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X-COM Meets Wreck-It Ralph: Enemy

I haven’t played the recently released Enemy [official site] for anywhere near long enough to do a judgement but I’ve spent enough time with the game to burn down a gangster’s house and make a tree fall onto a skellington. I burned the house down in the first ten minutes after installing.

Successfully Kickstarted last year, Enemy is a one-dev project with (original) X-COM style turn-based tactical combat. The game world is a procedurally generated mash-up of traditional gaming genres, which means your party might have a bomb-lobbing platformer hero and a monster-hunting Castlevania-type fighting side by side. Environments and enemies are similarly drawn from gaming history and all of the combat takes place in destructible, physics-driven voxel environments.

The concept is brilliant and now that I’m making some progress – having restarted several times when I lost one of my three starting units on the first map – the tactical trickery is starting to reveal itself. The lack of a tutorial or clear set of instructions left me hammering away at my keyboard in search of a crouch button (it’s ctrl) as soon as I spotted an enemy on my first attempt. Then I started a fire right next to the house I’d started in. The house was made of wood. Fire spreads. My team burned.

When they burned, they panicked. Heroes and baddies both tend to panic quite a lot – their bravery drains whenever they come under fire – and the results can be hilarious. Like X-COM soldiers, sometimes they’ll flee in terror and sometimes they’ll go berserk. The latter is a sight worth seeing if the character in question doesn’t have any ranged weapons because he/she will sprint around the map, hunting enemies down and smashing them to pieces.

I’m enjoying the environmental destruction and the theme, but I’m not sure there’s as much variety in enemy and environment types as I’d hoped for. And the swampy horror levels are a bit of a drag, with their sludgy movement and how-the-fuck-do-I-kill-what-is-already-dead ghosts.

BUT I’m definitely going to be playing a lot more and these early experiences seem to confirm that the game will open up tactically as it moves along. Here’s hoping.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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