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.