I hope you wore your probing pants.
The debate surrounding alien existence is a fierce one, with both sides equally convinced they’re in the right. Regardless of where you may stand, there’s no denying we as a culture love the idea of little green men. The concept has been a huge source of inspiration for content creators, showing up in countless shows, movies and games. Probe the Humans for iOS is one of the latest beneficiaries, although its name isn’t entirely truthful.
As I discussed in my preview of the game, there is no probing in Probe the Humans. Instead, you’re an alien tasked with abducting as many humans and animals as you possibly can. Courtesy of Ultra Rad Space Technology, you’re only in charge of controlling where the abduction beam goes, and not the ship itself (it’s constantly flying to the right of the screen). It’s a very simple control scheme, all told. You place your finger anywhere on the screen, and the beam will move in tandem with the direction your finger goes. It works well, and enables you to react quickly to oncoming obstacles.
Trust me when I say that the ability to react swiftly will save you. The abduction beam isn’t suited for things like vehicles, fences, barns, and other such items, so you’ll have to dodge them at all costs. Failing to do so results in damage to the ship, and the bigger the obstacle you suck up, the more damage you take. It starts out easy enough, but the game does a solid job of throwing in more obstacles as you progress.
But those obstacle-dense areas are no match for an upgraded ship, and that’s why the in-game shop provides you with the opportunity to improve your life bar and purchase one-time-use powers like a coin magnet. Okay, so the game is still hard even after you have that stuff, but they provide a lot of help. The game also lets you purchase additional aliens (although they cost a pretty penny).
As luck would have it, those pretty pennies can be amassed from playing the game. They’re scattered all over the ground, and you can beam them up as easily as you can beam up humans and farm animals. The more impatient player can indulge in an in-store purchase and have a bunch from the very start, but playing well — and often — will have you swimming in coins in no time.
For as much as I enjoy the gameplay and upgrade abilities in Probe the Humans, they almost take a backseat to the game’s excellent visuals. Everything from the world to the aliens themselves looks great, and there’s a level of polish you don’t often see in 3D iOS games. I don’t fancy myself a “graphics whore” in any sense of the term, but I still appreciate it when a game has an eye-catching visual style.
My only real complaint against Probe the Humans is that the abduction mechanic doesn’t make it feel all of that different from other endless runners. You’re still constantly heading right, and still dodging obstacles and picking up coins and other things. It stands out as one of the better ones out there, and I had a lot of fun playing it, but there’s always room for more innovation in a genre as crowded as the endless runner.
At the current price of free, you’ve little reason to let Probe the Humans go unplayed. Unless, of course, you or someone you know has been abducted by aliens in the past. If that’s the case, this entire review has been in bad taste, and I owe you an apology.