Alien: Isolation was a really, really good video game. It’s arguably the only game to truly recreate the atmosphere of the original 1979 movie, and the only game that deserves a character named Ripley - specifically, Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen and engineer of spaceships.
It’s now getting a sequel - and it’s a mobile game. This has many fans in an uproar, because “mobile” means “bad,” apparently, or more likely simply because they want more Alien: Isolation, which means console and PC. That's a fair thing to want. Alien: Blackout is an entirely different thing, though, and it’s out on iOS and Android later this year. It also seems a prime candidate for a low-priced Nintendo Switch port, but FoxNext, D3 Go and Rival Games can cross that blindingly obvious bridge when they come to it.
So what do we have in this mobile Alien game? According to the game’s official website, players will strategically protect crewmembers from a hungry (or just angry) xenomorph “using only the space station’s limited power supply to operate a holographic map, surveillance cameras, and motion tracker.” That sounds very much like the surveillance-camera spook-em-up Five Nights At Freddy’s, and based on the trailer, it looks like it too, albeit with a mobile-AAA paint job. Honestly, that’s a solid way to transmute the suspense of Alien: Isolation to mobile using mechanics that work for that platform. If you have to have a mobile Alien game, you could do way worse. It could even end up being quite good. We'll see.
The game also pays unexpected homage to Alien, the 1984 game for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum (the second-ever licensed game from the franchise, after 1982’s glorified Pac-Man clone). The in-game map - through which the player tracks systems, crewmembers, and motion-tracker blips - bears uncanny resemblance to that of the earlier game, as does the overall goal of the game. What a curious throwback.
If you’re looking for something more action-packed from your Alien game, Cold Iron Studios has a shooter of some sort in development. If you want a “proper” sequel to Isolation, you’re shit outta luck. For now, anyway - based on the official Alien twitter account, it seems Blackout is part of a larger multimedia strategy based around Amanda Ripley. Let’s see where this goes.