Alien Incident

1996 Housemarque Games
Designed by Mikko Miettinen, Mare Ollinkari, Petteri Putkonen
Reviewed 2005 February 12

Rating -1 Linearity narrow
Reasonability deductive Connectivity moderate
Difficulty easy Relevance strong
Interface 1st paned simple Real-time minor

Your uncle, a scientist/inventor, opens a wormhole to a distant galaxy, which accidentally transports an alien spaceship to earth. The aliens are megalomaniacs, and capture your uncle, hoping to learn the secret of his machine. Once they've got that, they'll invade earth (and the rest of the galaxy). It's up to teenage Ben (that's you) to save your uncle, the earth, and a galaxy or two.

This is a simple cartoon game aimed for a younger audience (I would guess 10-13 years old). The characters are the typical cartoon variety. Your goals are always clear.

The challenges aren't difficult, but they still manage to draw you into the game world. They're mostly simple inventory usage, but (mostly) they're not obvious lock-and-key problems: you have to think about the items to realise how an object can be a key.

The challenge layout is -- or appears to be -- non-linear enough so that you don't feel like you're on rails. There's enough scope that you are usually not sure which is the next challenge to solve, but you know your goals and you always have some obvious impediment or exploration in front of you.

The interface is simple and intuitive. The graphics are well done, nicely textured despite the old VGA blockiness.

Alien Incident is a well-made, entertaining game. It's the meat and potatoes of adventure offerings: there are no serious flaws (unless you count one mappable maze), but no elements of greatness, either.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.