I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to Geography, I don’t know much. I mean, I know what my own country looks like, but ask me to identify Holland by the shape of its land mass and I’d honestly be stumped. Aliens Abducted (Out Now, $0.99) aims to help me, and kids that don’t know better, brush up on the subject.
Moe is just a regular farmer working on his crops when all of a sudden he’s abducted. Although it sounds like a terrible fate, the UFO that kidnaps him actually helps him avoid a hurling meteor that annihilates his home planet. Moe, along with his two other alien buddies named Barry and Marvin, are now that last of their kind, charged with finding out all they can about Earth. Why they come to Earth isn’t clear but it’s not really important. In my mind they need to know about Earth so that they can swoop down and destroy it, but these characters are too adorable for this theory to be feasible.
Once you start Aliens Abducted up, it’s obvious the game was made primarily for kids. It’s education made fun. There are two main modes in the game. Flags Level Mode is the main game as Moe and his two buddies try and match the flag to the land mass. Three flags and their country names pop up on the right side of the screen and the shape of a country is highlighted on the globe (and pulled out on it’s own, just in case you’re having a hard time seeing it on the map).
Your task is to match the flag to the corresponding piece of land. You get three chances to get it right, but if you do guess wrong one of your alien buddies gets eradicated! It’s important to tell your kids that should they get an answer wrong in a real classroom, the teacher won’t fry them with a laser (at least I hope not). Guessing isn’t all that hard as they don’t typically show you flags that are close to the country that you’re trying to guess. The faster you guess the more stars you get and even though you know the exact country and flag combination, it’s real tough to get a level with 3 stars. If you want to add a sense of urgency to the game, there’s Flags Free Mode, which gives you one life to guess as many countries as you can. Controls work fine, as all you’re doing is tapping your choice. Flags Mode is fun and educational but more so for kids than for adults. Although I did learn a bunch while playing it, I did get bored of it not long after I started it.
And that’s where the other mode comes in. Escape Mode is an endless runner in which you take control of Moe and run away from your captors. You run, jump and collect coins as you try and escape the ship. With enough coins you can pick up a blaster and fight back. Story wise, this doesn’t much make sense. If Moe is trying to escape, then why make it an endless runner? Doesn’t that mean that there is no escape? The mode is a nice addition (even though it doesn’t make much sense) and a welcome addition if you get too bored of Flags Mode, but the controls don’t really hit the mark. The jump button isn’t the most responsive and the shoot button is just teasing you when you don’t have enough coins to buy a weapon.
Aliens Abducted went for the cuteness angle and they hit the nail right on the head with its art style. The aliens are adorable and you do feel bad when they get eradicated. The music is slightly annoying and can’t be turned off even when you turn off the sound on your device.
iFanzine Verdict: Aliens Abducted is a great game for kids, but when it comes to adults there isn’t much depth. I admire it for taking a fun way of educating the population, but it’s just not for us grownups. The addition of Escape Mode might be made for adults, but the controls keep it from holding my attention. Math and Quotations are coming in an update to add some educational depth to the game. This isn’t for everyone, but get it for your kids or if you’ve ever really wanted to know where Azerbaijan is.