Evolution is a pesky puzzle that has kept society confused for a long time. Up until Darwin, we only had suppositions and wild claims as to the diversity of life in on our planet. But what about other planets? How would life multiply into all its variant and amazing forms on a planet far removed from our own? Well, according to Alien Hive, it may happen when you match three of the same creature in a row. Kinky.
Alien Hive is a brand new puzzle game that aims to add a new layer to the line-em-up matching games that have come before. Instead of matching up lines of crystals or balls in order for them to disappear in a puff of smoke, Alien Hive asks you to push together three of a kind to make an organism of a higher order. It is a puzzle game where evolution as strategic thinking is at the forefront of gameplay. This inspired notion gives Alien Hive a whole new feel to the old puzzle game.
Rows of plant buds and single celled eggs are what you begin the game with. You have to match three of a kind by sliding them through rows and columns. You can move just one at a time or as many as you like as long as they are in the same row or column. Once you place three in a row or “L” shape, the microorganisms are combined into a slightly more complex plant or creature. Then you have to repeat the process to make two more advanced creatures before you can combine them into and even more complex being.
Unlike other puzzle games where you’re working against the clock to frantically rack up a high score, Alien Hive lets you sit back and contemplate your next move. If other matching puzzle games are checkers, then Alien Hive is chess. You have a little counter in the top right letting you know how many moves you have left. Matching up plants replenishes the number a little bit, while matching up power crystals gives you a more healthy boost in the number of moves you’re allowed. It requires critical thinking with every move and is a fresh way to play a puzzle game.
Occasionally throughout the game, little robots will appear on the screen and they’ll grab onto whatever is next to them. Whatever they’re holding becomes stationary and can confound your your plan for sequential evolution. But, you can disrupt their machinations by lining up the robots themselves. Then they can become part of your evolutionary quest.
There are an assortment of useful bonuses to be added to slots to boost your score or prevent robots from showing up early in the game. You also can purchase items to help you get farther and farther into the evolutionary timeline. Bombs blast away whatever they’re placed upon and the charged portal gives you three moves to slide whole rows and columns.
Once you make it far enough into the game, you finally start to see more and more complex plants and beings which will be logged into your little creature book to be referenced later. Rather than just a high score that you’re constantly looking for, it provides you with some more motivation for enacting a grand scheme of evolution that you happen to be making up as you go along. Kind of like natural evolution anyway.
Couple the inventive mechanics with an adorably intriguing aesthetic and catchy little soundtrack, and Alien Hive looks and feels like the best puzzle game I’ve played in a very long time.
Alien Hive is an evolution of the matching game and its adaptation will give it the advantage in the wilds of your home screen where apps compete for your fingers. It’s brilliant, addictive, and endlessly fun.