Earthfall: Alien Horde is a 4 player first person cooperative shooter. Its a game that is trying to be Left for Dead, but can anything live up to that? Earthfall is available on all major platforms for $19.99.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
You know how a review is going to go when it starts like this: I really wanted to like this game. First person shooters are one of my favorite genres to play, and I’m always looking for them on the go, so I was happy when this came out on the Switch.
When I first started, and jumped into my first match, the first thing I noticed was the environment. It looked great and was fun to run around in, but then the first enemy appeared and I fired my gun. The sound design for firing your weapon sounded like you were firing an airsoft gun, not a rifle or pistol. It was distracting every time I would fire. It was something I could never get past. It was disappointing when the rest of the sound design was either good or above average. The explosion sounds specifically were great.
The gunplay itself was mediocre at best. Some weapons felt powerful every time I pulled the trigger (even if they didn’t sound powerful) but most just felt weak. It was hard to even tell if I was hitting the enemies as they were frantically running towards me.
There is a campaign, but it doesn’t offer anything as far as a story. You have four survivors you are playing as. After listening to the dialogue they have to offer, it leaves you wondering why they even survived.
Your selection of characters does not matter at all, it’s only an aesthetic choice; there are no classes or special abilities, everyone is the same.
When I see the word campaign, I am expecting some kind of story, but there is none to be found here. It's four survivors running from point A to B trying not to die. As you go from A to B, no matter what map you are on, you always have some task to do, but it all boils down to the same thing: go somewhere and hit a button, or find something, hit a button and bring it somewhere else, and hit a button.
It got very bland, very quickly.
The levels are also very long and very challenging. Some of the challenge of the game feels a little artificial. At times, the waves of enemies were inconsistent, making it seem like the game wanted me to fail when I was doing better than expected. Long and hard levels are not a bad thing; what makes it a bad thing is when there are no checkpoints. If your whole team goes down, the game enters a fail state and that’s it, all you can do is start over from the beginning. The below screenshot was from the last mission in the game. It took me close to about 40 minutes to make it to the end and then I got dropped. My teammates were overwhelmed and ended up going down too.
LOOK HOW CLOSE! All that time is just wasted.
One thing I found weird about this game was that the campaign had levels, but you can choose anyone you wanted, at any time. With the type of enemies you encounter, and the way the game works, its easy to compare every aspect to Left 4 Dead. Left 4 Dead also let you choose any level you wanted, and it also had many special enemies that would do different things to take out a team member. Well, guess what? Earthfall has basically all the same types of enemies too. This game tried very hard in so many ways to be the new Left 4 Dead and it failed from all angles.
The only positive that I took away from this game was some of the tech inside the game. Its a game about aliens so you expect some interesting technology. Throughout the course of the game, you will see health stations on the walls.
If you simply walk up to them you will heal yourself back up to full health.
Possibly the coolest feature I have seen in a modern game is the ability to 3D print weapons. There are a few 3D printers in the world that you can walk up to and print out a gun to use. Ammo is scarce in this game, so you need to find weapons, so every time you stumbled into one of these it was a major sigh of relief.
Earthfall tries to be Left 4 Dead in every way possible and basically fails at every attempt that it made to copy the pioneer of the genre. There is some fun to be had but it won’t last long. Bad gunplay and sounds mixed with no checkpoints and extremely long and difficult levels makes this one very hard to recommend. If you’re really itching for shooters on the Switch, this will scratch it at first, but then leave you with a rash, making you wish you never scratched it in the first place.
Final Score — 3/10 —
For more reviews, be sure to check out my thoughts on PictoQuest, Croc's World, and The Last of Us Part II (spoiler free and with full spoilers), and my new podcast: Game Bites, the latest entry in The Spinchoon Podcast Network (check out Flix & a Six here). As always, check us out on Twitter @TheSpinchoon and I’m @Big_Broons.