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Review: Alpha Prime and Shadowgrounds Survivor (PC)

Andy Chalk | 19 Dec 2007 21:20
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But the only real knock against Shadowgrounds Survivor is its length, or more to the point, the lack thereof. This thing is short: Average gamers can expect around five hours out of the Campaign mode, perhaps a bit longer for the obsessive sorts who are determined to find all the secret tokens, plus a few minutes (or hours) more in the new Survival game mode, depending on how much alien killing you really want to do.

At its heart, Shadowgrounds Survivor is very much a casual game. While your mom may not pick it up with quite the enthusiasm she had for Zuma, it operates on all the same principles as the best casual titles: Easy to learn, simple to play, short levels, lots of aural and visual feedback and a smartly integrated system of leveling and bonuses that keeps players pushing for the next level. It's interesting to see Popcap-style gameplay masquerading as a hardcore shooter, but the truth is Shadowgrounds Survivor is the Solitaire of action gaming: light enough for burning a few minutes while you're on hold, but engaging enough to hold your attention.

Bottom line: So, two games, neither of which will break your bank at $20 apiece, but only one of which is really worth your hard-earned cash. Alpha Prime probably won't be the worst action game you'll ever play, and Shadowgrounds Survivor hopefully won't be the best; but where Alpha Prime offers dull, uninspired gameplay mired in an incoherent and overwrought B-movie story, Shadowgrounds Survivor takes the wiser tack of tossing out all the but the most rudimentary and disposable story elements in favor of weird characters, great music and a whole lot of goofy, violent action. Both games have a distinctly European flavor, but only Shadowgrounds Survivor embraces that unique ethic and runs with it. It is by far the better game for it, and one not to be missed by action fans.

Recommendation: Don't touch it (Alpha Prime), Buy it (Shadowgrounds Survivor)

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