When I booted up my second Sega Forever title, I wasn't sure what to expect. Sonic 1 was fun, but the controls weren't great. Touch screen controls can be excellent when the game is designed for them, but retrofitting a game designed for a physical controller to be played on a smartphone, well, sometimes is a bit disastrous.
And that's exactly what I expected Alerted Beast to be — disastrous. I mean ... a 25-year-old beat-em-up using touch controls? With three actions buttons, no less? I didn't anticipate an experience with tight control.
But I was pleasantly surprised. I won't lie — touch controls are no replacement for physical buttons in this case. However, I didn't find myself struggling to control my character. When I wanted to punch, he'd punch. When I wanted to turn around, he'd turn around. When I wanted to beat the boss ... I would die. BUT that wasn't the game's fault, so much as my own lack of talent and coordination.
The problem with Sonic was he'd move so fast you want tight controls to be able to react to upcoming obstacles. The touch controls didn't give me that option, so I'd end up running into a lot of things.
Altered Beast is, in a way, a much slower game. While enemies are coming from all corners for you to beat up, your character doesn't move that fast. In fact, he essentially walks his way through the game.
No complaints from me — that speed made controlling my character much easier.
The game plays well and is a lot of fun. Enemies are varied, from both a design and behavioral point of view. You have to learn each one's style of attack to know exactly how to defeat each every time you encounter them. Some enemies you need to kick, others you need to punch. Some enemies require you to run and dodge until the right moment to strike. It's a game with plenty of challenge that rewards players for paying attention and studying their opponents actions.
The powerups are also sweet. The wolf-man gives you additional, powerful moves that clear the area of bad guys, and the dragon ... the second I figured out you could fly, this game sold me.
Altered Beast's only real drawback is — I feel like I'm going to be talking about this a lot — the ads. It's incessant. Ads are everywhere in this game, just like with Sonic. The title screen has ads, every loading screen brings up an ad ... you will never escape the ads. Unless you pay $1.99 for the full version of the game, of course.
And that's exactly what these ads feel like they're doing — they're purposely trying to annoy the crap out of you, so you just bite the bullet and pay full price for the game. It's difficult to get angry at Sega, though — $1.99 is nothing for a good game. Sega didn't have to make this free, but they did, and it doesn't cost much more to get an ad-free experience.
I think the fact that this game plays better than Sonic makes me more understanding about the ads, in a weird way. I'm not sure I could justify the $2.99 for Sonic, and somehow that made me even more mad at the ads. Yet, Altered Beasts feels like it's worth the $1.99, so that when I'm plagued with adverstisements, I think to myself "Sega is just giving me options."
I still ain't buying it, though. Altered Beast is a fantastic effort from Sega, and while the ads can get annoying, the game plays so well you'll forget all about it.
+ free to play
+ good touch controls
+ fun, deep gameplay
– ads, but that's to be expected
This review is our opinion based on the quality of the game, factoring in things like gameplay, storyline, advertisements, cost and in-app purchases, and touch controls.