Shootin’ Up Space
Remember the classic games like Space Invaders, Pong and Star Fox? More importantly, do you remember when arcade games were a thing? Alpha Task Force is an 80’s based arcade game in which the player has to save earth from asteroids and enemy spaceships. Sounds fun right? Designed by Devils Inc Studios it gives you a friendly kick in the nostalgia gland. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing along the mildly-annoyed-by-adverts bone.
I had the chance to play the demo which was fairly awesome. The first level is designed so that the player has to destroy a hundred spaceships in order to get to the boss. Throughout the level, the player is given the opportunity to gain upgrades in order to survive the asteroids and spaceships heading your way. The player is giving red death rays (I like calling them that), missiles and a little robot that shoots when you do. I particularly enjoy the red death rays because it looks badass on screen.
To use the ship the player can use either their arrow keys or the standard WASD in order to maneuver throughout the level. As well as the upgrades, the player has the option of pressing V for shields. I found that you only get a certain number of shields at the beginning but do have the opportunity to gain more. Save a few of them because the boss will kick your arse otherwise. The B button gives the player a bomb, which is useful if you are being overwhelmed by enemies. However, use them wisely as you only get a certain number of them.
Space, the final frontier… To shoot things!
As a standard normality, the spacebar is what you spam in order to shoot at the enemy. However, at times I found the fire rate of the main gun was relatively slow compared to the enemies. The player obviously can’t breeze through game. When starting off the ship is fairly weak and coming up against a shielded enemy is a bit unfair. The mechanic would work better if the ship hit a certain number of kills before going up against a shielded ship. This way, the player doesn’t lose their three lives right off.
The G button is to toggle the auto fire which I will confess, I did not use much. I’m a terrible person, I don’t use the gifts I am given. They are simple commands close together so the players aren’t yelling ‘which button is it!?’ and dying miserably. It totally didn’t to happen to me. Twice.
All the controls!
Much like the old games, the graphics are fairly basic. However, unlike the old games they are now up to date. This is a point and shoot game, there isn’t any need for fancy stuff. It is aesthetically pleasing, they aren’t the blocky, pixelated ships that look very dated. Sometimes the the colours can blend together making it hard for anyone with sight or colourblind issues. Again its a minor issue but there is only so much blue you can handle.
The boss is pretty hard. Its a monster ship with a baller of a shield and a lot of health. Not only is the shield rather strong, the player also battles mini ships. It is already pretty tough to take down the boss, the little ships act as an unneeded distraction. If the players ship needs upgrades, it would work better for them to be in the asteroids that float on the screen. This way, the player is not overwhelmed by the onslaught.
Give me a Death Star any day. At least I know its weakness.
Overall, I found it a fairly enjoyable game. Its callback to the 80’s reminds us that those arcade games were not boring. I would suggest playing it and kicking that bosses goddam shielded arse. Enjoy playing!