Advance Wars. That is the first game I thought of when I started to play Falling Skies: The Game. As it turns out, this is a carbon copy of XCOM. I have never played XCOM however, I have played a whole lot of Advance Wars so this game was not one hundred percent new to me. Currently this title is available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, and Steam. But, is it worth it? Let me tell you.
Content Warning: No blood or language however, there is a lot of shooting.
The game is set somewhere between the third and fourth season of the show… I guess? I have only seen the first season and I could not tell you what is really going on. This is half due to there being a cut scene for every three or four hours of gameplay. You will do a solid ten missions before getting a cut scene letting you know there is an actual story here. Honestly though, the story is so minimal that it doesn’t even matter. There are lots of aliens, you are human so shoot them all.
First off, have you played XCOM? If so, then imagine that game but not as fleshed out and with PS2 graphics and AI. You may now proceed to the conclusion. For the rest of you let me explain how this game works. You have a home base where you can recruit new members, upgrade them, upgrade equipment, and send a lone member of the 2nd Mass on a mission to get supplies. By the way, they almost never fail that mission so take advantage of it. Lastly, you dispatch your four to six man squad on missions. These can vary from eliminating all the Skitters (aliens) or blowing up some harness tanks, or some other meaningless repetitive task. For as much as I would like to bash on the repetitive, Destiny like nature of the missions, I can’t. The gameplay is so solid and leaves you wanting to play one more mission that I had trouble putting it down. Luckily, my Wii U Gamepad had to die some time. I want to say the gameplay saved the developers from an average title but… They did not create it. It is XCOM with a Falling Skies skin. Which is quite unfortunate since I do enjoy the show. On the actual missions you are in a turn based battle of sorts. Your goal is whatever the mission is (as explained before) but the Skitters and harnessed humans just want you dead. This proves interesting until you realize that the AI is a generation old. The Skitters and harnessed humans are ripped straight from the PS2/GameCube era. This makes winning not as challenging as one may hope. The real challenge is dealing with your troops missing so much despite being close to the enemy and them almost never missing you. Also… Why the heck can’t I touch ANYTHING AT ALL on my Gamepad? What is the point of forcing me to use it if I can’t even use it for anything but the buttons? If any game on the Wii U could of used the Gamepad to the fullest, then this game was it.
Graphics and Sound
Remember the PS2/GameCube era? Well welcome back to 2003! The graphics here do not in anyway take advantage of the Wii U and its power. The sound is on point for nowadays but the game is nothing to look at. Even when compressed onto my Gamepad which should of made it look a bit better. Overall, nothing special about the lack of effort put into this are of the game. XCOM in 2012 looks leaps and bounds better than this game in 2014.
Little Orbit did nothing but copy XCOM and devolved it into a PS2/GameCube game but put it on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, and Steam. Had the graphics been on par with what is expected in 2014 and had they used the Gamepad properly, beyond being a second screen, then this game would have been good. At forty bucks though I cannot recommend it. Wait for this game to hit the bargain bin and then give it a shot as it is decent but is clearly a budget title.
Reviewed on Wii U. Review copy provided by Little Orbit.
The Bottom Line
Wait for this to hit the bargain bin.