Review – Alien Hominid HD

Kids these days haven’t managed to live through one of the most magical eras in the history of gaming and the internet as a whole: the era of Flash-based browser games. If you were born in the early 90s, you have most certainly spent a good chunk of your early teens on sites like Miniclip, Cartoon Network, and Newgrounds, playing classics such as Crypt Raider, President Bush Shoot Out (no, I’m not joking), Heli Attack 2 (one of the best games of all time, don’t at me), the original Meat Boy, and most importantly, Alien Hominid. The latter became such a hit among the Newgrounds crowd that its developers were even able to port it to home consoles of the era, such as the GameCube and the Xbox.

It was an arcade-like run and gun platformer, clearly inspired by games like Metal Slug. In it, you’d control an adorable yellow alien, brutally killing FBI agents trying to hunt you down. It was also a stupidly challenging game; one hit, and you’re dead. Despite its crass visuals (though I’d assume that was part of its charm) and brutal, borderline unfair level of difficulty, it did become a cult hit on consoles as well. After more than twenty years, modern systems such as the Nintendo Switch have now received a proper remaster of this jewel from the early 2000s.

Alien Hominid HD visuals

Adorable and crass at the same time. The most 2003 of things.

Some of the improvements seen in this particular remaster include the increased aspect ratio and resolution, as well a slightly more stable framerate. It’s not exactly a game that has been ever known for pushing hardware boundaries, but its intentionally terrible Flash visuals are so endearing I can’t even get mad. It speaks to anyone who grew up tinkering with Newgrounds back in 2003, on their parents’ Windows XP computer.

The only issue in this aspect is actually a big one, sadly. I decided to review Alien Hominid HD on the Nintendo Switch because of how much of a perfect fit the system is for arcade-ish experiences. Pick up and play in portable mode, the best possible fit for a game like this. Hell, one of the best games available back in the earlier days of the system were ports of Metal Slug, after all. The problem in this regard is that enemy projectiles become too small for you to properly see on such a small screen. Considering how cluttered with detail the screen is (in its own crappy-but-adorable way, of course), and the fact that any minuscule slap on the wrist is enough to kill your adorable alien, the game becomes even more challenging than it already is, to an unnecessary degree.

Alien Hominid HD Newgrounds

Respect that tank logo.

This also hampers the gameplay as well, given how difficulty levels in Alien Hominid HD are just tied to the amount of lives you have access to, as well as a momentary shield you can acquire upon picking up a new weapon. But that’s part of the game’s nature. It was Neo Geo levels of tough back in the day, and it retains its core, hair-pulling appeal in this brand new version. To top it off, it’s chock-full of minigames, including a “PDA Mode” with small missions for you to complete. There are two freaking hundred of them. If you are too annoyed with the level of difficulty in the main game, you certainly won’t miss out on the sheer ludicrous amount of side content available in this package.

It’s all backed by pretty good controls, which are really simple to grasp (run, jump, shoot weapon, throw grenade), and incredibly responsive. Technically-speaking, there’s very little to complain about the original game, or the port as a whole. It is indeed a vast improvement over what was already a good game from back in the day. When the decent, but forgettable soundtrack is one of its lowest aspects, you know I’m just scraping for complaints.

Alien Hominid HD bosses

Believe it or not, this boss was much easier to deal with than some of the more generic enemies because I could at least see the damn thing’s projectiles!

It’s funny, it’s crass, it is super entertaining with a friend or by yourself, but also brutally unfair. Alien Hominid HD is a pretty good remaster of a cult class of an arcade game, but be ready to scream at it from time to time. It’s straight to the point: a solid revamp of a silly run and gun shooter from back in the day, complete with visual improvements, solid performance, and a ton of side content to keep you busy if the main campaign is too stressful for newcomers.


Graphics: 8.0

The crappy Flash visuals that transport you back to a more innocent era in general. Runs incredibly well. The problem lies in how small enemy projectiles are on portable mode, meaning you have very little time or reflexes to avoid being killed by them.

Gameplay: 8.5

It’s a responsive run-and-gun 2D platformer, with simple, but really responsive controls. It is just hampered by the intentionally brutal level of difficulty.

Sound: 7.0

Nothing amazing or terrible about it. The soundtrack is goofy, but not a standout. Sound effects are just decent.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Funny, crass, entertaining with a friend, but also brutally unfair. Alien Hominid is a great arcade game, but be ready to scream at it from time to time.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Alien Hominid HD is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Alien Hominid HD was provided by the publisher.