It Came From Space And Ate Our Brains is a top down arcade style shooter developed by Triangle Studios and released by All in! Games for Xbox One on January 28th, 2020 for the bargain price of $14.99 U.S. Dollars. Play solo or cooperatively with up to four players through six exciting co-op campaign missions against hordes of aliens. There are multiple weapons and upgrades to choose from along with various pick-up items strewn throughout the game world. Enjoy the techno music soundtrack that would be right at home in a classic arcade cabinet.
Let’s get into the thick of it. It Came From Space And Ate Our Brains ( ICFSAAOB, going forward because it is a ridiculously long title to type repeatedly) has a dark and gritty world full of shadows and light effects that would have had kids pouring quarters into machines had this been released in a 1990’s video arcade. The world has a black and white aesthetic that hearkens to the 1950’s science fiction films that are a clear inspiration for the game. Splashes of color are provided by the glowing faces of the alien Invaders and the bursts of weapon fire provide by players guns. As you upgrade your weapons the lighting effects get more intense in a rather dark game world, so if flashing light patterns affect you in a negative manner then please do be careful. Character design is a bit blocky; somewhere in between Minecraft and Roblox perhaps.
The techno soundtrack lends well to the eerie atmosphere. There are some environmental sound effects throughout the campaign levels such as echoing bathrooms or water flowing. Most of what you’ll hear though will be the sound of your equipped weapon blasting away at the swarms of aliens that continuously and relentlessly spawn (and respawn) as they try to chase you down and back you into a corner with overwhelming numbers. While there will be a few moments where you’ll be able to release the trigger, the sound of your gunfire might wear on you eventually.
As for the actual gameplay, ICFSAAOB is a decent time killer with smooth controls. Campaign mode takes you through six levels of alien killing mayhem. Travel from safehouse to safehouse as you navigate from one end of the labyrinthine levels to the next to find and destroy the giant glowing alien egg that marks the end of the level. Campaign levels are: Rooftops, Clinic, Alleys, Sewers, Riverside, and Cave. Survival mode places you in more of an arena type level where you must survive wave after wave of spawning alien enemies. There are 12 levels in Survival mode. Survival levels are: Hospital, City, Highway, Countryside, Crash site, Planet, Navy, Industrial, Suburbs, Scrapyard, Launch pad, and Ship. The six weapon types are Pistol, Shotgun, Plasma gun, Machine gun, Rocket launcher, and Laser gun. Each of these can be upgraded several times and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. I personally liked the plasma, but a fully upgraded machine gun works quite well. The rocket launcher, though powerful, has a slow rate of fire which leaves you vulnerable so I’d suggest leaving that alone unless you’re playing in multiplayer and have someone watching your back.
Difficulty ranges from easy, medium, hard, and insane. While easy may offer a small challenge to a solo player, they should be able to complete the campaign on medium difficulty without dying too many times. If you do get killed, players will respawn at the last safehouse they passed through. It might be best to hold off on hard or insane difficulty until you have a friend or family member on the couch to play with you.
Now, while ICFSAAOB is decently fun game to play there are a few shortcomings that I feel you should know about. Unlike in the trailer, there is zero voice over or storyline in text or otherwise. I would have liked a character selection with a bit of backstory for each. An actual introductory cut scene with narration à-la the trailer would have been brilliant as well as a cut scene between levels to drive the story along. As is there is just nothing to drive the game besides it’s fluid gameplay. I am happy that it tracks your high scores, so that in itself boosts the replayability a bit as well as the more advanced difficulty levels.
All in all, It Came From Space And Ate Our Brains is a decent arcade shooter that is definitely worth the price of admission. But I would gladly pay a few dollars more for a fleshed out story and character selection.