Maddening, frustrating, and yet coming back for more. Appxplore's Alien Hive will make you feel that way quite often. Why? Well let's open a hive and see.
In Alien Hive you are in charge of evolving the life inside of a, well, alien hive. Grow plants from seedlings, evolve one celled embryos into different alien species, and power it all with crystals. It may lack a story, but not all games need a story.
Controls and Gameplay
Alien Hive is so simple anyone can play it. It's a match three (or more) style game with strategy elements. You slide pieces around the hive to match them up. You can move a single piece or a whole row or column if you wish. When you match up a three or more instead of disappearing they evolve to the next level, so embryos become baby aliens, seedlings become sprouts, etc. Crystals are exceptions to this rule, they become energy. Instead of playing against a timer you start with a set amount of energy. Every time you make a move it costs you one point of energy. When the energy is all gone, the game is over.
Thinking your moves through as you play is important. You want to try to be matching something up with each move, but that is easier said than done. Have I mentioned the robots yet? No? Heh, well, while you are busy matching and planning robots will sometimes be randomly dropped in. Now here is where the madness and frustration come in. The robots will freeze one item. If that item happens to be in a column or row you want to move well too bad, you can't move it. Every time you move something the robots will switch and freeze a different item. You can move the robots around like everything else and when you match three of them they become trapped in a force bubble unable to freeze anything.
There are various that can power-ups help. Some of these are earned, others you can buy with gold earned at the end of each game. An example of a power-up you can earn are the plants eventually become a flower that you can use to match two items instead of three. The robots can eventually even become an eliminator power-up, so everything does have a use. Any unused power-ups carry over to your next game, so you can stockpile them if you want.
Graphics and Sound
Alien Hive goes with a big head cartoon style art that lends a cutesy look to the aliens.
The music is nice and relaxing, which you will need when those robots freeze up a move had planned.
Alien Hive is another well put together puzzle app by Appxplore. It rides an edge between frustration and reward. You will be moving along making great progress, when suddenly you realize the puzzle is really messed up and those pesky robots are freezing your best move. Have I mentioned how frustrating those robots can be? The biggest frustration I have is that while the game is free and you can evolve an alien eventually, there is a push to buy two permanent power-ups. One doubles your starting energy, the other increases your gold earned by 50%. Either one will remove the few ads that pop up. Each one currently costs $1.99, so it's relatively inexpensive to for a good puzzle game, and they do help a lot. Even with both power ups you still have to plan your moves well. As of this writing I have not evolved a full alien, but I have gotten very close, damn robots.
With good thoughtful gameplay and a relaxing soundtrack, but a semi-aggressive push towards an in-app purchase I give Alien Hive a 4 out of 5.
Alien Hive is rated Rated 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence on the iTunes App store and rated Low Maturity on the Google Play store.
For more information seeAppxplores's Alien Hive web site.