Stalin vs Martians Review

Being a game reviewer is not all fun and games. Sometimes we have to take a bullet for the rest of you and spend time playing some truly terrible games to save you from wasting your time and money with them. Stalin vs. Martians is one of those games and it ranks pretty highly among the worst games that I've had to endure. The short form of this review is simply a warning to pass on this game and spend your money elsewhere, but I'll provide a little detail as to why for the morbidly curious among you.

I imagine that somewhere someone played a Command & Conquer Red Alert game and thought to themselves, "I could do that." Well, anonymous would-be game developer, no you can't. The premise of the game is supposed to be a humorous take on real-time strategy gaming, pitting the circa World War II Soviet military machine against little multicolored men from Mars. The aliens just show up in Siberia and Stalin dispatches you to defeat them through encouraging letters and a techno backbeat.

The first thing that you'll notice about the game (well, maybe the second, depending on the timing of the game's first of its frequent crashes) is that it looks like something that people were playing almost twenty years ago - well, I take that back, as stating that is an insult to classic games such as StarCraft. The resolution is locked into 800x600 and the units, particularly the troops, look downright pixilated and ugly. The aliens are a hodgepodge collection of things that range from what look like tiny hopping Teletubbies to bugs to nondescript slimy kinds of things and are completely devoid of any kind of appeal or personality, and the Soviets have a small arsenal of generic looking units. The maps are colorful but look somewhat goofy, and not in a good way.

I can look past mediocre graphics in a game if the gameplay is really solid, but that's not at all the case in this game. In fact, in Stalin vs. Martians the gameplay manages to fall short of the graphics in terms of quality. First of all there's very little strategy in this strategy game. There are no resources, bases, or production structures in the game. Instead you start with a fixed number of units and you must collect coins dropped by enemies to spend on reinforcements and unit upgrades. The coins don't stick around for long before disappearing, so if you want them you'll have to pull units from your attack to be on coin-sweeping duty, which is always a bit of an adventure since units often have a hard time getting to where you order them to and your odds of them actually picking up said coins are iffy. Pathfinding in the game is atrocious, and even on short trips you'll find your army scattered all over the map. Trying to orchestrate any kind of coordinated attack is pretty much hopeless and you pretty much have to play the game with all of your units selected at once and clicking on enemies one at a time. Even this doesn't work well thanks to shoddy unit AI, but it's the best you can do.

The missions in the game are poorly thought out and even more poorly balanced. Some missions are cakewalks in which you simply click your way through the enemy units one by one until you win. Others seem near impossible to complete, effectively giving you a spoon and then sending you into a gunfight.

Everything about this game is poor - control, AI, graphics, missions - just about any game aspect you can think of, Stalin vs. Martians butchers it. This one is best left to fans of Stalin or of the planet Mars ... just kidding. I couldn't resist...

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 0%. Stalin vs. Martians ends in 0-0 tie.


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