Tag Archives: Alien Scumbags

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Q&A With Monster Finger Games Volume 2

Last month, I played and reviewed a new PC release entitled Alien Scumbags. Developed by Monster Finger Games under principal designer James Ross, it’s an 8-BIT shoot’em up made as a love letter to the likes of Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem, but also features a plethora of discoverable references to a wide range of classic games, as well as modern-day hits whilst also delivering on a nice blend of horror and comedy. After having interviewed James before the release of the game:

https://scousegamer88.com/2020/05/10/qa-with-monster-finger-games/

I once again got in touch with him to find out more about the future of this title as well as the additional content planned for future inclusion and his experiences following the game’s official release. Here’s what James Ross had further to say about Alien Scumbags:

 

How has the game been received since it’s release? 

Sales are not as high as we hoped but the majority of people who have played it absolutely love it which is really great to see.

Is there scope to bring Alien Scumbags to other platforms in the future? 

Possibly Switch, but it depends how well it does on Steam really.

 

 

The last time we spoke, you mentioned further content being developed for the game and even showed me this piece of concept art. Can you tell us more about it? 

I have created several pieces of concept art and the plan is for everything to make it into the game, the last big release added another new enemy to the mix which needed another strategy to kill, the next big release will be adding another new enemy, the first projectile-based enemy so excited for people to see that.

 

You also mentioned the importance of community feedback throughout the game’s development, but how active has the community been since its release, and have you had any more important feedback after which?

The game has evolved since its release in a variety of ways due to feedback, including how certain guns work, being able to aim above, etc. A lot of the feedback has come from the amazing Twitter community and streamers.

 

What further video game references are you planning to include with the introduction of new content in the game?

I can’t tell you much about that, you will have to wait and see 😉

 

If you could develop a game in any franchise, indie or mainstream, which one would it be?

I would love to be a part of creating another Road Rash game, I think a pseudo-3D game similar to the originals would make for a really interesting title.

 

What is your favorite easter egg you’ve added to Alien Scumbags? 

My fave easter egg is the secret room that takes inspiration from a certain plumber.

 

In our last Q&A, you also mentioned developing a game entitled Super Bombardier. How has development been progressing? 

Currently, I am only working on Alien Scumbags, more levels/content will continue until the end of the year with the final ending coming at the start of 2021.

 

After your current projects, what do you envision maybe next for Monster Finger Games? 

We have a few ideas rolling around, but not sure just yet, possibly more work on the Shmup Super Bombardier or Super Mega Shark maybe, one thing is for sure you will be the first one to know about it 🙂

 

Following on from the advice you gave readers the last time we spoke, you mentioned that releasing a game can teach you a lot of lessons. Are there any further lessons you or the team have learned yourselves following the release of Alien Scumbags? 

Yes, I think the next time we release a Steam game the page will be up a lot earlier, we suffered a little from not building up a big enough wish list before launch.

 

Do you have anything else to add?

Just want to say a huge thank you for the insane amount of support you have given me with Alien Scumbags.

 

Again, I’d like to thank James for taking the time to talk to me further about this exciting game, which will have even more to offer in the future as updates are introduced. Alien Scumbags is already an extremely impressive title as is, but it looks set to be an even better game in time. As always, I hope you guys enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it and I’ll see you for the next.

Game On,

Scouse Gamer 88

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Alien Scumbags (PC)

Developer(s) – Monster Finger Games

Designer – James Ross

PEGI – Unknown (mature content)

The first title from Southampton-based studio Monster Finger games, Alien Scumbags is an 8-BIT sci-fi side-scrolling shoot ’em up survival horror game with light RPG elements, presenting a very balanced mixture of horror and comedy littered with references to classic games. I’d been following this title for some months before its release having drafted up first impressions article and interviewed the game’s principal designer James Ross:

https://scousegamer88.com/2020/05/09/alien-scumbags-first-impressions/

https://scousegamer88.com/2020/05/10/qa-with-monster-finger-games/

I’d been excited for the release of this game for quite some time and when it finally made the jump from its original platform on Game Jolt to Steam, I wasn’t disappointed.

