BREVITY OR BUST: Stalin vs. Martians
November 08, 2009

It's called Stalin vs. Martians.

That's the review in a nutshell. The name tells you all you need to know about this utterly barmy and impossibly stupid strategy game, from which the "strategy" bit seems to have been left out. You select legions of Soviet troops, then click like great heck on the endless stream of alien foes until they die in a big explosion of ridiculousness. There is no strategy. There is just charging and hoping.

It should be rubbish. It is rubbish. It looks awful, there's absolutely no variety and the gameplay is as mundane as it gets. Its sense of humour is childish, the AI bugged and broken.

But it's kind of impossible to hate. It's all so cheeky, irreverant and knowing. It's a hugely self-aware game, and you get the constant impression that its trio of developers understand exactly how awful it is, and that we're all in on the joke together. No other game, for example, is ever going to cut to an intermission in which Josef Stalin dances to drum and bass music. No other piece of entertainment is ever likely to feature the line "I am a Bolshevik on a bicycle."

When you're actually parting with money for such a thing, the wacky humour and sly parody will only carry it so far. But you can't hate this game. I mean, it's called Stalin vs. Martians. What's not to love?

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Halon Halon - November 08, 2009 (05:23 PM)
This is probably the most positive opinion I've ever seen about the game. Apparently it was so bad that the developers pulled it off the market.
Lewis Lewis - November 11, 2009 (01:52 AM)
They didn't. They dropped the price enormously, though, from the original 20 to about 5, which I'd say is really as far as you'd want to push it. I found it to be utterly awful for the first half hour, then I got it, and it became brilliantly amusing. For, um, about another half hour. The joke wears thin pretty quickly.

The game takes itself about as seriously as you have to take it in order to enjoy it. But the press material kinda led me to expect that. Had I gone into it totally blind, I suspect I'd have passed it off as impossible nonsense right away.
radicaldreamer radicaldreamer - November 11, 2009 (05:13 PM)
I think when the price is that cheap it can make people want to buy it just to see how bad it is. At least that's the effect it's having on me.
Lewis Lewis - November 12, 2009 (05:11 AM)
It is worth noting that this is the only game I have ever played that includes, in the options menu, the following question and tickbox:

"Do you like cats?"
Lewis Lewis - November 12, 2009 (05:14 AM)
Actually, turns out Sportsman is perhaps right. A glance at the game's website says it is not currently available, but to watch this space for an updated version. Hmm.

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