While a majority of mobile gamers will be busy checking out the new Harry Potter: Wizards Unite that has just launched in the US and UK, I've got a recommendation for the rest of us who aren't able to join in on the early day craze? Well, I've got a nice indie game to recommend that's actually the exact opposite of Wizards Unite — it's best played alone in a dark room.
Ailment takes place on a mysterious spaceship that's made up of a labyrinth of hallways and chambers. Your character wakes up to find that nearly the entire crew has become infested with some sort of disease that has turned them into relentless killing monsters. With no memory of the previous mission and a scattering of supplies across the ship, it's up to you to investigate, find other survivors, and piece together just what the heck happened.
Fans of pixel art will appreciate the commitment to detail and design here as all the sprites and animations look great. Visually, this game nails the creepy atmosphere of a spaceship in duress and doesn't slow down even when there's a ton of enemies on screen all firing at you at once. I only wish that the camera was pulled back just a bit further so that I could see more of the environment at one time but then again the tight framing does work for the claustrophobic feel of not knowing what's coming around the next corner.
The controls are simple with a single button dedicated to shoot and interact with computers and other objects. The game automatically aims at the nearest enemy which is good because sometimes there are too many of them to try and focus on one at a time. I mean, having to manually aim would be a really nice option but the game is challenging enough even without having to worry about where to shoot.
It's a good thing that this game is not a rogue-like game because you are probably going to die early and often. The enemies charge at you as soon as you enter a room and many are armed with powerful weapons. You'll need to dodge like you're in bullet hell while firing back. Once you've cleared out a room you can loot it for health kits, shields, and additions to your arsenal of weapons.
The story unfolds through your character's inner monologue as you explore more areas of the ship, and you're able to find NPC sidekicks who will join your cause and help you in combat situations. The game is free to play with in-app purchases available to buy in-game credits which can be spent on health kits and weapons. Alternatively, you can pause the game and watch an ad to refill your health. I believe both monetization methods are fairly reasonable trade-offs to keep a game that looks and plays this well free to everyone.
Ailment is an atmospheric and action-packed top-down shooter that offers a creepy mystery narrative to solve punctuated by intense firefights with enemies.
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