This first-person shooter (FPS) has a fairly familiar formula, but the online options and entertaining gameplay make it a complete bargain at 1000 Wii points. This recent Wiiware title helps push the quality and quantity of direct downloads on this popular console. As a member of the Elite Interstellar Strike Force, you must destroy alien baddies mostly in exterior cavernous terrain.
These creatures travel by ground and air, which keeps you on your toes throughout five ranges of difficulty levels, which begin at three then expand to the full range. The aliens have a vulnerable green core and their AI isn’t too complicated, so completing missions should be a realistic goal for most of you.
The evenly important goals of each mission force a higher concentration, especially for perfectionists who want high scores and rewards. Your resulting scores/rewards depend on these four factors: number of kills, time you clear the mission, the life remaining and combos achieved.
The game has a nice design except for some dark areas where shadows and brightness can be a factor. The radar and openings above your position can help, but a few trouble spots can be hard to navigate through if you can’t increase the visibility on your TV.
In the 13-level single player mode, you get assistance from two AI-controlled compadres who join your adventurous exploits, which are broken up into three mission sets that end with a boss. They can cover your sides, back, or fire in the same direction that you’re shooting. There is no friendly fire damage in this mode, so don’t worry about your partners getting in your way.
The simple six-weapon setup consists of four primary weapons: submachine gun, shotgun, assault rifle and rocket launcher. There is a catch to all this alien carnage. If you get too close, the alien innards block your vision (easily remedied by shaking your nunchuk…just do it quickly).
Predictably, some aliens can also attach to you depleting your life (just shake the nunchuk and the remote). Shake the remote only to reload your weapons. The Wii Zapper control (that comes with Link’s Crossbow Training) can work in this game, but it takes some adjustment.
Since your shotgun can cause just as much dilemma as damage, you might want to make quick dashes (move analog stick in one direction twice) into groups then quickly pull out. The slow loading rocket launcher can give multiple fires by holding down the B button – a great option when you’re in a real jam.
The control scheme is straight forward and produces nice results, though movement can be awkward at times. You aim and shoot (B) with the Wii remote while moving with the nunchuk, which also features grenades and an ammo saving whip, though it does require recharging. Using the directional keys on the remote isn’t as convenient as the 1 and 2 buttons, especially when you’re frantically fighting, but the ammunition is the real key here. Be sure to have the corresponding weapon you want to reload when picking up cartridges.
Unlockables include secret weapon stashes (if you can find them), which features two upgrades for each weapon. You’re also assisted by a jeep armed with two miniguns. Once your ammo is out, it’s a good idea to use the jeep as a barrier to slow down enemies. A tank also provides some firepower plus it has an even better last gasp action – a self destruct which activates by pressing the A button.
Use some strategy when wiping out alien producing hives because they release quicker if you get too close too quickly. Cautious play is rewarded because of these factors while it also prolongs completion times, which can be replayed in the free battle online mode.
The music doesn’t really enhance the game much and you can skip the story related dialogue. Also the announcer voice can be disabled, a nice option especially if you don’t want to continuously hear the phrase “That’s why you’re still a kid” – another case of lost in translation.
The online modes include free battle and ranking battle. The free battle cooperative allows four players total while ranking battles have unique maps with body count high scores before time expires. In both modes, the main vices are dying (obviously) and firing on other players, which decrease your life, not theirs, so watch your line of fire.
Online leader boards provide more incentives for prime online performance and range between 1 to 1000. If you have FPS experience, you can probably complete the single player story mode in single digit hours (after defeating two bosses) while the fights against other players are endless. Comparisons to Aliens, Starship Troopers…even Centipede are unavoidable, but this action title still packs enough entertaining punch for action fans and Wii aficionados.
Onslaught is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for violence.