 

Graphics – 8/10

The game is set on a spaceship gone dark named the Nostrami, which is infested with hostile alien lifeforms; the best way I can describe the overall feel of the game is it being an 8-bit version of Dead Space. Like the game Lone Survivor, it makes use of lighting despite its retro 8-BIT visual style. But in my opinion, this game makes better use of lighting than the former, as there is lighting from more sources, therefore making it look much more detailed and there much more atmospheric. 

The scenery design is also unprecedentedly varied for a game set in one location; there are not only references to other games scattered all over the place, but references to popular horror movies like Alien and It. The game’s soundtrack also accompanies the horrific atmosphere of the Nostrami particularly well in addition, making use of otherworldly synthesized tunes and sound effects designed to emulate the human heartbeat present in the first level. 

 

Gameplay – 8/10

With a gameplay structure similar to Doom, players are tasked with blasting their way through hordes of alien enemies and uncovering secrets throughout each level, such as hidden areas, additional perks, and easter eggs. There are also multiple characters to unlock (again, modeled after iconic video game characters), with their own unique abilities, giving the game replay value since each character offers a new experience with every playthrough. It’s a survival horror with the vast majority of focus being on gameplay, which, unlike many in mainstream survival horror series’, does pretty well. 

 

Controls – 10/10

As the side-scrolling genre has been redefined and reinvented over many decades in gaming, the control scheme presents no issues in this title. It’s a very bread and butter style of play that both fans of retro gaming and newer generation players alike will be able to pick up and enjoy very easily without having to worry about the logistics of the controls. 

 

Lifespan – 8/10

The game’s lifespan consists of around 20 hours of gameplay, which goes above and beyond many classic side-scrolling titles that gained popularity throughout the NES era, but there is also new content being planned for the game in addition, as the game is still being tweaked and by the developers. In the future, depending on the game’s final lifespan when all content is released, then the game’s score may have to be updated, but even in its current state, 20 hours is an exceptional amount of time for a game of its ilk to last. 

 

Storyline – 7/10

The basic premise of the game is extremely simple; board the Nostrami and take the ship back from the horde of aliens that have killed the crew and invaded the ship. There’s a comedic intro at the beginning giving the player the rundown of the situation, but where the game’s story truly lies is in its backstory that is discovered by the player as the game progresses, provided they can find the crew recordings scattered across each level. It adds a real layer of horror that players may not necessarily expect going into it, which provides that unique balance of scares and laughs that’s quite frankly unusual for a survival horror title. 

 

Originality – 7/10

Although the game is essentially one giant easter egg of references to gaming and to popular culture, its unique balance of comedy and horror certainly helps it stand out among many survival horror series to have been released throughout the years; all the while keeping the emphasis on what truly matters, which is the gameplay. I’ve been frustrated by games like The Last of Us, Journey, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which has shown promise and not delivered on what was expected of them as games, but with this title, you know exactly what you’re getting from the get-go, and what it delivers on is what players want. 

 

Happii

Overall, Alien Scumbags is an extremely enjoyable title; two-and-a-half-year labor of love that gamers old and new will not be disappointed with. It’s’ a scary, funny, and intense experience throughout and I can’t recommend it enough 

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)

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Q&A With Monster Finger Games

This week, I have been reaching out to a vast number of independent video game developers to discover new titles in the works throughout 2020. One such game is Alien Scumbags; A 2D 8-BIT side-scroller survival horror shoot ‘em up developed by Monster Finger Games operating out of Southampton, England. The game offers players a balanced blend of horror and comedy, with it being set on the Nostrami; a ship that has gone dark and is then invaded by a hostile alien race, which the players must combat to survive, whilst on the way, uncovering what happened onboard the derelict spacecraft. I composed an article details my first impressions of the game in its preliminary stages of development:

https://scousegamer88.com/2020/05/09/alien-scumbags-first-impressions/

However, I have also been in contact with the game’s principal designer James Ross, who agreed to answer a few questions ahead of the game’s release, regarding how the game’s development is progressing and what players can expect to see with the finished article. Here’s what James had to say about Alien Scumbags:

 

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What has the developmental process been like?

