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[minis Review] Ace Armstrong vs The Alien Scumbags!

Help legendary star fighter pilot Ace Armstrong defeat the Scumbag invasion of earth in this modern take on classic old-school shoot-em-ups, with an added 50s Sci-Fi twist and plenty of Scumbag-bursting humour.

Fly Ace through several action-packed levels, each featuring a huge boss with unique attack patterns to defeat!

Use Ace’s mighty Recycl-o-Ray to suck up the essence of defeated Scumbags and use their own weapons against them. Can you turn back the Scumbags’ tentacled tide of terror?!

Controls are very simple to understand. You can move Ace’s ship either with the D-Pad or the analog stick (I used the D-pad to get the proper old school feel), and shooting your standard cannons is handled by the X button. You can use the L or R button to vacuum in the weapon energy left behind by some of the Alien Scumbags, and you can shoot these extra weapons with the Square or Circle buttons. You can still shoot your standard cannons while you’re doing this, so be sure to never stop firing or the Aliens will get you! Also, when you suck in a new weapon, your current one is immediately discarded, so make sure you really want to get rid of it before hitting either shoulder button.

What weapons can you take from your enemies? You have access to a laser, to a spread shot, to a 3-way shot, and exploding shot, and a veeery powerful shot that can quickly kill all enemies in 1 or 2 shots at most. The more powerful the weapon, the lower number of shots you have available, so be sure to plan accordingly. A strong weapon in your arsenal when facing a boss can be the difference between survival and defeat.

Before you start the game, you are given the option of picking one of the three difficulty settings available (Rookie, Pro and Elite). You should start on Rookie to get an idea of how the game works, as diving right into Pro or Elite can prove to be too much for most. Picking a higher difficulty cuts down the number of extra ships you start with AND aliens are stronger, thus requiring to be shot more times in order to be destroyed.

You must quickly understand how to differentiate the things that can kill you from those that are there just for show, especially since all that it takes to bring down your ship is one hit. You can crush against scenery, aliens, spaceships, etc., and it is easier to know what scenery is physically there, and which one is just for show, by constantly firing with X. You can also autofire when holding down X, but you can definitely fire faster by constantly pressing X, thus allowing you to destroy more enemies.

When you reach the end of the level, you’ll fight against a huuuuge boss. Learning their pattern is a must, or you’ll never defeat them. Be prepared to lose several ships during this fights if you’re not careful. Luckily, if all your lives run out, you can choose to immediately go on, as long as you have any continues left.

Ace Armstrong vs the Alien Scumbags provides us with a fun game that takes us back to simpler times when 2D sidecrollers were all the rage. The art-style and gameplay mechanics allow this minis release to set itself apart from the rest of the options available in the service.

[review score=”81″ pros=”Easy to control
Several weapons you can use” cons=”Crashing into a building before being able to realize that structures are bad”]

Cost – $3.99


Total amount of time played: 3 hours.

Game was completed before writing this review.

This review is based on a PS3/PSP copy of Ace Armstrong vs the Alien Scumbags provided by Laughing Jackal.