REVIEW – Earthfall: Alien Horde (Switch)

Most easily described as Left4Dead with aliens, Earthfall: Alien Horde is a mindless co-op experience on Switch.  This FPS has players controlling one of four characters as they move from one location to the next, being constantly swarmed by alien invaders just like the zombies in the L4D.  Unfortunately, the lack of progression and overall sense of accomplishment leaves much to be desired.

The story never goes into any detail.  The player only knows aliens are attacking and they are just trying to survive by fending them off with unlimited ammo pistols, melee weapons, and an occasional machine gun, shotgun, grenade, and sniper rifle. Unfortunately, there is zero reward for completing any stage of the campaign on any difficulty. Once the player completes a campaign, they are simply taken back to the main menu to select another level; it doesn’t even indicate that a stage was completed.  Combine this with the absence of any RPG mechanics and there is little to no reason to actually play through the campaign as there is literally zero payoff.  In fact, since the game doesn’t maintain any sort of progression, it is easy to forget which stage has been completed and which has not. The ending screen tallies things like kills and headshots but doesn’t do anything with that information as there are no leaderboards, leveling, rewards, or unlocks of any kind.

Each character also plays exactly the same.  For example, there is no demolition expert or crazy good marksman.  Nope, these are just four generic stereotyped characters. But hey, at least you can optionally outfit them with a “CARBS” tee shirt or put a flame texture on that pistol that you will never see outside of the selection menu. The enemies also repeat and mimic the roster of L4D. There is a never ending supply of weak enemies that constantly charge at the player from all directions. Since the player has unlimited ammo and there is no reward or penalty for playing well or poorly, this fodder actually just acts as annoyance since there is no skill involved. There are big tank enemies, enemies that snatch players away and need to be saved by teammates, and ones that release a poisonous cloud. It is a carbon copy of Valve’s fan favorite shooter only without entertainment and reason.

From a technical standpoint, it is nice to see a high action game like this running on Switch. However, the graphical pop-in is constant and all over the place, making some segments laughably low-res. Also, the game is dark. Like, really, really dark. Turning the gamma to the full blast is recommended as seeing anything, even in day light stages, is way more trouble than it needs to be. There is also no pause option, even when playing solo, and if you die during the campaign, you have to start all over; there is no checkpoint or restart system in place. This is one game that simply does not respect the player’s time.

Earthfall: Alien Horde is nothing more than a poor man’s L4D.  While it is cool to see a game like this on Switch, there is no reason to play it when Valve’s original, which released over a decade ago, is still a much better game even though the overall concept is exactly the same.

Also available on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam.

SCORE: 5.5/10

Not As Good As: online co-op in L4D2
Also Try: World War Z
Wait For It: a new Gauntlet  

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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