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Pet Alien Review

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Developer: Shin’en Publisher: The Game Factory
Release Date: June 22, 2007 Also On: None

Aliens have long been a theme in video games, although usually as the bad guys. As an exception to that norm, Game Factory Pet Alien, a puzzle game obviously aimed at children. I am not familiar with any movie or TV show by that name, but then again, as a twenty-four year old, I don’t follow shows for young kids that much. I must confess, by way of disclaimer, that the copy of the game that I was sent is a European copy, and I will therefore be reviewing said European copy. That being said, the American release might have minor differences from the version being reviewed.

The backstory of this game revolves around five aliens and their human friend Tommy who, from what I can tell, live together in a lighthouse. Their lighthouse is caught up in a beam of light, and Tommy and the aliens are taken to a spaceship for a group of robotic aliens called the Robotix who want Tommy and his alien friends for a galactic zoo somewhere. The plot of the game revolves around efforts by the five aliens to find and save Tommy from these aliens. Obviously, this story won’t be winning any academy awards, but it sufficiently explains the reason the aliens are wandering around the ship.

Graphically, this game is pretty good. True, you won’t be awe-inspired by these graphics, but everything is clear and easy to identify. The character models are all done reasonably well and it’s always easy to tell how much room you have to maneuver. Overall, I have no major complaints here. The same can be said for the sound. The sound effects are pretty good, but not overly impressive. The music is actually quite good, though, and is well worth listening to. Of course, what little plot advancement there is is done through text boxes rather than voice-acting, but a lot of third parties do DS games the same way so I can’t complain too much about that.

The gameplay in this game is fairly simple to pick up. There are five aliens, each with a distinct ability. You must use these abilities to solve puzzles to collect crystals in each level. Once you have collected all of these crystals, you can exit the level via an exit point. The game employs all of the typical puzzle game elements: pushable boxes, moving platforms, keycards and keycard doors, as well as other things. The game also contains five boss battles in which you must figure out how to hurt the boss.

Many of the puzzles revolve around switching characters back and forth to accomplish objectives. You’ll find, however, that the puzzles in this game usually aren’t too difficult to figure out, which is to be expected since this game is aimed at young children. Actually, the challenge level is probably about right for kids aged seven to ten, but anybody much older than that will cruise through this game with little trouble. The game has eighty levels spread out between five worlds, but the levels are all reasonably short so the game clocks in at probably about five hours total if you’re looking to complete every level.

However, you don’t have to complete every level to complete the game. When you beat a level, any level directly connected to that level will open up. Some levels will not help you advance toward the boss at all, but are just there to be completed as added challenges. Why, you ask, would you waste your time with these levels? First of all, they add length to an otherwise short game. Second, for every five levels you complete, you unlock a picture in the art gallery. Sure, that’s not the world’s best unlockable, but they aren’t that much work to get, so you might as well.

More noteworthy are the minigames that you can unlock by defeating the bosses. Defeating a boss will unlock a minigame that can then be accessed on the minigame menu. These games are reasonably entertaining, but they aren’t anything you’re going to spend ages playing in all likelihood. They almost seem like they were tacked on so that the game would take some advantage of the touchscreen and microphone.

As I said, this game is fairly short and easy, and the minigames aren’t going to make a bid for large amounts of your time either, so the replay value of this game suffers a bit. If, however, you have a young child who is a fan of the Pet Alien franchise, he should be able to get a reasonable amount of entertainment value from this game so you should consider getting it for him. If you’re above the age of twelve or so though, you’ll cruise through this game too fast for it to be too worthwhile. It’s still fun though.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 6.7
Written by Martin Review Guide