The first thing you might think of when you hear “Monsters against aliens” may be the Dreamworks animated children’s film “Monsters Vs. Aliens,” but don’t let the similar titles fool you, M.A.A is a classic shoot-em-up/space defender game renovated for our 21st century. Released by ColorMe, a developer based in Beijing, M.A.A pits the human’s monster team against the alien invaders bent on unleashing killer viruses on Earth.
The game is continually moving north with a limited side-scrolling area. Graphics are unique and whimsical and the enemy’s bright neon outlines contrast nicely with the dark space-and-stars background. Animations are generally quite smooth however hovering on the edge of the screen while side-scrolling will occasionally result in a jerky transition. I’ve noticed this doesn’t really happen if you are just maneuvering from one side to another, so my guess is that hovering between areas will cause them to jump back and forth causing the twitch. The music is techno-themed and very upbeat, fitting in nicely with the pace and rave-y, dance-y look of the game.
M.A.A allows you several options for playing. You can choose from 4 different characters, 2 spaceships and 2 monsters, at the beginning of every start-up. You will also have the option of using the touch controls or the accelerometer controls to navigate your character. Because the touch controls will sometimes inconveniently place your character directly under your finger, I found using the accelerometer controls to be a refreshing alternative way to play, not having to sacrifice any screen space for finger controls. While there have been some complaints that vehicles don’t seem to be as responsive or quick in this update as they were in the initial release, the sensitivity adjustment may not necessarily be a terrible thing. Your preference for controls may be based in your gaming style. Touch controls seem to be better suited for rapid movement while accelerometer controls seem to favor steadier, more subtle maneuvers. At any rate, it’d be nice to see future updates include customizable sensitivity settings.
M.A.A. is OpenFeint enabled and though there aren’t any achievements currently, you can use it to view both friend and global scoreboards. There is only one save file in the app but your current progress is automatically saved, so you can easily pick up where you left off. Each game has 3 lives (health) and 3 continues (lives) with weapon power-ups and stars. For every 30 stars you collect, you will be able to gain another life (health) point. With 33 levels across 20 galaxies, 8 unique bosses and scenarios, M.A.A is sound, enjoyable shmup (“SHoot-eM-UP”) that will keep you entertained and is extensive enough to come to back again and again.
Here is a video demo of the M.A.A. – Monsters against aliens app on the iPhone
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