If I told you that a game has just been released and within this game, you will be forced to take on an alien invasion, what would you be thinking? If I didn’t know where I was already going with this, I’d be picturing either Aliens Fireteam, Destroy All Humans, or long-lost game The Hum: Abductions, before thinking what can this game do that we haven’t already seen? It turns out there is another way to introduce aliens to gaming however and that is by winding back the years to a 1930’s/1940’s setting, to take on the likes of Timothy, a man of the mob.
Timothy Vs the Aliens puts players as that very mobster and sets us down within the monochrome aesthetic of Little Fish City. The game is played as an open-world adventure, with players taking a third-person perspective as they wander through the seemingly desolate city streets. There are plenty of buildings around, there is a couple of characters to progress the story events, but the main entity that occupies the streets and alleyways are of course Aliens,; lots and lots of colourful, comical, and weird-looking aliens.
The story goes that Timothy’s run-in with the aliens isn’t a first-time thing. They’ve seen him once before, however last time he was abducted and the aliens who abducted him did so to warn him of an impending invasion by an evil alien menace. To aid in this future invasion, Timothy was awarded a gift that allows him to manipulate space and time, to slow things down a little. Fast forward several years and here we take Timothy a fully bonafide gangster by this point and that very evil alien menace has arrived.
Gameplay mostly consists of players running from A to B, taking on quests from various characters, most of which are fairly basic in nature and completing them to move on to the next area. For example, most gates are locked with keys. These keys will be held by certain characters or perched upon specific platforms, and you will need to do tasks for those characters or jump, platform and shoot your way through numerous aliens in order to complete what is asked of you, in turn, gaining the key to whichever area it unlocks.
Like all open-world games, Timothy Vs the Aliens is also full of things to collect, which in this case is actually loads and loads of money that is littered around. Collect enough of it and you will be able to ‘visit a man about a gun’ and upgrade that arsenal of weaponry to fight the alien onslaught as well as purchase certain keys to unlock new areas as well as a master key to drive vehicles and so on.
For me, the biggest complaint I had with Timothy Vs the Aliens was the variety, or lack thereof, and the general emptiness of it all. Sure, you’ll be seeing a few new areas, jumping across rooftops, heading down in the sewers and roaming the city streets, but after just a few minutes in each area, it quickly feels like you’ve seen everything there is to see. What’s worse is that with no life to any of the environments you’ll be navigating. It doesn’t take long to feel like you’re just running around an empty shell, with little to no real purpose other than firing off shots at randomly spawning aliens that even fail to spawn with enough mass to really populate the otherwise silent city streets.
If you were to look at the game in terms of what it does well, it has to be said the mechanics are great, movement works well, shooting feels like you’re actually dealing some damage and there are plenty of things to go about collecting If that’s your thing, but if you’re looking for something other than that, such as a deep and engaging story, or even a sense of humanity to save amid an alien invasion, then Timothy Vs the Aliens isn’t going to be able to provide that for you.
Onto the visuals and as mentioned before the game deploys a monochrome visual effect that really sets the tone well. With colour used sparingly, mostly on the aliens, things tie together nicely to really fit the age and era the developers were clearly looking for. On top of that, there is also plenty of detail put into each environment with every brick and streetlight looking the part as you traverse through the city and lighting proving especially well worked.
The audio wasn’t for me I must say, especially as someone who is already no fan of jazz music. However, the soundtrack certainly fits the gameplay incredibly well, and even as someone who has no interest in the sound that emanates from a brass instrument, I could still appreciate the feeling it brought to the game to pull the whole old school gangster feel together.
Overall, if you’re looking for something that will keep you occupied for a few hours and doesn’t really require all that much concentration to see through to the end, then Timothy Vs the Aliens is likely to be able to tick that box, with a 3-4 hour run time enough to see it done and dusted. Should you want something that can bring engagement, excitement, and something to dig your teeth into, then unfortunately this isn’t going to be for you. Sure, with a little more development and a bigger budget we could have even seen something spectacular here, but as it stands currently, this is more of an empty shell and a load of fetch quests rather than a full-frontal defence against an alien invasion.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.