be replenished picking up the green orbs left behind by slain aliens.
Each alien behaves in a certain way and knowing the best way to defeat them with your current loadout is immensely satisfying. The player’s success comes down to knowing the in’s and out’s of each weapon and ability and handling the resources each level provides. There will be terrible runs and that’s okay because the game loads the next playthrough immediately.
Amazingly, Super Mutant Alien Assault plays great on the Switch considering the amount of precision needed. Sometimes the screen is filled with aliens, and lining up shots while avoiding them takes a great deal of dexterity and awareness. It’s been reported that some Switch owners have had issues with the control inputs of the left Joycon for precision platforming games, but I haven’t had any issues.
The Ship and You
While some games have procedurally generated levels to increase replayability, Super Mutant Alien Assault does not. Which is a good thing. Levels are not randomized and the resources within each level follow certain patterns. This is helpful considering that some levels require a certain amount of planning. For example, every boss level will always have at least a Weapons Machine or something that can be used to whittle away at a boss’ large health pool. Super Mutant Alien Assault relies heavily on skill, and patterns start to emerge for players to exploit and master. Randomized levels and resources could lead to frustrating situations that are out of the player’s control. This game is based on rewarding skill rather than artificially lengthening play time.
Each objective requires different approaches, but they all boil down to platforming and killing aliens within a certain time frame. One objective is to turn off the pressure machines before they explode, otherwise, the player will lose health. Another involves getting fuel for the ship by transporting it from one side of the stage to the other. There’s also always a boss for you to beat at the end of every galaxy.
2-Player Risk Management
Super Mutant Alien Assault is a hard game in any capacity for a single player, but certain weapons and unlockables offer relief. Cooperative play is another matter because of two main factors. If one player dies, that’s the end of the run, and explosives can harm both players. Both players need to have excellent communication to share resources and to avoid friendly fire. The grenade launcher is a powerful weapon, but can be a dangerous gamble to use in multiplayer.
Managing proper use of the Weapons Machine and other resources become vital because of the shared cooldown periods between each use. Situations in which one player has a powerful weapon while the other has to survive on a pistol are common. As bad as this all might sound, I actually think Super Mutant Alien Assault makes for an interesting and fun co-op experience. It forces players to adapt new strategies, providing another new mode for players to master.
Super Mutant Alien Assault is a fast-paced and action-packed joy ride. It’s always rewarding the player, posing new and interesting loadout options while maintaining a fair balance of challenge and skill. However, in terms of content, there isn’t much to do other than beating harder difficulties or playing Endless mode. Learning the mechanics is fun and makes for a great arcade game to play on the go or at home. Two-player co-op becomes a hectic and crazy battle for survival while the single-player portions offer a better learning curve. It never felt like I needed a D-Pad to enjoy the game on Nintendo Switch. Super Mutant Alien Assualt is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out my interviews with USC Games Chair Danny Bilson, Shades of Magic author V.E. Schwab, and Black Panther’s Quest voice actor James Mathis III. For more great interviews, reviews, editorials, and news stay tuned to CultureOfGaming.com, or check us out on OpenCritic.com.
- THE GOOD
- Brutal Gameplay
- Distinct Weapons
- Rewarding Progression
- Beautiful Retro Alien Style and Colors
- THE BAD
- Level Designs Don’t Change Much
- Robot Avatar Look Plain
Super Mutant Alien Assault is a fast paced and action packed joy ride. It’s always rewarding the player and poses new options to create interesting loadouts while maintaining a fair balance of skill after each level. It does suffer from a repetitious level design but the fun is learning how to use all your weapons and powers in unison.