Chuck E. Cheese's Alien Defense Force
DSiWare | UFO Interactive | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
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13th December 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
Rather than having you expend yourself to heroic, more traditional ends to save the galaxy, what transpires in Chuck E. Cheese's Alien Defense Force is more that of a target practice exercise for beginners. Thinking this is an adequate substitute for downing incoming motherships and droids from the cockpit of a space cruiser, gameplay references the coin machines found at physical Chuck E. Cheese venues and, on a more general level, amusement parks. Depending on the character you choose, you'll either be chucking water balloons or firing a water pistol at moving targets across three rows, and generally with the pace that's been adopted, the responsiveness of your stylus taps in connection with the timing windows is adequate enough.
The overall objective is to take out a specified number of these enemies before time runs out, making sure to keep an eye out for time and score bonuses, as well as targets in the shape of your own character that must be avoided. Even if you accumulate a score in the 40,000 range, your mission will only be viewed as a success if you meet these numbered conditions. While each of the five available machines feature a different boss enemy that will net more points than the common threats, gameplay remains identical throughout. The only real change lies, again, in the method of attack and the selected difficulty -- Normal and Hard simply adjust how many times each enemy must be hit.
To try and add purpose to your tasks, the game setup also tries to harness a prize appeal by having up to five pizzas given to the player as a reward for their score. To achieve the best results and be awarded useless trophies, players are put in a position of having to ignore the last target they need to win so as not to conclude the session prematurely and miss out on a share of points. Both this and the implemented combo system are about the only elements of moderate note in this entire package, and that's not even saying a lot since the latter is pretty standard practice.
The problem with all of this is there's nothing to counter the already-boring layout, there's nothing to look forward to or get your hopes up for, and to be frank, there's hardly anything here at all that reaches a level of competency; not when the repetition and lack of variety put the game so beneath anything of recent memory. While I can't totally blame the decision to stick to the roots of the brand and not do something more spontaneous and open, I also don't think that should be an excuse for not doing just about anything with its direction, because when confining feedback to the basics of its execution, Chuck E. Cheese's Alien Defense Force is just so irrelevant on both small and large scales.
Considering how much any other attempt like it would far outweigh and be of greater value than anything present here, if this were actually made into a coin-op machine I would completely expect it to be the underperformer in the pack. I'm not saying a game of this style must secure your attention for long periods of time, but I also don't think it's acceptable for the execution to advance past suggestion and actually embody paleness, in such a way that points, in all its dreary, to a desire to be overlooked. That goes for its presentation as well, which doesn't do a good job of convincing to the contrary, especially with its rather fuzzy use of sound.
Regardless of how you choose to come at this, it's hard to see this as being anything other than lazy. Honestly, I'd be giving it too much credit by calling Chuck E. Cheese's Alien Defense Force a distraction. This is absolutely a short, one-time, purposeless affair you will under no circumstances be amused by, forget having a desire to return to it. Strongly lacking in positive definition, variety, ideas, and worth, this mission should've been terminated instead of launching ahead of schedule.
10/30 - Very Poor
Gameplay 4/10 - Adequate response but still a pointless activity, barely anything in the way of ideas, feels lazy as a result, direction limits it greatly
Presentation 4/10 - Visuals generally adds to the dreariness, animations are functional, use of sound could have been better
Enjoyment 1/5 - Really thin and only leads to boredom, games similar to this are superior in execution, easy to pull away from, no variety
Extra Content 1/5 - Five different machines that are all the same, settings don't do much in the scheme of things, useless trophies
Equivalent to a score of 33% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System