Other than the eponymous xenomorphs, general bugginess and some laughable artificial intelligence, Angry Mob Games' AVP: Evolution from iOS and Android has absolutely nothing in common with the train wreck that is Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines. In just about every other way the mobile game is superior to the console/PC title.
That's not saying AVP: Evolution is perfect—it's just Colonial Marines left so much room for improvement that even a third-person action game with incredibly janky controls and a shitty camera can feel superior.
Take the story, for instance. AVP: Evolution has a cohesive narrative. On a distant planet the vile Super Predator Clan has enslaved Aliens to bring about the eradication of the Jungle Hunter Clan. The player alternates between a member of the Jungle Hunters and a xenomorph as the extensive single-player story unfolds. The "Evolution" in the title refers to the journey both characters undertake. The Predator's story begins with his initiation as a hunter. The Alien starts as a Face Hugger, has sex with a scientist's face, and blooms into adulthood like a delicate flower.
"Evolution" also refers to the game's role-playing game-like progression system. Players earn experience levels, unlocking new body parts and equipment upgrades as they grow in power. There's a ton of sci-fi weapons and goodies to unlock, enough to keep fans playing long after the more discerning gamer might throw their mobile device against the wall in frustration over shoddy controls and repetitive combat.
It's a lot smoother in person than it seems in my capture, but you get the general idea. There's a lot of entering the room and killing guys until the path to the next area unlocks. There's also a bit of stealth, some vent-crawling, and some gameplay segments that break up the monotonous combat—the bit where the Alien has to avoid dropship fire while crossing a bridge is a lovely change of pace, even if the imprecise controls will force you to replay the scene a few times before you get it right.
AVP: Evolution's biggest fault is under-utilization of the special abilities these dueling alien races possess. The Alien can crawl through vents or along walls some of the time, but mostly he just walks around, swiping at enemies wildly instead of displaying the animistic cunning we've seen in the films. The Predator behaves rather uncharacteristically as well—a member of the proud hunting race would never strike down peaceful scientists cowering in fear, even when their cowering is taking place inches away. You'd think workers at a research facility dedicated to studying the most danger life form mankind has ever encountered would be a bit more enthusiastic with their running in terror.
Like I said, AVP: Evolution is not a great game—there are far too many flaws for that adjective to apply. It's just a good game with some great ideas and incontrovertible ambition. It feels like Angry Mob Games was trying to make the best Aliens game they possibly could, which is more than I can say for other recently-released games.
- Genre: Third-Person Action
- Developer: Angry Mob Games
- Platform: Android, iOS
- Price: $4.99