Alien Hominid Invasion Nintendo Switch Review

Alien Hominid Invasion is a fantastic addition to the Behemoth’s legacy.

By MChipmunks, Posted 03 Nov 2023

If you grew up in the 2000s and were an avid user of the internet, there is a good chance you stumbled upon Newgrounds. Newgrounds was founded in 1995 by a programmer named Tom Fulp as an entertainment site that featured original video content, artwork, and even flash games–yeah, remember those? How could you not, they were the rage for any kid growing up back then. Sometimes, a flash game can come along that proves to be quite popular–enough to warrant a full retail release game.

Does anyone remember The Fancy Pants Adventures? It began life as a flash game and made the jump to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 way back in 2011. Another important title would begin life as a flash game and make waves in the indie gaming scene–leading to a full release on the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox back in 2004. That game was Alien Hominid, developed by The Behemoth.

Alien Hominid Invasion, The Behemoth, Arcade, Green, Guns, Aliens, Military, Cutesy, Colorful, Switch

The Behemoth was cofounded by Newgrounds creator Tom Fulp, John Baez, and video game designer and artist Dan Paladin. Whenever Dan and Tom joined forces, they turned games into gold. Alien Hominid went on to become a cult classic, especially in the indie gaming scene. Only a few years later, The Behemoth released arguably one of the most endearing beat 'em ups of all time, Castle Crashers. Castle Crashers was a huge hit for the small team of developers, continuing the trend of quality releases. BattleBlock Theatre’s release in 2014 would further cement their legendary status. Now, in 2023, The Behemoth released Alien Hominid Invasion, a direct sequel to the original. How does Alien Hominid Invasion stack up against the original?

Like Alien Hominid, Alien Hominid Invasion is a run-and-gun roguelike and an arcade co-op,  not unlike Contra, but with more explosions, lasers firing from every direction, and agents that will stop at nothing to protect their precious intel. Alien Hominid Invasion does not feature an in-depth story, but that is not the main appeal of a game like this to begin with. The Aliens are only back on earth for two things, to steal intel from the FBI agents and to take them all down in the process. Alien Hominid features three different difficulty options and two different settings for items you collect. Since Alien Hominid Invasion is also a roguelike, you will unlock different perks, heads, and guns–all featuring unique attributes that affect how you play. For the purpose of this review, I swapped from normal to easy difficulty with the “permakeep” system so that I did not lose the items I collected along the way.

Once you start your mission, your alien comes to life via this rotisserie machine that forms you and spits you out. Once you walk over to the right, you are presented with a map and goodies you can obtain throughout your play through. Since Alien Hominid Invasion is now also a roguelike, no two adventures will be the same. On the map, you have blocks which you can then choose a level from. Each level can have varying rewards or barriers, such as perks to increase your chance to deflect bullets or increase enemy presence, respectively. In most levels, you will be carrying out a set of objectives before heading back to the mothership. You will have to find objects to deliver to a certain character, defeat purple-colored enemies, and gather intel by defeating FBI agents. In some instances, you will have to fight a boss, and they mean business!

Alien Hominid Invasion, Colorful, Explosions, Switch, Multiplayer, The Behemoth, Cutesy, Aliens

The fun factor does not solely lie in completing objects but in the mayhem that ensues along the way. Alien Hominid Invasion might as well be classified as a bullet hell because the more enemies you take down, their presence escalates with swarms of different types of enemies as you play more of the game. Things start off nice and smooth with manageable waves of enemies that should be no problem for the most fledgling of gamers. It won’t take long before total chaos erupts. That’s why it is important for you to understand how the mechanics work because Alien Hominid Invasion packs a slew of new ones to master if you hope to survive. Returning from the original Alien Hominid is the ability to dig, mount enemies, and toss them. The close-quarters knife kills are absent this time around, but your offensive capabilities are multiplied exponentially when compared to the original game.

As I said, gaining a grasp of all the mechanics, both new and old, is the only way you will survive the absolute onslaught of enemies. Thankfully, one-hit kills are gone, meaning you now have a life bar. Don’t get too cocky, though, because soon enough, you will be begging for more health. In Alien Hominid Invasion, you gain an aerial dive, which is effective for dodging enemy fire and covering ground quickly. If you hold the dive button down as you touch the ground, you will land into digging underground. Digging is one of your best friends in this game, and if utilized properly, you can pop up under a group of enemies which tosses them aside, giving you a few seconds to catch your breath. There are also mutations that give you a secondary skill to give you extra combat options, such as grenades or jetpacks. That is only half the battle, as Alien Hominid Invasion features an absurd amount of customizable options that exceed far beyond cosmetic appearance.

