0 Day: Attack on Earth Micro-Review: Where's Will Smith When You Need Him?

Square Enix unleashes an Earth-swallowing alien invasion over Xbox Live Arcade, guaranteeing twitch-addicted gamers begin the new year with a thumb-numbing workout.

This top-down, dual-stick shooter retains the arcadey appeal of the genre, while supporting its frenzied action with sharp visuals and impressive effects. Solo pilots are in for an alien-annihilating blast, but co-op world-savers may get lost in the chaos before finishing this fight.

Loved
Thumbs At the Ready:0 Day's action is fast, fun, and often frantic. There's always lots happening on-screen, and only razor-sharp reflexes will keep your craft from quickly becoming a plummeting ball of fire. Assisting your fight against Earth's invaders are multiple ships, power-ups, and abilities. An effective nitro boost will shoot you out of harm's way, while screen-stretching explosive blasts-that'd crane the necks of Mercenaries' pyro-loving protagonists-envelope bigger enemies in a tidal wave of flames. Additionally, expected genre power-ups such as three-way spray guns and flame throwers that deliver death from both ends of your ship, round out your alien-whuppin' arsenal. The swift action is also nicely managed by intuitive controls and a simple, clean HUD display.

Aliens Attack!: Evocative of over-the-top extraterrestrial invasion films like Independence Day and War of the Worlds, 0 Day pays as much attention to its presentation as its gameplay. Taking place over seven days and 20+ missions, the story sees you fighting enormous enemies in real-world cities. Where similar titles offer repetitive starry space backdrops and uninspired enemies, 0 Day pits players against massive metallic menaces erupting from the Hudson River and mechanical limb-flailing monsters that dwarf Manhattan's skyscrapers.

Hated
Chaotic Co-opWhile 0 Day seems tailor made for a kick-ass co-op experience, its up-to-4-player mode suffers from being way too busy. Between the enemies, explosions, allies, and power-ups, there's already a bit much crowding the screen during solo play. But add more trigger-happy players to the mix, and navigating the clutter becomes maddening. Competitive mutli-player modes, while similarly dizzying, do fare a bit better here. If you can manage to tune out some of the peripheral chaos, there's some fun to be had while battling with or against buddies, but more often than not I found myself flying solo.

0 Day doesn't stray too far from what makes the dual-stick shooter genre tick. But addictive action and some interesting abilities, complemented by a presentation ripped right from a Roland Emmerich flick, allow it to rise above the me-too competition. It gets a little crazy when the action ramps up during multi-and occasionally solo-play, but quick-reflexed gamers shouldn't have a problem saving the planet from its latest alien threat.

0 Day: Attack on Earth was developed by GULTI and published by Square Enix for Xbox Live Arcade on December 23th. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points. A code to download the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Completed the game's campaign on medium difficulty and participated in several online multi-player matches.

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