Many movies in pop culture show what would happen if aliens invaded Earth. Few though ask the question of what would happen if humans were the ones doing the invading. Attack Of The Earthlings dips it toes into this idea. It recently released on Steam, but is set to release on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One this summer.
The plot of the game is fairly simple. Galactoil, a galactic energy corporation, are so obsessed with harvesting the universe for energy that no planet is off limits. Galactoil have set their sights on Planet X13 and begin to start harvesting the planet for energy. There is just one thing they didn’t count on; aliens. Well I mean they’re not aliens on Planet X13, but they’re aliens to us.
The “aliens” decide they’re not standing for this and decide to stop the invading humans. Decide is a word I use very loosely with Attack Of The Earthlings. The aliens don’t ever communicate this, but it is clear from the objectives in the levels that stopping the Galactoil drill is their objective.
The gameplay for Attack Of The Earthlings is fairly straightforward. The drill is separated into floors, with each floor acting as a level. In turn, each level has it’s own objectives (main and optional). Level 1 sees you cutting off power to the drill, while level 2 sees you eliminating the maintenance forces who are trying to get the drill started again and so on.
You start each level with one alien; the Matriarch. The Matriarch is the player’s main alien; if it dies, the level is failed and you have to start from the last checkpoint or choose to restart the entire level. You roam around the level, killing soldiers or workers and consuming their corpses to gain biomass. It isn’t as easy as this however. Each alien you control has a certain number of Action Points (AP). Moving, laying traps, consuming corpses all uses AP. Once your AP is used up you cannot move for the rest of the turn, so you must take that into consideration when planning your turn. Once you finish your turn the Galactoil employees and soldiers take their turn, roaming around the map going about their business (even in areas you cannot see). If they see the alien they will attack you so you must be careful where you end your turn. If they see a corpse they will also come to investigate, which is where consuming the corpses comes into handy. Doing so leaves nothing to be discovered, but you must remember to watch that AP.
The biomass can then be used by the Matriarch once per turn to spawn a Grunt. Each Grunt costs 4 biomass to make so they are easily made. They are also easily defeated, and so the game offers an evolution system. The evolution system allows you to upgrade your Grunt to a higher level of alien; either Stalker (which assassinates enemies with it’s armour piercing attacks and lays traps), Disrupter (which attacks the enemy from afar, and can also lure enemies to certain places by creating sound) or Goliath (a tank with high armour). Each of these has it’s uses, but you must also watch your total numbers; more aliens under your control means more aliens that could be detected by Galactoil employees.
The other cool element to Attack Of The Earthlings’ gameplay is the ability to make your aliens perform a group attack. When you have multiple aliens under your command it is possible to have all aliens attack an enemy at the same time. It is also easy to do. You simply command your alien to attack an enemy, and it will stand next to the enemy you wish it to attack. You then command your other aliens as normal, have them attack the same enemy (or do something different if you wish). Then instead of pressing enter to end your turn you simply click execute next to the End Turn button on screen. This will cause the aliens you commanded to attack to commence attacking, and is particularly useful on those tougher enemies with higher health points.
Upon completing a level the player is awarded with Mutagen. Mutagen is essentially the game’s currency. This currency can then be used to upgrade each of the aliens (except Grunts). It isn’t a skill tree, just a set of skills for each alien type that you progress through. You unlock one skill by buying with the Mutagen you have earned, then you purchase the next skill. It would have been nicer to see some flexibility in what skills you could choose, like a full skill tree that allowed you to customise each alien to your taste and style of play, but the system in place does it’s job.
The gameplay of the game is very fun and challenging. Each level becomes harder, and requires more thought as to what to evolve the Grunts into and where to place each alien. It’s not a game I found myself becoming bored playing. In fact I found myself becoming lost while playing this game. The dark humour of the game kept me entertained the entire time I was playing, and is something that kept me coming back.
In terms of graphics and audio of the game, it’s nothing to write home about. The graphics are the standard that players expect from a PC game these days; nothing to write home about but they are up to par. Audio wise it’s fairly the same, the music in the game matches the atmosphere of the game but it’s something you’re likely to forget once you finish the game.
Overall Attack Of The Earthlings is definitely a game that’s worth grabbing. The strategic elements of the game mix well with the game’s humour style and is something that made me, a gamer who isn’t normally a fan of strategy games, want to keep playing Attack Of The Earthlings.