Super Mutant Alien Assault is a game whose appearance and title are reminiscent of the days of the SNES, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Three fleets of spaceships are ushering the survivors of a cataclysmic attack through space. While the survivors are blissfully oblivious to what is happening on their ships due to their cryostasis, the player assumes control of a security droid who is tasked with destroying the hostile alien lifeforms that have invaded the ships. This is straight up old school platforming action combined with some of the more modern staples of gaming. Each level is one screen in size, and the typical goal involves laying waste to every alien critter that happens to be inhabiting the level. Sometimes there are optional goals, such as delivering canisters or gas balls to receptacles.
This game itself is not very long, each galaxy has four stages that must be completed, and once you master the game this can probably be accomplished in under a half hour. There are a couple of catches that make this simple task more daunting than it sounds. The first is that you have one life to live, and this game is not extremely generous with heart refills. The second is the levels are completely randomized. This makes it so you cannot memorize the stages and develop strategies to breeze through a level, resulting in each play through being a unique challenge. There are three levels of difficulty, so it will take some amount of time before anyone would consider this game easy. Multitudes of various weapons are at your disposal. These range from the standard weaponry one would expect to find in this type of game, rocket launchers, machine guns, shotguns, pistols, grenades and so on. In addition to these, there are more unusual instruments of death that can be acquired, such as a charged pogo stick and a chakram projectile that can be retrieved after use. I enjoy that last one in particular because it looks like I am killing the aliens with a life preserver, which is a better definition of irony than what is found in that well known Alanis Morissette song.
The soundtrack to this game is bass heavy pulsating dubstep. Dubstep has never been my genre of choice, but it fits this game perfectly. This game does support local co op, which is good because this is the type of game that needs it. The short levels, difficulty, and fast paced action lend itself well to extended play sessions. There were many times when my life ended and I fell into the “just one more game” trap several times. The graphics, while not impressive by today’s standards, capture the early 1990’s 16 bit aesthetic quite well, when games like this were popular. Currently this game is in early access on Steam, so final tweaks and changes may or may not be on their way, but the current incarnation that is available is quite enjoyable, especially for fans of old school games from the aforementioned era. Score reflects current build, if significant changes happen this may be revisited and adjusted.