The Behemoth is known for incredibly stylized titles with humor, flair, and loads of action. Alien Hominid Invasion, the studio’s fifth game, is no exception. The long-awaited sequel to 2004’s Alien Hominid, Invasion takes things in a new direction with a new gameplay approach and style.
Coming from Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid, I expected Invasion to be a level-based platformer shooter with elements similar to those previous titles. There are still large elements of this style throughout, but Invasion takes a new approach to the formula, allowing players to choose their own path, acting as a roguelite. It feels like an evolution of the original game’s formula rather than a sequel.
A New Take
The aliens have invaded… again! They left in 2004, but it took them a whole 19 years to make it to Earth. The run-and-gun nature of the first title is back, suited up for a proper 2023 release!
The structure and overall feel of the game remind me of Dead Cells or Hades. Depending on what difficulty you choose, you can carry over items into your next run while learning the intricacies and difficulties of the randomly generated levels and bosses. The game offers two modes: Mastery Mode (no item keep) and Permakeep (hearts and item keep). I tested both of these during my playthrough, and each has a considerable amount of difficulty, especially later on. For the majority of my playthrough, I stuck with Permakeep to test out as many of the weapons and unlockables as I could.
Levels are randomly generated and endless on your left and right sides. Enemies will continue to spawn in from above, to the left, and to the right, regardless of where you are on the level. The classic gameplay you know and love from the original Alien Hominid has been revamped and retooled to be better than ever. Now, there are dozens and dozens of weapons to choose from alongside movement mechanics like a dodge.
Easily, one of the highlights of the game is the vast amount of customization options available. The Behemoth has opted to include all sorts of different unlockable and customizable items, like weapons, hats, abilities, buffs, and alien colors. Each of these directly affects your stats and can become quite interesting to play around with, depending on where you’d like a boost. I spent quite a lot of time retooling my alien after each level, adjusting my stats depending on how the level went. Occasionally, I’d test out a new gun that went south quickly, which resulted in me dying. Dying doesn’t mean losing your items here, which was a huge relief.
Weapons all have different uses and ranges, which are effective against certain enemies. For example, flamethrowers or cryo-guns were effective against enemies with armor, while blades had no effect at all. It’s situations like these that require you to be tactical and customize your alien as you see fit. You also have a Mutation that comes in handy. An example of this is the Medic mutation, which allows you to spawn in a heart that bounces around the stage to heal you and any other players you’re playing with.
For fans of previous titles by The Behemoth, there are plenty of fun references to their previous titles. It was quite enjoyable to roam the levels and hideouts to find secrets and small little references crammed in each corner. As a longtime fan of the series, the amount of Castle Crashers references & nods makes me hopeful there is a chance we’ll be seeing a sequel in the future.
A Need for More
A lack of diverse content regularly introduced is where Alien Hominid Invasion falls short. The game suffers with its approach to levels, where you are required to complete a few objectives to get extracted by the mothership. As I mentioned earlier, the levels are all randomly generated. This isn’t where the issue lies. The biggest fault lies within the objectives system, as the same eight objectives are reused constantly through each level and run.
This was very unfortunate, as I expected plenty of new objectives and twists to be presented as I progressed through the storyline. Speaking of, the storyline consists of six different bosses. To clear it, you need to infiltrate the enemy base six times and defeat the boss. What’s here is high quality, though I do wish there were more bosses available to fight throughout the narrative. However, the narrative itself is a fun time, as always, and reveals some fun answers from the first game’s alien.
It feels like a missed opportunity, as the objective system is so open-ended. Plenty of different scenarios could have played out, but instead, the same few shuffle in and out. The game does keep things interesting with the time mechanic, which increases the difficulty and amount of enemies the longer you take to complete the level. However, this wasn’t enough to wash away the feeling of old as I was gathering intel each run.
A Fun Time with Friends
The game has a ton of replayability life, especially with how enjoyable the combat system is. It’s never been more fun to run around and shoot at your favorite agents. I had an absolute blast playing with friends in multiplayer. The co-op nature that so many revered Alien Hominid for is here, even heightened with its roguelite nature. I can see this as a title I can jump on with others to play for hours on end.
While levels and objectives can get repetitive, there is the scoreboard aspect to look at. It’s exciting to attempt to break into the top portion of the scoreboard so your name is displayed on the game’s title screen. Doing so will result in plenty of weapon tests and strategy assessments among your multiplayer group. Naturally, this will probably lend itself to speed runs, too, which I look forward to watching.
Invasion is so much fun – solo or with friends. Though, I cannot recommend enough to boot it up with friends in a private lobby, as the chaos that ensues as you all run away from hordes of agents and officers is unbeatable.
More than anything, Alien Hominid Invasion proves that The Behemoth has still got it, even after all this time. The studio continues to innovate and create enjoyable, stylistic experiences that will be played and talked about for years to come. The sharp and quick gameplay is the highlight, with the iconic Dan Paladin style looking better than ever.
I really like what’s here, but I wish there was more variety. The game has a solid base that, with added diversity, could shine bright as one of the best roguelites this year. Although it could have benefitted from more diverse levels, Alien Hominid Invasion is a good time, especially with friends via online multiplayer.
While I didn’t get to check out Alien Hominid HD yet, I’m ecstatic about the ability to jump back into one of the studio’s most memorable games. For those interested in purchasing either of the Alien Hominid titles, a bundle is available now for $24.99.
Disclaimer: The Behemoth provided Final Weapon with a Steam copy of Alien Hominid Invasion for review purposes.