I was able to go out for lunch today in Shepherds Bush, buy a burger and beer and play Alien all afternoon.
First impressions from someone who wanted to like the machine is that it's not for me I'm afraid. Game seemed slow and really not at all intuitive to me. Although the Alien head was fully working and everything seemed to be operating as intended, the call-outs seemed nearly none existent and it was extremely difficult to tell what was happening, what to do next or generally what progression looked like.
The screen where the airlock toy used to be didn't seem to add anything at all as far as I could see after extensive play. For example, during the bug hunt mode it seemed to me that the doors slid open on the airlock screen, but didn't reveal any images of use to the mode or anything that contributed to the gameplay (was hoping to see a bug or alien behind the doors when they slid open, but didn't). Maybe I'm missing something, but the screens which exist (in this case 3) aren't enough to compensate for the lack of logical instructions or audio guidance. There were times during gameplay where the whole thing seemed really underwhelming both visually and aurally.
Interestingly Alien was situated alongside Funhouse which was a clear lesson in how to make a fast game that really ramps up the sound and visuals to guide you through the game. Real work needed in this area on Alien I think.
On the game I was playing, the start and launch ball button don't illuminate? Not sure that was very helpful either, but could be a fault in this particular machine.
When sitting next to the machine with my partner having our lunch during a break it was apparent how the side art is very limited compared to other games, with a big wall of black on the cabinet and nothing at all on the sides of the back box. The modular system seems to me to be a big limiting factor in regard to how the machines can offer striking visuals. Again the contrast with Funhouse stood next to it was like night and day in terms of how these machines work as the full package.
We came away thinking that Alien looks like a machine designed by engineers with way too much overthinking going into the tech and the modular nature of the machine, but not nearly enough attention paid to the theater and playability of the game itself.
On the plus side, played Funhouse for the first time in 20 years and we both had a ball. We both decided we'll get one of those instead of Alien and swap the idea of a Xenomorph eating a ball for Rudy.
You can check this out for yourself if you are in London at BrewDog pub just off Sheperds Bush roundabout. I could play all day if I wanted as there is no queue and they had an ACDC, Big Buck Hunter and Funhouse too.
For the folks in the States who want to play desperately, its quite cheap to come to London nowadays with the dollar and pound being what they are. Might be worth a trip?
2017-05-06 14.05.04 (resized).jpg
2017-05-06 14.05.16 (resized).jpg
2017-05-06 14.05.29 (resized).jpg
2017-05-06 14.05.19 (resized).jpg
2017-05-06 14.05.11 (resized).jpg