1917 The Alien Invasion tells the tale of well, an alien invasion during WW1. Dr. Brunhield Stahlmuller has taken it upon herself to get on her triplane and take to the skies to bring the fight to the alien menace. Or so I believe. With the trippy soundtrack, flying a plane through space and giant naked dudes at the end of each stage I’m starting to imagine she is utterly mad. Nonetheless it is up to us to take back our giant naked men from these evil alien scum across 5 varied levels. You’ll have two modes of fire, a weak spread shot and a narrow focused barrage that makes it more difficult to control your plane.
That can easily get you killed but you have unlimited opportunities to restart at the beginning of a stage albeit missing all your power ups such as adding extra projectiles while firing. Shouldn’t be much of a problem however since this title is rather easy and the focus seems to be on gathering huge high-scores instead of just completing the game. It is a very short game and can be completed in a little of over 10+ minutes. Each of the levels are extremely short and you’ll be facing that stage’s boss in no time. The bosses are where most of the challenge comes from and can get you off guard with their rather fast moving projectiles the first time around.
Unless you pick up a shield beforehand a single shot will kill you and send you all the way back to the start of the level. There are not much enemy types to face but the environments and music change quite drastically level per level. One moment you’ll be on earth flying over the trenches filled with humans trying in vain to defend their home while music that wouldn’t sound out of place in Hotline Miami plays then on the next you are flying through space, avoiding asteroids to a rather surreal sounding track. It is without a doubt a weird game but that lends it its own flair. Plus, the announcer is simply superb and shouts lines akin to Killer Instinct such as “Combo!” with great effect of getting you hyped.
Music is another highlight and really makes me glad there is a soundtrack available to purchase for this title. The screen is rarely filled with too many bullets but if you need a quick escape there is the option to call in a Valkyrie to carpet bomb the area to wipe out all enemies (not bosses) and projectiles. After completing each stage by brutally destroying the boss as he dramatically explodes, you get a shred of story though it’s nothing that you’ll remember after shutting down the game. It doesn’t reinvent or innovate upon the shump genre in anyway but it’s a ton of fun to play for five bucks and controls perfectly. It’s only real flaw is the insanely short time it takes to complete which may be a tough pill to swallow for some even at its low price. Still, if you are looking for a quick and casual Shmup, 1917 The Alien Invasion is a very solid bite sized game.