Published on May 6th, 2011 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor
Alpha Squad Xbox Indie Review
Platform: Xbox LIVE Indie Games
Price: 240 MS Points
Developer: Dragon Divide
Alpha Squad from Dragon Divide is an example of a must-have Xbox Indie title–complete with awesome music, top-down shooter action, impressive graphics and character art, and huge knockers that’ll make a nun blush. This is the sort of game Spike TV would condone with it’s nonstop shooting, destruction galore, multiplayer co-op over Xbox Live, and of course the sexy secretary Amanda with her killer curves and cool demeanor.
The world is now ruled by an authoritarian government agency called the Alliance, who’s iron reign spans globally and rules the masses as it sees fit. The Alliance controls every aspect of life within the story arc of Alpha Squad, and the team of outlaws fight for both justice in freeing the population from the Alliance overlords as well as cold hard cash.
This awesome Xbox Indie follows Alpha Squad, a team of renegade mercenaries who accept high-priority missions for payment from the highest bidders. Recently an organization put a hit out on all the members of Alpha Squad, and the team is eager to find out who is responsible to deliver payback. The battalion is composed of four commandos each with their own traits and personalities:
Clint Asher, a former soldier enlisted in the Alliance special forces who now uses their own training against them and left the legion to use his skills as a successful mercenary for lucrative profit; Jin Kusanagi, a descendant of a long line of samurai warriors who’s past is shady as his family is tied to organized crime syndicates–it is rumored that Jin has an ulterior motive for joining Alpha Squad; Lynx, who grew up in the rubble and ruined city of New York by scavenging for food and had always hated the Alliance; and Lackey, the klutz who mocks up many missions with his clumsy actions yet his incredibly resilient armor makes him quite useful to the team.
This high-octane and action-packed Xbox Indie title combines many game mechanics into one explosive package to deliver an original and enjoyable gaming experience. Utilizing top-down twin-stick shooter mechanics found in many zombie-shooters in the XBLIG marketplace, Alpha Squad also incorporates four-player co-op locally or over Xbox Live with friends.
Controls in this game are very fluid and easy to use, especially the twin-stick dynamics where the right thumbstick shoots anywhere in a 360 degree circle and the left thumbstick controls movement. Overall the controls are fluid and understandable, a requirement for twin-stick shooters.
Alpha Squad also has a myriad of in-game powerups and weapons to purchase with chunks of Gold and Silver collected from defeated enemies. From Blade Shields that annihilate foes in close proximity to Damage Amplifiers that enhances every shot with twice the power, the powerups are very useful and sometimes required to defeat the somewhat overwhelming armies of Alliance soldiers.
Collectively using the armory of in-game weapons is essential in this game–with seven enhanced weapons to choose from, each with their own unique devastating effects players are sure to enjoy themselves in this violent and wild thrill-ride. From the boomstick to the incredibly powerful Zeus Rod–the most destructive hand-held weapon ever devised by man that harnesses the electromagnetic power of lightning–players can use an array of weaponry to conquer the Alliance forces once and for all.
There are a few unique features found in Alpha Squad that make it a fantastic Xbox Live Indie Game: the impressive overall style, concept, and design of the game compliment the detailed story arc and defined characters quite well. Also the expansive in-game features such as the armory, powerups, and multiple game modes–Arena and Story Modes–enhance gameplay to make it a must-have Xbox Indie title. The way the world map stage select screen functions is quite unique as well, providing a nostalgic feeling to classic games.
There are many shooters on the Xbox Indie marketplace, namely zombie-themed shooters, that implement the twin-stick mechanic. Alpha Squad is unique in it’s overall concept of renegade mercenaries who are fighting untold odds against an uber powerful government force. The style of the game is also quite appealing–explosions, wild gunfights with tons of crossfire, and let’s not forget the sexy female characters that provide a sense of allure to gamers everywhere.
With a total of eight firearms to use in Alpha Squad the game never gets old or repetitive, especially when playing with three friends over Xbox Live. The game is a blast both literally and figuratively, and making good use of the smorgasboard of upgrades and power-ups only enhances the enjoyment found in the gameplay.
Final Truth: Alpha Squad combines elements that fans of action shooters have all come to expect and enjoy: explosive firefights, overwhelming armies of enemies, and crazy firearms with incredible potential for devastation. Annihilate enemy forces with an array of guns like the Black Hole Cannon or the famed Zeus Rod, all the while enjoying 4-player co-op play with friends locally or over Xbox Live. For an Xbox Live Indie Game, Apha Squad is a true must-have title that provides quality content not found anywhere else on the marketplace today.
For more information on Alpha Squad or the development team that created it, Dragon Divide, please visit their website.
+ Awesome Graphics
+ Action-Packed Gameplay
+ Four-Player co-op and Multiplayer
+ Enjoyable and Replayable
+ Wide Array of Weaponry & Powerups
– Somewhat Challenging in Singleplayer
– Minor In-Game Annoyances