Shallow, story-less and cheap. Three words that are usually easy to attribute to a mobile game, even when it becomes available on other platforms. Fortunately, there are exceptions to these rules. I can’t count the amount of hours I’ve whiled away on Cosmonautica, and recently Underhand has taken more of my time than my friends and family. So with that in mind, how does ‘Let Them Come’ fair?
Let Them Come is a simple action game which takes a lot of inspiration from sci-fi/action movies, and especially from the ‘Alien’ franchise. In this game you play as the sole survivor of a marine squad sent in to investigate the fate of an installation which has gone silent. All of the character, enemy and level designs in the game have a very ‘classic retro’ thing going on. The graphics are all pixelated, and the music is more bit-crushed than anyone would care to mention. The tones are mostly muted with an occasional splash of neon-green to accompany the alien blood.
The gameplay follows a very simple cycle. You must fight off wave-after-wave of hostile aliens using nothing but a turret, a knife and a crate of bombs. You earn money by killing enemies, then when you get overrun (and you will get overrun), you can spend the money to upgrade your equipment or buy special ammo for your guns and grenades.
Weirdly for a relatively shallow gameplay experience, there is actually a story involved, albeit not a very interesting one. It is presented to you as you make your way through successive waves of enemies by letters, discs and notes that you find in your inventory menu. The ‘story’ is sparse and basically revolves around you finding something horrible or piecing together what happened before you arrived on the station.
As I said before, the core gameplay loop is very simple. You have to try to survive for as long as you can by killing as many enemies as you can so you can earn enough money to get through later waves. The gameplay is a little grind-heavy, which does mean that it gets repetitive pretty quickly. You need to constantly die, upgrade, fight through more enemies, and then die again to make progress. This repetitive loop works alright for a phone game where you are likely to pick it up and play through a few rounds before stopping again, but on a home console it doesn’t stay engaging over a protracted play session.
The point at which the gameplay breaks down is when you hit the first boss. While he is visually designed very well, like all the enemies in the game, his attack loop is entirely frustrating. He has 3 attacks: a ground pound, throwing a purple orb at you or unleashing a torrent of tiny crawling beasties to swarm at you. The issue with this is that the attack pattern is randomized, and they do not work well together. You can interrupt the ground pound attack by shooting the alien enough, but a lot of the time your fire needs to be focused on other attacks, like the swarm of aliens it unleashes.
Obviously, due to the random nature of the attacks, you might play the game and wonder what the fuss is about. It sometimes seems like the boss gets stuck in a loop of repeating the ground pound attack, which is entirely interruptible, meaning you can get it down to under half its health, but the same thing can suddenly happen with the releasing of the swarm of tiny aliens. If you’re unlucky enough that he unleashes a ground pound attack directly after a swarm, you can find yourself taking massive damage from either of the two attacks. Of course, you then have to re-purchase any ammo that you used to attack the boss, and grinding for money is difficult in a boss encounter when the one attack that earns you money also happens to be the same attack that you’re praying will never come.
While I might have been convinced to work through this issue a little bit at a time with the game on a phone, it doesn’t seem worth the time and effort when there are a million better crafted experiences on the platform. While there are also a leaderboard challenge and boss rush mode, they aren’t enough to save it. The bosses are responsible for most of the game’s negative issues in the first place, and I’m not sure many people will care enough about their scores to make that worthwhile.
Developer: Tuatara Games
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 3rd October 2017