We nearly lost our minds with excitement during a key moment in Angry Mob Games' AVP: Evolution. In control of the Alien, the iconic Hollywood monster jumped on top of a hapless marine, pulled a facehugger from literally nowhere and slapped that sucker onto the soldier's face. Hardcore Alien fanatics may criticize such a move that has never happened in the Alien versus Predator mythos, but this fatality helps drive home the game's appeal. That, and our humble opinion that it is one of the finest movie-inspired titles we've had the privilege of playing.
Kudos to the developers for doing what Hollywood failed to achieve: create an entertaining romp starring two of the coolest movie monsters in film and comic book history, with a story best left in the background. The Super Predators have transformed Aliens into slaves. As the Predator, it's your mission to kill stuff. As the Alien, ditto.
That being the case, the game switches between both characters, and as we expected, each monster possesses unique abilities. Aliens can summon facehuggers and spit acid, while Predators carve enemies to pieces using their wrist blades, blast baddies with the shoulder cannon and even trap those suckers with the net from Predator 2. Such gadgets tie into an upgrade system overflowing with fan service, from a variety of facemasks and armor on the Predator side to different heads and body types for the Alien, all of which cost Honor or Xeno Points, respectively. Want to play as Warrior xenomorphs from Aliens? Go right ahead. Prefer to slice humans with the Predator's Smart Disc? All this and more is available at the Store, though you may need to reach certain levels to unlock everything.
Thankfully, nods to the AVP universe don't stop there. Marines not only wear the same gear from Aliens, but their pulse rifles sound authentic. The same goes for the Alien and Predator, both of which make familiar noises. Meanwhile, the character designs earn high marks, regardless of the types of equipment or body parts you equip. Even the little touches, such as the way the Predator's mandibles move around its mouth, will delight fans.
To be fair, the game features basic hack-and-slash combat with subtle variations. Button mashing will take you far, but there's more to the game than rapidly tapping the screen. One stage, for example, lets you control a facehugger with the intention of locating a host, while another sends the Alien running from a marine drop ship. Beyond that, enemies carrying shields may need a more powerful attack to defeat, while stages involving gun turrets require strategy to overcome.
As for those aforementioned fatalities, although the gore doesn't compare to the intensely violent AVP on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, expect plenty of carnage. The Predator yanks off people's heads and rips both humans and androids in half. Conversely, the Alien harnesses the power of its inner jaw to cause a ton of damage. These moves are not only gratifying, but also relatively simple to pull off.
Of course, admiring AVP's graphics is just as much fun as playing it. It is without question one of the finest-looking games on both iOS and Android. Both the Alien and Predator drip with the finest details (just look at the real time reflections on the xenomorph's head), while the same can be said of the environments, complete with APCs, Weyland-Yutani-branded equipment, science labs and a colony reminiscent of Hadley's Hope from Aliens.
There's a bothersome crashing issue that seems to occur during random fatalities and the camera will occasionally spaz out, but otherwise, AVP: Evolution is a well designed franchise tribute and a blueprint for how to do a kickass Alien versus Predator experience on mobile. We'd love to see bonus marine levels and multiplayer support, but in its current state, this title receives a deserved thumb's up.
Review code provided by Angry Mob Games.
What's Hot:Brutal Alien and Predator fatalities, plenty of fan service, quality visuals and audio, cool body parts and gadgets to buy at the store, touchscreen controls done the right way, attention-grabbing artwork between levels.
What's Not:Prone to crash, occasional camera mishap.