Title: Earthfall: Alien Horde
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Developer: Nimble
Publisher: Nimble
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Left 4 Dead with Aliens
Price: £17.99 / $19,99
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Earthfall: Alien Horde is light on story beside the typical scenario of Earth being invaded by an extra-terrestrial invasion and the human race becomes an endangered species. Players will travel across the Pacific Northwest to save what’s left of humanity by taking out as many aliens as possible. While it has a “story”, the game doesn’t have a story mode per se; while it features Campaigns (more on that below), they are not story oriented as the game’s objectives is to simply survive waves of Alien forces while successfully completing various objectives. Sounds familiar, right?

Earthfall: Alien Horde is a standard first person shooter where you need to progress through various objectives and survive by killing every alien enemy thrown your way. When you first launch the game, you can either go solo or find up to 4 friends online. Bots will round out the team if missing human players.

Once you’ve selected your mode, you can select between Campaigns and Invasion. Campaigns includes 2 different campaigns each of which have 5 different chapters. Each chapter has their own objectives to accomplish such as fixing a car so you can escape or find safe areas to refill.

Invasion is a horde mode. Your team is stationed in a spot of a selected map and you have to patiently wait for the onslaught of aliens. Much like in Campaign modes, you can barricade yourself; as you progress through the waves, the number of enemies and difficulty increases progressively. Alternatively, it will give you access to the 3D printer in order to get yourself a bit more useful firepower; a simple pistol doesn’t really cut it. Also, you earn money after each wave which can in turned be used to heal/increase your health for example.

The game also features 4 different difficulty settings: Easy, Regular, Intense and Overwhelming; so there’s something for everyone. Obviously, for solo play, Easy and Regular is required as despite having competent A.I. companions, it still doesn’t beat the efficieny of human players.

To help alleviate the troubles one can go through when trying to survive an alien invasion, players will be able to put defense construction by blocking off walls à la Rainbow Six Siege or setting up independant turrets to increase the offense.

Each chapter will have players start with a single pistol. As move through, you’ll find weapons scattered in various safes areas or you’ll be able to craft your own weapon via 3D printers found throughout the maps. Each printer will give you a choice of weapon to print out; an interesting mechanic instead of having to search every nook and cranny for weapons and ammo.

Nimble managed to create a nice diversity of enemies with an interesting dynamic spawning system which ensure that each playthrough is different. You’ll have generic simple aliens which will run at you asking for your bullets, enemies which on explosion release toxic gas or even an electricity filled type of Alien almost reminiscent of the Electrifying Gremlin from Gremlins 2 with its quickness.

The game plays well overall; except in Handheld mode. It’s not a question of performance, but more of the Joy-cons not being the ideal controller for shooters because of the triggers. It feels slightly better when in non-handheld mode by using a pro controller or the device which allows you to use the Joy-cons as a normal controller.

The Switch version of Earthfall: Alien Horde looks fine. While the visuals are a bit dated (there are far more better looking games on Nintendo’s latest console venture), it looks fine and does the job. Environments a bit bland and feel dead despite the waves of aliens charging. While the score is peppered of one-liners from A.I. companions needing help, finding weapon and health kits. The score is pretty tense in order to create the tense atmosphere giving a feeling of “where are they”.

Earthfall: Alien Horde is perfect title for Left 4 Dead fans. Considering we might not be alive to see Left 4 Dead 3, there’s nothing wrong having copycats. Having Aliens instead of Zombies is a nice change in the genre and being able to craft weapons from a 3D printer are some of the game’s strong points. If you can overlook the game’s mediocre presentation and have a decent Pro controller on hand, Earthfall: Alien Horde will provide you hours of fun; solo or with buddies.

The Good

  • Interesting Left 4 Dead clone
  • NEat 3D printer mechanic

The Bad

  • Can be overwhelming solo even on Easy
  • Joycons aren’t ideal for shooters

Family Focus

Earthfall: Alien Horde is rated T for Teen and PEGI16 due to the presence of blood, mild language and violence. Aliens aren’t open to negotiations, so you gotta take them out the hard way.

This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the developer