When I was younger, I used to pump quarters into the Aliens arcade game till my mother wouldn’t give me any more change. No amount of begging would convince her otherwise and I usually continued my whining spree till we got home. Fast forward to the present, with me holding a steady job, I now have the chance to play the game to my heart’s content; too bad finding that arcade game is next to impossible. Enter Shadowgrounds: Survivor, the latest offering from FrozenByte. With the release of this game, and it’s similarity to the olden Aliens games of yore, FrozenByte definitely has a winner on its hand. Instead of myself having to pump quarters into a machine, I know just have to purchase the game from Steam or a brick and mortar store and just start it up and play it.
Shadowgrounds: Survivor is a topdown 3D game that puts the player in the role of three different characters, ranging from pest control, to a soldier, and to top it all off, a member of the special forces. This hodgepodge of characters are attempting to protect Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moon, from an alien invasion. Now, the question that remains on everyone’s mind: Does this game have the will to survive? Or will it degrade to another bargain bin title?
FrozenByte outdid itself with the graphics in Shadowgrounds: Survivor. Not only are the graphics pleasing to the eye, but the physics engine is topnotch. Alien corpses are thrown about while boxes and glass are flung around by grenades and gunfire. I did not have high expectations of the graphical presentation of the game, but after experiencing the the pleasing visuals, I can only state it looks amazing. No intermittent slowdowns, no odd graphical glitches, and, get this, it still looks good. It is definitely more plausible to see this for yourself by attempting to play, but as of right now, the only demo available is from the original Shadowgrounds. This should give the player a good enough taste of the graphics to see if the player might enjoy the game.
One issue that does rear its ugly head is that the game takes a while to load under Vista. This doesn’t affect gameplay too much, but the time waiting could have been spent on the player shooting up some aliens. The glitch only occurs during usage in Vista, so hopefully a patch will come out to rectify the situation. Still trying to figure out if this is tied in with the graphics engine or just some odd coding that got passed quality control.
The voice-acting in the game fits the atmosphere and the actors do a well enough job. The screams of the aliens and the chatter of the gunfire all have enough oomph behind them to sound believable. The music changing as the situation presents itself causes the player’s mind to become entangled with the events, adding tension at just the right parts. The audio just fits the game but doesn’t cover any new ground. As long as the game is on par, there is no reason to disect this section any further.
Controls in Shadowgrounds are easy to pick up so the player can jump right into the game. Having played Diablo or any of its clones will definitely give someone new to Shadowgrounds an edge over newcomers, but as I have mentioned previously, the game is very easy to pick up. Using a combination of both the keyboard for movement and the mouse for shooting and activation abilities. These two different input methods, as always, allow for simple access to the gameplay.
As with most computer games, customization of the keys is an integral draw towards the game. This PC game is no different and all of these options can be accessed through the control panel inside the game.
The story begins with the player starting out as the marine and explains what has occurred on the colony. The usual fare of
For about twenty dollars, this game is a definite value purchase. The production values look to be high and the game is very polished. The only issue that occurred was due to Vista and caused the game to take about 3 minutes to load the first time but once in-game the issue was a moot point. Being able to experience the game both solo and with a buddy definitely adds more game time and, in my humble opinion, is needed. Lets not forget that the graphics are beautiful to perceive and the physics engine is something you would usually see in a high-budget game.