Most tile matching puzzle games have one thing in common: they are unending and pointless. Eventually there comes a time when you no longer want to match items only to see them disappear. Luckily, Appxplore the developers of Alien Hive have come up with a creative and challenging idea that turns the ordinary mundane matching game into something extraordinary. Whether this extraordinary idea is something that will renew your love for matching puzzle games and make it one for your Android gaming collection is what I’m about to find out. Come along with me as I step into the Alien Hive.
Be Prepared to Match Your Wits to Harvest Aliens
Grab your coke, beer, sandwiches and anything else you might need, because for the next few hours you will be riveted to your seat. In Alien Hive, you have an attractive board (or hive in this case), a bunch of pretty little items in the hive and one empty space in which to move or slide the items. And your objective is to harvest aliens. You match 3 or more eggs (the little round orange balls) to create a larvae. Then match 3 or more larvae to create an embryo (that’s the little egg with an eyeball) and then match 3 or more embryos to create baby aliens. Well, it doesn’t end there. You keep matching three-of-a-kind creatures to evolve them into a more complex species until you ultimately breed twelve frightful looking aliens!
Matching three-of-a-kind stuff is what every other game does, but what makes Alien Hive complex is that with every move you make, you lose one crystal bar of energy. Although you start the game with 100 such crystals, you find your resources depleting very quickly. There’s a way to earn them back of course; by matching other items in the hive. For instance, there are little green seeds and big crystals; matching three or more of them will pump up your energy bars, earn you points and even gold. Plus, you will also evolve them into more complex species such as plants and magical fruits.
To make things just a tad more difficult, you start seeing Naughty Bots, who have a nasty tendency to block a surrounding cell, thereby preventing you from moving items to the empty cell. The only way to disarm them is to move them to a corner, or match three naughty bots and evolve them into an embryo bot and then match 3 or more embryo bots to earn gold coins and Blasters.
Recharging Your Energies, Currencies and Batteries
Blasters are just one of the many power ups that you find in Alien Hive. They are mighty useful when your hive gets infested with bots or when you need to maneuver your way out of a tricky situation. There are Magic Fruits, which you can use to evolve any paired object; Blasters, which have the power to destroy any item in the hive, Shockwave, which will shuffle your hive, Bot Killer, which will destroy all the naughty bots in one go, Fertilizers, which will evolve your seeds into plants, and Converter, which will convert all alien eggs into crystals. Another cool power up is the Wormhole, an empty ball that fills up as you keep playing. When it reaches full capacity, you can drain it by moving any line in the hive horizontally or vertically up to 3 times.
As you keep matching items and evolving creatures you will earn gold bars which will help boost your skills. For instance, 500 bars will keep the naughty bots away for a while, 1000 bars will ensure that you start the game with a baby alien in the hive, 1800 bars will get you extra points when you hit multiple combinations of matching tiles, 3000 bars will power up your wormhole 25% quicker, 3500 bars will ensure that the naughty bots only give you half the trouble they are capable of and 4000 bars will give you an additional 50 energy bars when you start afresh.
As you keep picking up points you move up levels. When you completely run out of energy bars, your hive is destroyed. Luckily, all the resources you pick up during the game will be carried over to the next round. However, as you play the game you realize you need to do a couple of things. Dig into your pockets for some real world currency to pick up some dearly needed upgrades (The points and gold bars are harder to get as the game progresses until you’re ultimately left with one option if you want to continue playing.) Although you don’t have to spend money to play the game, moving up higher levels is not going to be easy without blowing a few quid. So be warned if your kids are playing! Well, the second thing you should do is take a break. You’ll be playing this game so long, you won’t realize you’ve drained out your batteries!
Dare You to Put it Down
Alien Hive is pretty comprehensive and you may be a tad confused with all the different items, hives, aliens and power ups, but developers Appxplore have so expertly designed this intelligent puzzler that even your little one can pick up the game and get going. There’s a small tutorial that will guide you through the game initially. Unlike most puzzle games where you tend to get your fill after hitting the top score, you just won’t be able to settle for that with Alien Hive. And if you’ve got a competitive spirit, you can also get your scores and achievements on the leaderboard and challenge your friends on Twitter and Facebook.
Graphics, Music, and Animation
Alien Hive is not just a good game, it’s a pretty good looking one too. The baby aliens are sweet, pink and adorable, the Naughty bots, cold and calculating, and plants and magic flowers adding to the attractive mix of colors and hues. While there’s nothing really special about the music, (I auto-tuned out in my eagerness to hatch an alien,) you are free to turn it off if you find it annoying. The animation effects are not too complex, it’s a puzzle game after all, but does the job neatly. As I mentioned before, you’ll hardly notice all these elements in your eagerness to build your hive and evolve your aliens.
And the Verdict is…
Well, I’m surprised you haven’t hit the download button already! Yep! Alien Hive gets a resounding Yes for Fun, Enjoyable, Challenging, Entertaining, and Engrossing. And although it does get a thumbs down for naughty in-app-purchasing pushes and in-app-ads, it is definite must have for your Android gaming collection.