Picture this: You’re staring at the menu in Starbucks, debating whether to order a coffee or a latte, with 2% milk or soy, and in a tall, grandé or venti cup. You feel almost overwhelmed by options, but will be drinking fast-food coffee no matter your choices. And you know there is better coffee out there, probably not far away in a locally owned coffee shop. Also, it’s Christmastime in Starbucks — that’s early November — and so you will have to drink your coffee from their Christmas-themed cups, which aren’t nearly as nice looking as their usual cups, and while enduring the latest in trite, trendy Christmas songs.
And that’s pretty much the way I feel about Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet from IUGO Mobile. It doesn’t take long to see all there is to see, and you know there are better experiences out there. It’s a dual-stick survival shooter like so many others, banking on its aesthetic to separate it from the crowd. In a way, the aesthetic manages to do just that, though I’m not sure whether the game is separated from the crowd in a good way.
The story is simple: there isn’t one, and so I’ve made up a story of my own, and I’m going to share it with you.
It was a hot, dusty evening in New Mexico. Daisy Mae had a date with her beau, Hank, at the local drive-in theater. After watching Independence Day for the fourteenth weekend in a row, Hank decided it was time to partake of Daisy’s nubile blessings and drove her in his pick-up truck into the quiet expanses of the desert. Beneath the stars, the two began to carry on in the back of the pick-up, but Daisy’s lack of haste in the matter soon grew tiresome to Hank. “Quit yer teasin’, Daisy Mae, and git nekkid!” he shouted. At that moment, at the sound of his shouting was the night aroused to assuage his frustration: a snort in the dark, the lonesome cry of a javelina. “JAVELINAAAAaaaa!” Hank wailed, forgetting all about Daisy Mae and plunging into the black. Alone in the dark, without the keys to Hank’s pick-up, she awaited the dawn. The coming of light revealed all. Hank’s proclivities had not lead him into the waiting arms of a buxom peccary, but into the gaping maw of an alien predator. “AREA 51”, read a sign some distance away, and Daisy Mae knew immediately what she had to do. Without a moment’s hesitation, she plunged both arms deep into her shortcut denim shorts and withdrew from her nethers twin tommy guns. She’d have to kill the aliens before they killed her. It’s what Will Smith would do.
Daisy Mae’s AREA 51 is an incongruous mash of nonsense. There are abandoned tanks, a children’s playground, a crashed UFO, over-large telephone poles, old junk cars, some large craters and a diner. The area is large; there is plenty of space to move around, and more than a few obstacles in the landscape to use for cover. Aliens come from all directions, hungry for Daisy’s sweet fanny. Daisy can shoot them, or taunt them. The taunt meter fills as you kill, and can be used to clear an area of enemies. Upon executing a taunt, Daisy will spread her legs, flaunt her tush or in some other way … present herself. Those aliens so fortune as to see Daisy’s shameless display vanish. Kind of makes you wonder what might have become of Hank had she gotten nekkid in the truck.
By meeting achievements in game, you can unlock new costumes for Daisy. By default, she dresses like Daisy Duke, but you can also dress her up like Tarzan’s Jane.
Alien Carnage: Blasting aliens is ever a good time, and the game is called Daisy Mae’s ALIEN BUFFET for a reason. You will have plenty of things to shoot at. The peon aliens aren’t impressive, but the larger and later enemies make for greater joy and ample targets.
She Jiggles: Ahem … I. Am. Male. And IUGO is doing it on purpose.
Visual Presentation: The textures are low-res and blurry, Daisy is low-res and jaggy, and the monsters fare no better. There’s an annoying “film grain” effect that plays over the action, which looks horrible and spermy. You can disable this in the options, but that doesn’t help the game’s long list of other visual offenses. Whatever creativity may or may not be present in the design, it’s all been marred by graphics reminiscent of the first PlayStation’s earliest and ugliest titles.
Interface: In the options, you can choose to either Show or Hide the controls. I would like to have seen a middling option titled “Less Obnoxious”. The virtual joystick is designed to look like a beat-up steering wheel, and the shooting stick is a busted gun scope. Both are way too large and ugly. Between them is the taunt gauge/button, a silhouette of Daisy striking her secret agent pose which is, again, too large. Up top there are three lipstick stains representing Daisy’s health, a kill counter, ammo counter and the pause button fashioned as a worn stop sign. All of this is twice as large as it needs to be and contributes to a lot of unnecessary clutter onscreen. You can optionally hide the the movement and targeting controls, but not the others.
One Map, One Mode: There’s only one map. One bland, blurry, low-resolution map. And there’s nothing else to the game.
The Paralyzing Enemy: There’s one enemy that can paralyze you, and this will spell utter disaster for you. It’s a cheap way of bringing your game to a premature end. When the only things you can do in a game are shoot and move, and then suddenly you can’t move, that’s half the game gone out the window. In this type of game, paralyzation is an artificial method of adding difficulty of the unfair variety. I cry foul.
Weapons: The characters and setting scream shotgun, but there’s not a shotgun to be found. The game’s best and most useful weapon are Daisy’s default tommy guns. Aside from that, there’s a a shuriken tosser that looks like a pizza coming out of a delivery bag, a rocket launcher that looks more like something from a Krispy Kreme kitchen, and a fire-breathing voodoo mask that doesn’t make any sense at all. There’s also a machine gun that looks like a hotrod engine, and a few other bizarre weapons.
Muzak: In general, the sound is pretty bad in the game; the music is downright awful, and the sound-effects aren’t worth writing home about. There’s some bass guitar and percussion over the menu that aren’t too bad, but then the in-game music is this generic techno that neither enhances the setting or the entertainment value of the title.
IUGO VIP: By obtaining 16 VIP points, you can unlock an exclusive costume for Daisy. IUGO’s VIP program is an attempt to turn gamers into free marketing engines. You obtain points by convincing your friends to buy IUGO’s games. As I see it, this program is fundamentally awful. First of all, I don’t like having to become an unpaid salesman for a game in order to unlock the game’s content. Having already paid for the game, it’s [ expletive deleted ] to be treated this way. Secondly, I will not recommend a game to a friend unless I feel I can get 100% behind it. And when it comes to getting behind Daisy Mae … well, the view isn’t as nice as being behind Tehra, and the game isn’t as good as most other dual-stick shooters. Honestly, IUGO’s VIP program is worse than DLC.
As you may have gathered from my lacking list of Likes, there’s not much on offer here. Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet is not a bad game, nor is it fundamentally broken. It’s just lackluster in every conceivable way, a one-note experience that grows quickly tiresome. There are a million other dual-stick shooters outclassing this one, and the only thing Daisy has that they haven’t is boobies. Nor is IUGO trying to hide the fact, as the boobies are prominently featured in the game in the pre-game jiggle and the in-game taunts. And it’s not just the boobies, but also Daisy’s … other … nubile … bits.
Honestly, by the time you’ve gotten five minutes into Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet, you will have seen just about everything the game has to offer. The only reason to go on playing after that is to unlock the three or four costume changes, as the game has no other staying power.
With its overall aesthetic, the film grain, etc. Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet wraps itself in the trappings of a B-movie. But what the aesthetic fails to mask is a B-rate game. For gamers who just can’t get enough dual-stick shooters, Daisy Mae may be worth a look. Most gamers will find there are a number of more worthwhile titles in the genre, though. That or they’ll get hands-on, pull a Hank and go chasing javelinas in the dark.
Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet published by IUGO Mobile Entertainment and presently commands $1.99 at a 33% introductory discount. Reviewed on an iPhone 3G.