Comedic XCOM-like Attack Of The Earthlings is out now

Attack Of The Humans

We like to joke about ‘What if you could talk to the monsters?’ here on RPS, but Junkfish’s new XCOM-ish turn-based tactics game Attack Of The Earthlings goes one step further, prompting us to ask probing philosophical questions beyond even ‘What if man was the true monster after all?’.

Faced with an implacable, capitalist and shamelessly corporate foe invading from the planet Earth, you too will be forced to ask yourself: ‘What if the Chrysalids were the good guys?’.

Playing as the insectoid Swarmers, you’re tasked with defending your planet against corporate human invaders, here to strip your world of its natural resources before buggering off back into space to sell it all to the highest bidder. It’s up to you to lead a guerrilla war against your would-be oppressors, and maybe eat a few of them along the way; presumably there’s no Geneva Convention on planet X-13.

Rather than entirely ape (bug?) the Chrysalids, the Swarmers don’t spawn new units directly within fallen humans, but rather consume their foes to convert into biomass, which in turn can be funneled into the production of additional units. It seems that this is a significantly more close-combat-focused game than XCOM, with your insectoid troops scuttling through vent shafts and engaging in stealthy infiltration more than head-on assaults.

Wearing its inspirations proudly on its chitinous sleeve, not only are comparisons to XCOM hard to escape when looking at Attack Of The Earthlings, but the press release we received cites both The IT Crowd and Father Ted as tonal touchstones. Aiming high for sure. Given how hard comedy is to do right in any medium, let alone games, I’m suddenly intrigued as to whether Attack Of The Earthlings comes within a hundred miles of the mark, writing-wise.

Reviews for this one seem relatively positive so far, although common complaints on the grapevine seem to be that the game is – unlike XCOM – linear and mission-based and perhaps a little on the easy side, meaning it’s not quite the three-course xeno-tactical experience that those fresh from War Of The Chosen are looking for, but it could well be a pleasant little tactical snack in-between bigger games. Snacktical, even.

Attack Of The Earthlings is out now on Steam for $22.50/£18, with the now-customary 10% discount off for the first few days after launch.

18 Comments

  1. Vilos Cohaagen says:

    Hehe

  2. April March says:

    Given how hard comedy is to do right in any medium, let alone games, I’m suddenly intrigued as to whether Attack Of The Earthlings comes within a hundred miles of the mark, writing-wise.

    I thought the same thing. The concept is cool, and the execution appears to be well thought-out. But if the jokes fall flat and are rubbed in our faces, it’ll flounder. The ‘stinger’ of the trailer, that is only recognizeable as an attempt at comedy from context, makes me worry. But if it does work, oh boy, what a cool game it must be! Let’s be cautiously optimistic!

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      Looks reasonably well done, it’s not wacky-over-the-top Borderlands 2 style humor at all from what I’ve seen. I watched Many a True Nerd give it a go for an hour or so and he was focused enough on playing that he seems to have missed a fair amount of it even, but I found it amusing. link to youtube.com if you want to judge for yourself.

  3. Kohlrabi says:

    Why did the bug people on that world built infrastructure and buildings for humanoid people?

  4. batraz says:

    It seems clever at first to bet on moral relativism and self-loathing, two major intellectual trends of our beloved era, but they forgot the fact that nobody wants to be a damned bug… so point badly made I guess. Matheson’s « « I am legend » (the book) did it quite good, but I still doubt it’s a good gaming device.

    • Kollega says:

      I don’t know, I read the description and trailer more as a critique of rampant destructive capitalism and anthropocentric/colonialist attitudes that came to the modern science fiction from some of the older genre works… but that’s just me.

      • batraz says:

        Wasn’t my comment saying the same thing in a more abstract (and maybe pretentious) way ? I totally agree with you, but since the critique of anthropocentric attitudes mostly comes from “anthropoi”, I am allowed to call it moral relativism, am I not ? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an interesting intellectual attitude, but I simply don’t mistake it for any kind of moral superiority. And again, I don’t wanna play a Chrysalid, and it’s not bare specism : I loved to play a dog in Okami for instance. It’s just that bugs are disgusting.

        • Kollega says:

          To me, “moral relativism” is mostly known in the form of “screw these guys, they’re not us!” This game seems to actually be criticizing that sort of attitude – by means of contrast, take something like the Humanx Commonwealth series, where humans and insectoid aliens are literally best friends forever, who respect eachother and co-operate within a shared moral framework.

          Which is to say, from this news post and the trailer, I read the game less as “wow, humanity sucks, eh?” and more as “don’t choose to be a dick to other planets, otherwise you may get your face chewed off”.

      • sosolidshoe says:

        Ah yes, “moral relativism”, the battlecry of people who believe that human beings who routinely stub their own toes on stairs and routinely forget where things are while being oblivious to the fact the things are right in front of their faces have, somehow, already invented the bestest most awesomest possible system of ethics and politics and economics and the future is merely minor refinements of that existing somehow self-evidently superior paradigm.

        But sure, “don’t invade places where other people live and slaughter them for their resources” is obviously the less moral position to take than “those people/things are different to me/deficient in my judgement, so lets slaughter them for their resources”, obviously anyone advocating the former is just a pinko-lieberal-neomarxist-trot-SJW.

    • Ghostbird says:

      Plenty of games out there where you can and do play a bug, from Sim Ant to Spider: the Secret of Bryce Manor. So it sounds like your real problem is the “moral relativism and self-loathing” of suggesting that unfettered capitalism might be worth opposing? In which case, yes, the times are against you and you’re probably not going to like this game.

      • Vacuity729 says:

        Also Earthworm Jim? I’ve never played it myself, but it’s pretty well known.

    • Kamestos says:

      Nobody wants to play a bug ? A few zerg players from 1998 might want to object.

    • Chaz says:

      The only good bug is a dead bug!

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      Kiwilolo says:

      Humans are boring. I’ll play as a weird alien bug any day.

    • April March says:

      Bugs are great and cool! I love any RPG where I can play a giant bug that has like four arms and claws and also wear clothes! Though I’ll probably choose an undead or a robot over a bug.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      Playing as the xenomorph in Alien Versus Predator was pretty fun. Especially when some fancy marine didn’t remember to check the ceiling carefully enough.

    • ogopogo says:

      _I AM LEGEND_ makes for a great computering game. My recent favorite adaptations have been Minecraft, NEO Scavenger and 7 Days to Die.

      They sell very well fwiw.