Last June at WWDC, we spent some hands-on time with the then upcoming Alien Space from indie developer Owens Rodriguez. We really enjoyed the title even in its work-in-progress state, and were looking forward to its release later in the year. Then this past October, Alien Space [99¢/Lite] finally launched a bit later than Owens had anticipated and it somehow slipped under our radar, though it has been highly praised by the members in our forums (nothing gets by them).

I’ve since spent a good amount of time with Alien Space, and can confirm that it is an incredibly solid dual-stick shooter. It features a 30 level campaign, a Survival mode, a suite of upgradeable weaponry, and incredibly intelligent enemy AI which makes for some frantic space battling. The real standout feature though is the absolutely spot-on controls that rival any of the other top dual-stick shooters in the App Store in terms of responsiveness. All of these factors combine in Alien Space to make for a great gaming experience.

At Macworld this year, I once again met up with Owens to discuss his current project which is an alternate version of Alien Space. This upcoming separate game will be a retro re-skin of sorts to the original game, though with at least one brand new game mode in addition to the Campaign and Survival modes.

Owens told me that he was a huge fan of the original Asteroids back in the day, and wasn’t completely satisfied with the role that asteroids played in Alien Space. As such, the main focus for this new mode is to somehow base the gameplay more heavily around the asteroids that are floating around the galaxy. Additional modes, weapons, or enemies are also a possibility for the new game, though nothing is set in stone currently.

Here’s a short video of the new retro-themed Alien Space. It’s still in progress, so the explosions and some of the weapon effects haven’t received the retro treatment yet, but it should give you an idea of the direction the game is going:

Owens is shooting to have this new Alien Space in the App Store by mid-to-late March, barring any sort of hang ups. If you haven’t yet checked out the original game, it’s currently on sale for 99¢ and there is a lite version to try as well. We’ll take a look at this new version of Alien Space with the old-looking style when it launches this March.

  • Bahazal

    ok so....how is this different than every dual stick shooter? aside from i see no graphics, no interesting guns or ships.. it looks like asteroids dual stick.

  • Dyscode

    In the report Jared said "can confirm that it is an incredibly solid dual-stick shooter"
    so no it isn´t any different. I was also talking with the dev that I am not a fan of the inertia and weapons heating up.
    But for $1 will give it another try now.

  • xStatiCa

    Looks like a winner. I will certainly be buying it.

    What I didn't like about the Alien Space lite version is that the laser fire doesn't have enough animation to it. If you are close to a space rock (2 inches away for example on the ipad) the laser fire does not show up because of the way the laser fire animation works. That put me off of the game and made it feel like a low quality game. If they were to just improve that once thing I would end up buying it. Yea it bothers me that much.

    • AlienSpace

      This is the autocannon you're talking about, correct? That one fires so fast that up close it doesnt have time to render the projectiles before they hit something. I'll definitely put this on my list of things to look at for a future update. Thanks for the feedback!

    • Anonymous

      Happens with the full version too. At least on the iPad. It does mean you have to realise this is an issue, and you're still firing, but you also don't know with enough certainty what direction you're firing (and missing!) in.

      One question: there's a campaign? Successively harder levels with more / different enemy types, yea; but no story or plot.

      • AlienSpace

        This is correct. Originally there was going to be a story with the game that explains who you are, objectives, who you're fighting, etc. Unfortunately since I was doing the whole game by myself, this just ended up being too much work so I had to cut it and make the game more action-oriented and less story-driven. My goal, however, is to eventually bring the story back when I do a sequel.

  • Anonymous

    Not to hate, but it looks like the guy playing is trying to get hit by the aliens :)

    • AlienSpace

      LOL... I confess, the guy playing was me. =) In my own defense, I was talking to Jared while also trying to remember to keep the iPad roughly aimed in his cameras direction, and only lastly thinking about not getting killed. You'll just have to take my word for it that I dont suck that much at my own game. =D

      • Anonymous

        Hahah, thanks man. I played the free version and dig it, will probably end up picking up the .99 version. I dig how the torpedo's look like they're from Star Trek.

  • Jak56

    that is one app i will DEFINITELY be getting!
    alien space with retro graphics- it doesnt get much better (apart from pewpew 2 of course, but that game is a special case)

  • KiwiGummy

    This is really awesome. The prospect of Alien Space with all retro vector graphics is just a very interesting concept. I think the game is well suited to this look. I'm also really, really curious to see what the new game mode will be like. I'll definitely have to get it when it comes out.

  • http://www.sheeparcade.com Online Games

    The game is so cool. I just hate it when I don't have much control to play game if I am playing it by touch. I still prefer the old way.