As you take out enemies and bosses, you will obtain goodies in the form of golden coins or treasure chests containing various kinds of loot. The treasure chests contain anything from pigments, guns, or different heads. Pigments are purely for changing the color of your alien without additional buffs/debuffs. Different headpieces not only make your alien look funkier but do come with buffs/debuffs like increased health or less health, respectively. You will start off with basic pieces that will only have one buff, but as you level up and unlock better loot, they will start to come with three attribute changes–usually two buffs with one debuff to balance the game properly. The same goes for guns, so you are encouraged to mix and match to find the best results, so your mileage may vary. This is what I mean by this the other half of the battle. Most of my deaths can be avoided by having the right mix of equipment on.

Alien Hominid Invasion, The Behemoth, Switch, Cutesy, Aliens, Loadouts, UI

There are spots called hideouts sprinkled across the map in which you can turn over gold coins to buy better loot, so it is not only delegated to finding chests for better equipment. At the hideout, you change your character's loadout (which can also be done before entering a level) and buy or sell new guns and gear. For a limited fee of 100 gold coins, you can reload the content offered in the shop if you don’t like the items on offer. Grabbing as many coins as possible is ideal to buy up as much stock as possible, so you can find better gear to optimize your loadouts. It is a total blast to then go mix and match my gear to see what game plan I can formulate.

The Behemoth’s distinctive art style returns in glorious 4K and still looks as goofy as ever, and I mean that in the best way possible. It is the kind of art style that instantly transports you back to after school on the computer playing flash games in the 2000s. Alien Hominid Invasion still keeps the vibe of the first game but is modernized as it should be. The animations are more fluid, the levels have much more vibrancy, and the overall designs are vastly improved with added expression. The Behemoth excels at delivering such a simplistic art direction but manages to make it endearing at the same time due to the cutesy nature of the character designs. Alien Hominid Invasion is a classic case of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Orange, green, and purple are predominantly used here in an explosion of color. This is certainly one of the team’s most expressive projects to date.

The soundtrack is nothing to sneeze at, either. Alien Hominid Invasion mixes a medley of techno with hard-hitting beats, synths, acid bass lines, and guitars that culminate in the feeling of an impending alien invasion in the grooviest way possible. My personal favorite track to listen to is after completing a level, your eardrums are graced by a wonderfully weird track with synths and alien tongue being spoken in the form of “bapi bapi bapi ba”. The Behemoth never sleeps on their music curation for any of their previous efforts and is no different in Alien Hominid Invasion. I found myself turning the home theater system up with some bass to have a truly extraterrestrial music experience right in my living room.

Alien Hominid Invasion, The Behemoth, Switch, Explosions, Multiplayer, Colorful

Alien Hominid Invasion ups the ante with up to four-player local and online co-op. Playing the game solo is a blast, but it is even better with friends. Things quickly become chaotic, just the way the game was intended. The only problem is tracking yourself can be a bit of a pain when the enemy meter at the bottom is filled, meaning enemies will flood the screen with lasers and bullets flying every which way. You can toggle an indicator in settings, which does help, but you will still strain to find yourself in a four-player game. The online functionality worked as intended, and I had no issues getting into a game with other players. Testing out the local was a lot of fun as I shared some laughs.

The difficulty can be downright brutal, even on the easiest difficulty option, due to the unending swarm of bullets and enemies. Alien Hominid Invasion is easy to pick up and hard to master, so newcomers will definitely struggle to find their footing in the thick of it. It is going to require a lot of dying and customizing your loadout to live to fight another day against the legions of enemies. Overall, this is a strong package with some minor gripes. At $19.99, Alien Hominid Invasion is well worth the price of admission. There is high replay value due to its roguelike features, a plethora of unlockable guns and gear to make up hundreds of different combinations, and its stunning art and music direction. Alien Hominid Invasion is an extraterrestrial experience that totally delivers and is an excellent addition to The Behemoth’s legacy.

Michael Nicolosi (@ChipmunksMikey)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, XBSX, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): The Behemoth
Developer(s): The Behemoth
Genres: Shoot-'Em-Up
Themes: Sci-Fi, Roguelike, Arcade, Co-op, Run 'n' Gun
Release Date: 2023-11-01

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