Title: Let Them Come
Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Tuatara Games
Publisher: Versus Evil
Release date: October 3, 2017
Price: £4.00 / $5.00
TL;DR: 90’s style game with 16-Bit graphics, 2-D side scrolling horde mode shooter, with pumping soundtrack. Lots of grinding for upgrades.
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It feels like 1985, an action soundtrack is pumping out of the boombox and I’m recreating a scene from the movie ‘Aliens’. Welcome to ‘Let Them Come’, a 2-D pixel art shoot‘em up from developer Tuatara Games, and published by Versus Evil.
The pixilated retro art style is perfectly suited to this game and just adds to the tempo and aesthetic feel of the side-scroll arcade shooter. You play as Rock Gunar, a gun-toting dispatcher of xenomorphs.
After a very short story intro, giving you some vague background information as to your mission, you’re dispatched to explore the cargo hold of a now derelict spaceship. There’s no flashy CGI cutscenes or animation, this is more in keeping with late 80’s / early 90’s shooting games on the Megadrive and SNES. All you get is some transition effects showing a close-up of Rock’s face puffing on his cigar and the big gun is cocked, locked, and ready to rock.
Once Rock has entered the ship, a quick and simple tutorial guides you through the basics of the game. How to purchase and equip passive skills, secondary weapons like grenades and throwing knives, and different types of ammunition including armour piercing and explosive rounds. Once this is complete, you’re told to ‘click on the gun’ and cue the action.
The controls for ‘Let Them Come’ are simple – in a good way, using only the mouse buttons and the spacebar. The aiming is controlled by the movement of the mouse on a vertical plane, raising and lowering the angle of the mounted machine gun. This movement does feel lacking and a little disjointed as it doesn’t relate very well to the on-screen crosshair.
The learning curve is well paced, with small monsters running at you, and then as you clear the waves, the space cretins grow in size and frequency. The more you kill in a row or in combination with another action, like a grenade or knife throw, the quicker your combo bar fills and access to the use of a power-up skill is granted.
The power-ups are a mini-game of their own, needing you to click on the icon as the bar fills to get the most out of it. The higher the bar fills the more power it has, but be warned. If you let the bar overflow the power-up still works but at its lowest possible setting.
One of the highlights of Let Them Come is the Boss battles. Harking back to games like R-Type, once you’ve dispatched the never-ending waves of alien scum, you’re rewarded with a terrifying treat, in the form of a giant, horrific looking boss mob. The bosses have some mechanics to overcome to defeat them, which without looking at a guide, will entail a little trial and error to see what perks and ammunition are best to render the Xeno into a pile of squishy mush. Once the boss is defeated the level is over.
In Let them Come, you only get your big f*$”king gun, a large mounted machine gun of unknown calibre. Completing levels unlocks the ability to upgrade passives and secondary’s in your inventory. You can only upgrade the same item once per level. There are no other weapons, but the passives and perks you unlock can add to the gun and your playstyle. For instance one of the first to upgrade is the rapid-fire perk, adding a higher rate of fire but causes the gun to overheat faster. So then you look at upgrading the cooling perk, this helps you keep sustained bursts on your oncoming enemies. The only weapon customisation is the ammo that you use and the ability of the secondary that you’re using. Ammo types have electric, armour piercing, and explosive, and the same goes for the grenades. There are also some mines and defensive items like a baseball bat and riot shield. So there is a little more to it than first appears.
The music is a delight for me in this title as it helps to add to the atmosphere and feel of the genre, and age in which it is set. A kind of future-synth-retro-wave, which is perfectly suited.
An interesting feature is the way the music is integrated into the game as a reward, something I’ve not seen too many times in a game, outside of a title like Guitar Hero. When you complete levels and waves you unlock and find extra mixtapes in your inventory. You can then go to the boombox and add and delete the tracks and create a playlist of your choosing. It’s a feature that helps set an appropriate mood for getting through twenty or so waves of pure carnage.
There are no punishments for death, as soon as you’re incapacitated, you’ll access your inventory/shop and fiddle with your loadout. However, there is a caveat. If you’ve stocked up your ammo and grenades and then blown them all on a boss fight, but died right at the end, you restart the encounter, minus the ammo you just used. You’ll then have to grind that boss over and over until you get enough money to recoup your supply resources. This was the main area where frustration from the repetition came in.
Let Them Come was an enjoyable title for me, I loved the style of the game and especially the soundtrack. I was able to relax, sit back and chomp through some enemies with my BFG, selecting the appropriate tracks for the job. My only major bugbear was the aiming. The gun didn’t feel in-sync with my mouse movement and this made some of the boss fights feel down to luck, rather than skill as to whether I would win or lose. Apart from that, it was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
- Great Soundtrack
- Easy to pick up and play
- Boss Mechanics requiring the correct perks, secondarys, and ammo setups
- Very repetitive, with regards to grinding credits for ammo
- Aiming response is poor
This game is rated ESRB: Mature 17+, PEGI: 16. Contains Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.