Review: Something Ate My Alien – Digging for Puzzles

Once in a while everyone likes to enjoy a casual and fun puzzle game, and RoKabium Games is here to give us just that. Something Ate My Alien is a hand-drawn 2D platformer puzzle game where you explore different planets, looking for various resources, killing hostile monsters and solving block puzzles on your way.

In Something Ate My Alien, you play the part of the AI Antalasia that is hijacked by space pirates. You have to send down your alien blobs to different planets to gather resources as ransom. You mine your way through the planets to find puzzle rooms, and when you complete all the puzzles in a planet, you have to fight “something.”

Something Ate my Alien doesn’t offer much in the way of story except a few sarcastic comments from the pirate. But it does provide the player with more than 10 hours of gameplay. There are four planets with unique designs to explore and enemies to kill, more than 40 puzzle rooms and four challenging boss fights with “somethings.” Somethings are big wyrm- like creatures that attack you when you finish a puzzle room, but you can only kill them after you finish all the puzzles in a planet. They are a real threat during exploration, and as the game title suggests, they might eat your alien.

The most fun part of Something Ate My Alien is the puzzle rooms. You have to put the colored blocks in the correct place by clearing the way by digging, and pushing and pulling them. The puzzles are challenging and satisfying to complete, while being logical and easy enough so you won’t get stuck for too long. The controls are easy to use and let you finish each puzzle in different ways.

SAMA Screenshot Lelantos Puzzles
Some puzzle rooms have magnetic blocks that help you place the pieces in the right place.

Puzzle designs are varied and they will introduce new elements like magnets and colorless blocks as you progress in the game. The part that can be too long is getting to the puzzle rooms. Each planet has 10 puzzle rooms and your first task is finding your way there while dealing with enemies and unlocking the doors to these rooms. The planets are large mazes and you can get lost looking for a way in. Digging your way to a dead end while a horde of annoying creatures spawn around you can be very frustrating.

As you gather resources and pay the ransom, you can upgrade your equipment with the extra resources you find. These upgrades will make the exploration part of the game smoother, and some of the weapons are really fun to use like blowing up groups of enemies with the grenade launcher and burning spiders with the pyroblaster. Some equipment can be really useful for certain tasks and you might want to explore previous planets to find the required material for them.

Combat in Something Ate my Alien is both satisfying and frustrating. Enemies provide a fair challenge while exploring, but the random spawns could get out of control. There were a few times that large amounts of enemies spawned in a small enclosed space and made the situation impossible to handle. If you die while exploring, you will lose the resources you have collected and have to  be retrieved. This also adds to the frustration of getting to the puzzle rooms and taking resources back to your spaceship. All that said, I couldn’t help but laugh when one of the big somethings swooped in and literally “ate my alien” for the first time.

SAMA Screenshot Aura Pyroblaster
Pyroblaster; a low damage weapon that can deal with enemies behind cover

The design of the environment, alien blobs and enemies are cheerful and funny. The cartoonish visuals, goofy sci-fi music and sound effects, make the whole gameplay experience what it’s supposed to be – a fun and casual game to explore with challenging puzzles to solve.

The four planets have unique environment designs with different enemies to face. Each planet has a new environmental hazard to look out for and deal with while you explore, and each enemy has certain movements, attacks and weaknesses. You have to choose your weapon based on the enemies you would face in each planet to make your exploration as safe and fast as possible.

After finishing the exploration and collecting all the resources required for the ransom, you will be sent to the final stage of the game. This final stage is a series of back-to-back puzzle rooms with a final boss fight with two somethings. The faster pace of the game in this stage and the challenging and strategic boss fight at the end, shows the true potential of Something Ate My Alien. If the rest of the game was as fast and fun as the final stage, Something Ate My Alien would be much more enjoyable overall. It’s okay to sacrifice gameplay time for a fast paced and fun series of puzzles. The exploration and collecting was the main plot of Something Ate My Alien, but it’s also its weakest aspect.

SAMA Screenshot Lelantos Somethi
The Poisonous “something” in the planet Lelantos

Something Ate My Alien is a fun and challenging puzzle game. But it would’ve been better if it was just that. The exploration and digging that leads to the puzzles is not as fun, and can get boring at times. The game’s hand-drawn art style is unique and fun, and it helps exploring the map more enjoyable. But at the end, the game really shows why “less is more.” It is called a digging and puzzle game, but it would’ve benefited from less digging in my opinion.

Nima reviewed Something Ate My Alien on PC with a code provided by the publisher

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