There’s a scene in Aliens where the marines setup automatic turrets to shoot the approaching horde of aliens. In Let Them Come you essentially recreate that scene but as a gunner controlling a turret. It’s intense, a little scare despite the pixel art aesthetic, fun and challenging. It’s so very similar to that scene from Aliens, yet to my knowledge, this is the first time it’s been translated to a tower defence game, and it works marvellously.
It’s so very simple. A text introduction paints the picture of a lone soldier needing to setup his turret at different locations to figure out the story behind this alien infestation. It’s then a matter of you earning credits by shooting the aliens, buying upgrades for your character and the turret, then conquering multiple waves of aliens, defeating a boss, and moving on to the next location.
Pixel art conveys the action and gore. The narrow corridors with subtle animations in the background, foreground and the sides bringing each scene to life. Silky smooth animations for your character’s movement as well as that of the many different alien species. It looks fantastic. In fact this art style is miraculous, and not just here but practically everywhere I see it. How these pixel artists capture a person, an alien, a location so beautifully and in such detail while shaping it in pixels is miraculous. Here it also works to add a level of nostalgia to the title, to manage your expectations for a simple game of tower defence. Indeed, it wouldn’t have been out of place as an official Aliens game from 1986, if it wasn’t for the exceptionally smooth frame rate, crisp well-defined pixels and copious amounts of alien hostiles and bullets filling the corridor that only modern system can truly handle at this level of quality.
There’s more to it than simply letting loose with your turret against the waves of aliens, though, and soon you’re contemplating precisely what you need to purchase between waves to best fight the horde; what the best tools are for this violent but necessary job of survival. You can only hold limited ammo types and equipment, and choosing the right combination becomes more and more critical as the waves progress.
Four slots can be filled with passive upgrades, these being buffs to health, or armour against projectiles, cooling vents for the turret, and several more which affect your character’s ability to fight off the waves. Meanwhile, two slots are available for personal equipment, these consisting of melee weapons, grenades and other useful offensive of defensive items. Moreover, there’s a wide selection of different types of grenades that perform better against different species or quantities of aliens. Finally, there’s the two slots for ammo type for the turret, these being the standard ammo, of which you have an infinite amount, and the special ammo types, that run the gamut much like the grenades do. Bullets for the special ammo types need to be bought and used wisely to deal with waves. Indeed, there are many factors to consider when it comes to purchasing these weapons and equipment that will affect your survival rate.
As you defeat waves and progress, more is revealed. Boss creatures test your ability to adapt at the end of each location, providing a stiff challenge that requires you to equip yourself smartly. Meanwhile, power-ups are earned that can provide some much needed boosts to ammo, health, score, or even enhances you and your firepower temporarily. Fortunately, defeat isn’t the end, you are free to restart the wave having kept any credits earned so to spend them more wisely and maybe prevail next time. Additionally, much of the purchasable equipment can be upgraded once you’ve moved to a new location, always giving you something to spend your hard earned credits on, and soon proving crucial to keeping you alive as larger waves attack and new alien species throw something unexpected at you. Let Them Comes certainly keeps you on your toes.
Despite the challenge, however, it doesn’t take long to reach the end, and for some the frustration of overcoming the challenge is going to be too much. Afterwards you can play through again at different difficulty levels, as well as compete for high scores, but your mileage will vary depending on your patients and love of the genre and art style. Although, the time you do spend with this exhilarating and delightful tower defence title is certainly well wasted.
Thanks to Xbox and Versus Evil for supporting TiX