They say not to judge a book by its cover – but in this case, all judgements were good. With such a beautifully colorful title as It Came From Space and Ate Out Brains, I was practically begging to review the game. It’s a little wordy, sure, but you know exactly what you’re getting into and why. So for the sake of us all, we’ll shorten the title to It Came From Space for this review.
It Came From Space is a top-down shooter decked in dark shadows and bright neon hues. Does the awesome title live up to the game itself? Let’s dive in and see.
In an arcade-esque shooter, the story doesn’t need to be very complex. The reason you were shooting aliens in Space Invaders is right in the title of the game. Likewise, It Came From Space and Ate Our Brains‘s story is you are fighting aliens because they invaded Earth and are now eating humanity’s brains. Simple, right?
There isn’t a deeper story to It Came From Space. No notes from survivors to find, no computers to access, no people to talk to. In other words, nothing to distract you from annihilating as many aliens as possible. It’s just you, a gun, and hordes of space aliens coming for your brain.
I can’t honorably give a bad story score to a game without much story. But I can give a game that has it’s entire story in it’s title an A+ for style. Is a perfect 10 ridiculous? Yes, but so am I. Besides, who was really wanting a story in an arcade shooter anyway?
There are some good things about It Came From Space‘s gameplay, but some subpar things as well. Let’s start the the ugliest and work our way up.
As mentioned above, the game can be repetitive. The basic strategy that works is just holding down your shoot button and never letting up on it. There’s no ammo to worry about, so there’s no harm in shooting off into space without hitting any aliens. Since there is no ammo, there’s nothing stopping you from picking the highest damage weapons (aside from the costly upgrades) to use for the whole game. Or from just using one gun you really like and no others.
A Quick Aside
Here is where I feel like is a good time to mention how awful the Nintendo Switch is for shooters. The sad thing is, it’s often not the game’s fault. I find the Switch to be so awkward in the positioning of the sticks that it’s hard to properly aim. It might have something to do with the right stick being so low in comparison to other controls that it keeps the thumb bent instead of relaxed. I’m constantly jerking around trying to point the gun where I want to shoot and often end up missing. My strategy usually ends up becoming point in the general direction I need to shoot then walk around till the enemies are in the line of fire. It’s super frustrating.
Resuming the Review
Onto the good things! It Came From Space spices up it’s variety further by having randomized buffs scattered around the maps. Anything from health kits to temporary gun upgrades and beyond. My favorite is the spot-lights that damage aliens that get hit by them.
Lastly, even though it can be frustrating sometimes, I enjoy how the game is difficult enough that you really have to be your best at all times. One wrong maneuver and you can get swarmed with enemies. You really have to balance how much time you spend cracking open buff boxes and shooting aliens.
The sound is where the game starts to lag behind. There are several instances where there may be no sound – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as sometimes it can create a spooky atmosphere – but the spookiness doesn’t last. The repetitive, and sometimes obnoxious, sounds of the guns quickly ruins the spookiness.
The base weapon, the pistol, sounds like that kid behind you in class tapping a pencil against his desk. All day. Some of the other guns are a little more fun-sounding, but still endlessly repetitive.
When there is music, it is pretty up-beat. Not the most inspirational action-music, but not bad, either. It definitely sounds like what the game is – a somewhat goofy sci-fi shooter. Can’t say much more than that.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE
It could be argued that blocky Minecraftian-looking characters in video games isn’t trying very hard, but It Came From Space rocks it. I can’t really imagine any other type of character. A round and bouncy Animal Crossing sort of design? Naw. Hyper realism in a top-down perspective? Seems like overkill. But Steve and Alex’s long lost cousins? Perfect.
The aliens themselves have a pleasing design to them. In a mindless shooter, the developers could have made one single copy-and-paste alien attacking the player in varying degrees of difficulty. But It Came From Space has a surprising amount of variety in their alien’s designs and powers. However, most of the differences lie in just varying sizes of the same design, but it does offer a sense of variety anyway.
You’ll often see the glowing of the aliens’ creepy glowing mouths before to actually see the rest of them. For a game without a lot of detail, that specific detail creates a great atmosphere. The maps are so dark, so dense with shadow, that the light of your flashlight and the glow of their hungry mouths are the only things warning you of certain death.
While playing, I had no issues with lag. The game ran smoothly, as can be expected for the quality of graphics. For being a game on the basic side, It Came From Space feels complete and balanced for performance.
While there are several maps to play, the gameplay remains the same. It Came From Space and Ate Our Brains seems to have variety in several aspects of the game, but not the kind that creates replay-ability. I can see this game being fun the first time, and maybe fun at parties, but I can’t see playing it more outside of that. Therefore, I have trouble justifying the current price of $14.99. I’d say pick it up for $5 on sale and you’d be getting a fair trade.
Story - 10/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Audio - 4/10
Visuals & Performance - 6/10
Value - 5/10
It Came From Space and Ate Our Brains is a fun game, but doesn’t break any boundaries or set any records. It has a high amusement factor with the title and especially the game trailers, but as a game itself it’s pretty basic. It has multiplayer capabilities, and I imagine it could be more fun when played with other people. I could recommend it on sale, but perhaps not full price.
- Time Killer
- Simple to Learn
- Basic vanilla game
- Below average sound design