S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team Review - Screenshot 1 of 5

It is the year 2029 and aliens are attacking the earth. Have they observed mankind’s violent nature and opted for a pre-emptive strike to protect themselves? Or do they just dislike the way the people of S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team have taken to painting their buildings a shade of purple? Whatever their reasons they’re here and they seem keen to fight. Time to strap on a jetpack, then, and go blow some stuff up.

You are given the choice of the strangely familiar-looking Arnold or Sigourney to fight the alien menace. Familiar in the profile pictures, that is; in-game they lack features and are mainly differentiated by their choice of coloured clothing. Sigourney also has boots and something sticking out the back of her head that could be a ponytail (though that doesn’t match her character portrait), but the differences are purely cosmetic and the two heroes handle identically.

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Though using a jetpack, manoeuvring your chosen character around feels the same as a typical ship in a scrolling shooter; as well as scrolling right to left the screen sometimes scrolls up and down as well. Near the start of the first level you travel up one side of a building, along the top and then down the other side, blasting attackers all the way — similarly a later level sees you working your way around a giant ship blasting pieces of it off as you go.

The game gives you an energy meter, and whilst this means you can make the odd mistake without losing a life it's certainly no pushover. Very early on you will find yourself weaving about the screen franticly shooting enemies as you avoid bullets, beams and homing rockets from all directions.

There are items to boost your speed and replenish health in addition to a few weapon upgrades. Each of the three collectable weapons have their benefits, but the most useful items actually stay with you throughout the duration of your playthrough — a pair of orb drones that move around your character firing as you do. With a simple tap of a button they can be locked in place wherever works best for your current situation; additional forward firepower, covering your rear or maybe aimed at the diagonals to take out sneaky attackers. It’s a good addition to the gameplay, differentiating this from other shooters, and you will be adjusting the positions frequently as you progress through the levels.

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Most of the enemies and objects have a simple design but there’s a range of obstacles, drones, troops and turrets to stop your mission looking the same throughout. The scenery is a bit more detailed but keeps to a basic colour scheme; the amount of background detail seems to decrease the further you progress — the opening level features ruined buildings and lightning bolts strike in the distance, while later on the action moves into space complete with stars, but by the end there is a plain black backdrop.

Basic backgrounds are a good way of making action easy to follow, but even with a detailed background and lots happening on screen the simple designs and sensible use of colour make this game accessible even on the small 3DS screen. One thing that is a problem, however, is the occasional graphical flicker. Sometimes it’s just an irritating distraction, other times it becomes hard to keep track of what’s where on the screen and consequently you take a hit to your health – or worse still lose a life.

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Accompanying your fight for survival are a bunch of simple sound effects; they screech and beep but in a way that compliments the onscreen action. If there is one thing to fault with the sound effects it’s that they tend to drown out the excellent music. Some of it is unremarkable, but listen between the explosions and zinging lasers and there are mostly foot-tapping funky tunes to be heard.

With just five levels this is a game that can be beaten quickly, though this does work well for entertaining gaming on the go. Whilst it can be beaten quickly, getting to know the levels takes time; it should be a while before this actually happens. It gets tougher as you progress and things get quite hectic on screen, too, so you’ll spend as much time avoiding the enemy fire as you will trying to destroy the enemies. To make things trickier should you lose a life you are thrown back to the start of your current level rather than bumped back a short distance to an invisible checkpoint; if this gets too frustrating there is always the option of setting a restore point.

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Thanks to the presence of Download Play, you and a 3DS-owning chum can also partake in some simultaneous two-player action. It makes things a bit easier as you can concentrate on certain parts of the screen whilst your comrade-in-arms covers the rest — it’s a lot of fun and adds to the replayability of the title.


The orb drones are an interesting addition that work well, and whilst a lot can be happening on screen the action remains easy to follow apart from when some annoying graphical flicker takes place. S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team is a short title but it provides a decent challenge, and should you be able to arrange a ceasefire with the alien forces there's some good music to be heard. Throw in a fun two-player mode and S.C.A.T. should provide players with plenty of entertainment.