Aliens: Unleashed is aimed at gamers in the guise of one franchised brand name, but the gameplay itself hearkens to another brand name: Simon, the "repeat after me" game of the '80s. Publisher Sorrent, however, would like you to think that this mobile port is a unique shoot-to-survive game based on the popular Alien quadrilogy.
While you represent no one in particular (no Ripley role-playing here), your mission is to save humanity from the aliens that have, for no particular reason, risen once more. At first, your character is at a training base, practicing on some "Synths," synthetic aliens, meant to prepare you to fight the real ones. Of course, the synths somehow go bad, and they start killing marines (or so you are told by this little pop-up "Synth Advisor," who is there to keep up the pretense of a storyline). Soon, however, you realize that every alien, synthetic or not, is the same; every room and planet is just alike; and every mission is a repeat of the last. One would hope, then, that the repetitive action is at least exciting and challenging. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Each battle sequence is represented by first choosing an alien to fight (the selection of which is arbitrary). You then see this vicious creature whose unprotected body part of the moment is represented by the number 1, 2, or 3 flashing next to it. The idea is to press the number shown and hopefully injure the beast. That's it. You don't really block, and there are no combo moves of any sort. The screen displays a number, and you hit the corresponding button. It's button-repeating Simon all over again, only this time it's in the form of alien combat.
The only other element of interface is your backpack, where you keep looted armor and weapons. When you get a better item than you currently have, you pick it up and throw out the older one. There really aren't that many items to choose from, and you'll likely pick up 10 identical copies of what you have already before you run into something else to trade.
The environment, the alien images, and combat sounds are initially almost impressive, until you begin to notice that every station looks a bit too much alike, except for the variation in lighting color. The explosions and screams are a little too generic and noisy to be convincing. Another major disappointment is the "animation" of the aliens in attack mode. Instead of any exciting animated battle sequences, there are simply three possible states any given alien can be in (far away, close up, or eating your face). Their actions are only indicated by which image is currently on screen.
If you do happen to get addicted to the combat, there's plenty of it to be found--especially since the fighting sequences at the beginning of the game are essentially the same as those at the end. Your reward for saving humanity at the end of the game: promotion to a full Marine. Semper Fidelis! You can rest assured that you won't be dishonoring Ripley if you keep your cash in your pocket and skip this one.