The revival of XCOM has ignited a passion for the turn-based tactics genre, with a variety of different spins on the formula appearing. That’s where Team Junkfish’s Attack of the Earthlings comes in. You play as a species that resembles - but not in a copyright compromising way - the xenomorph, and you have to defend your home from an invasive species: humans.
This isn’t the only thing that they have seemingly turned on its head however. Unlike other games in the genre where you begin strong and gradually get weaker throughout an encounter, in Attack of the Earthlings you get stronger. As you kill the invading humans, you can devour them to generate biomass, and then use that biomass to spawn smaller units. In the levels I was able to play at Rezzed, you start with just one unit: the Matriarch. From there, you kill and spawn new minions with which to perform more acts of murder.
There is also a much greater focus on stealth than in other tactics games I have played. At the start, where you only have one unit and no real idea of where any of the enemies are, it can be very tense. Making sure that the humans don’t see you before you get to snack on their guts is paramount, because if they see you they’ll either a) run towards the exit and spawn more humans who are harder to kill or b) shoot at you. This is especially problematic because all the units you control are melee only - at least in what I have played so far.
Attacking in groups has also been given a slight overhaul, partly because humans can react if they hear you killing one of their compatriots. If two or more aliens are in position to attack, you can issue a group attack order and perform all of the available attacks simultaneously. This is great for taking out several humans standing next to each other, where attacking only one would make noise to alert the other.
Sound is important because if humans hear something, they’ll investigate it - and lots of things make noise. In the demo, all the doors made noise and scattered throughout the level are robots who can’t be destroyed that scream bloody murder if they see an alien. I actually kept trying to attack the robots, and the developers behind me were laughing about it so perhaps something will change in that regard. Attack of the Earthlings is quite early in development - Team Junkfish only officially announced it at the start of EGX Rezzed, so there’s some way to go yet. What is there though is genre-altering excellence.