The development has had its ups and downs, it’s crazy to think how much can happen in 2.5 years spent working on a game. Life can get in the way and it’s tough to push through it. One of the hardest things was creating the lighting system as ending up rebuildings the existing levels from scratch, the way the lighting looks now is so worth it though. I’ve learned a lot on the development journey, one lesson, in particular, is to always keep backing up regularly. I lost around 3 months’ worth of work just before Christmas which hit me hard, but again Alien Scumbags has come back better than before.

 

How close are we to seeing the finished product? 

I aim to have it finished by the end of the year, of course, we still have the game in early access as we like the idea of people who play it having the opportunity to have their say. 

 

Though the influences for the game’s style of play have been outlined on your GameJolt page, where do you draw influence from where the story is concerned? 

It’s a tough one as I just came up with the story out of the blue really. I watch a lot of horror films and wanted the story to reflect my love of that film genre. A lot of what created the story is the monsters that I created prior to it being created, I needed to be able to link everything together.

 

What has been the most exciting aspect of development? 

Seeing it grow from being a gamejam title to something that people really love to play. I would say also managing to create the lighting system was super exciting as I really enjoy playing around with the different effects I can create with it.

 

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What has been the most challenging aspect of development? 

Staying motivated when something goes wrong, losing all my data, issues in my private life, sometimes it makes you want to throw the towel in and give up, not to mention having anxiety issues too can also give you the feeling that your game is not good enough. I have kept pushing forward though and every step is worth it when I look back. 

 

How important has community feedback been in shaping the game into what it is now?

Extremely important, for example, the game didn’t have an aiming reticule, to begin with, no run, no air boost, and right at the beginning no health bar. A lot of these improvements may not have happened if it wasn’t for the amazing Streamers/YouTubers and other devs that have given their feedback. 

 

What further cultural references are being planned for inclusion in the final game? 

The cultural references are things that tend to be added as my mind thinks of them, I can tell you that I have planned for a while to add some other gaming references including Metal Gear Solid, you will have to wait for the next update to see that though. 

 

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How well has the game been received so far?

So far people have really enjoyed playing it, throughout its development people have found little bugs and such but the majority of people have really enjoyed it. I make sure to patch out any issues people find on streams asap as I want the game to be as polished as it can be. We have built a small community of great people and hope this continues as we continue with Alien Scumbags.

 

What platforms are you looking to bring the game to? 

PC is the only platform at the moment, however, we would be open to chatting with publishers about bringing it to other platforms if there was interest.

 

What would be next for Monster Finger Games? Have further ideas for games been considered yet?

Not sure what our next title will be following Alien Scumbags. We had started work on Super Bombardier, but who knows what the future will bring.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this? 

The best thing to do if you want to make something is to do it, I would also say to try and think about something small initially and work up from that, releasing a game really teaches you a lot of lessons. Above all else enjoy the journey and don’t think too much about the finish line.

 

Where on the Internet can people find you? 

I am most active on Twitter @kkindiegame, you can email us at:

monsterfingergames@mail.com 

We have a Facebook page too at https://www.facebook.com/monsterfingeruk/ We also have a website at www.monsterfingergames.com 

 

Do you have anything else to add?

I want to thank you for this opportunity, it’s been great, and really enjoyed chatting, DM me anytime. I also want to say a massive thank you to every Streamer, YouTuber, Blogger, and fan that has supported the development of Alien Scumbags.

 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank James for agreeing to answer what questions I had and to wish him the best of luck with the game. I certainly had a lot of fun playing Alien Scumbags even this early on in development and if anyone wishes to experience this title for themselves, the game is available to download from the team’s GameJolt page via the link below:

https://gamejolt.com/games/alienscumbags/312460

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed composing it and hope you all enjoy playing Alien Scumbags.

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88