If you're looking for a PSP Minis game to get for your brand spanking new PSPgo, don't get Alien Havoc!. It's a top down puzzler so frustrating it'll have you tearing your hear out and screaming obscenity after obscenity at the screen.
The premise is this: you are a little green alien. Your job is to nick cows from farms, picking them up and dumping them in your space ship. The job would be a good 'un, if it weren't for the irate farmers who chase you whenever you get close enough to aggro them.
The controls are simple. Circle picks up cows and rocks and cabbages. Triangle throws the cows and rocks and cabbages. The X button crouches. The d-pad, or the analogue nub, moves the alien in eight directions. That's all there is to it.
The game is divided up into levels, each with a set number of cows that must be delivered into your space ship. Once done, you move on to the next, each one harder than the last. If you get touched by a farmer, he carries you to his starting point and you lose a life. You've got three lives to last you throughout, which is not a lot.
At its core Alien Havoc! is a puzzle game. Careful planning before you head out into the wild is essential. You need to work out the path of least resistance to the cows and back to your space ship, planning when and where you need to drop the cows, hide in long grass or stun farmers with a rock.
The simplicity of the concept isn't the problem, it's the execution. The collision detection is awful, so much so that you often get collared by farmers when you shouldn't. The eight-way controls limit the angles you're able to throw rocks and cabbages at farmers too, making stunning them a fiddly process. But the worst thing about the game is how lumbering it feels.
Your alien moves so slowly you want to jump into the game and push it along. Pressing a direction on the d-pad or the analogue nub feels like trying to pull a double-decker bus with a rope. When you're carrying a cow, you move even slower. Running about, avoiding the farmers and carrying cows isn't fun. In fact, it's the opposite of fun.
There are other annoyances. The music is a horrible, horrible deep south twang that punches you in the face with every bar. The graphics are bland, and definitely not charming.
Alien Havoc! could have been good. The core concept is solid, and seems like a perfect fit for a PSP Minis game, but it plays so slowly and frustrates to such a degree that, even at £3.99, it's not worth a punt. Avoid like you would an alien invasion.