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Let Them Come

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: Tuatara Games
Release Date: Oct. 3, 2017


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PC Review - 'Let Them Come'

by Cody Medellin on Dec. 19, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Let Them Come is a fast-paced pixel art shoot-'em-up. Twitchy trigger fingers and focused battle tactics are the order of the day as wave after wave of alien-like creatures try to take you down.

Buy Let Them Come

Sometimes, simplicity is good. As much as most gamers love to be able to pull off deft button combinations to perform something spectacular, there are times when the simple ideas of yesteryear are the most enjoyable thing. Such is the premise for Let Them Come, a game that has a simple concept but is quite fun, even for a fleeting moment. That idea of simplicity starts with the story with a familiar sci-fi theme. Aliens have taken over an Earth spaceship, and they're multiplying at a rapid rate and killing off any crew members they see. As the last surviving member of the ship, you're also trained in the ways of combat. With your trusty mounted machine gun, you work to eradicate the alien menace and try to escape.

When you realize that you're armed with only a mounted machine gun, you have an idea of how the game will play out. You post up on the left side of the screen and, since the game is presented in 2-D, you aim up and down while the alien menace barrels toward you — on the ground and on the ceiling. Ammo is unlimited but, like any mounted machine gun in any video game, the weapon can overheat if you pull on the trigger for too long. Killing enemies gives you coins that can be spent on various upgrades. Those upgrades include the ability to melee any enemy that gets close enough with a variety of weapons and grenades, including Molotov cocktails, frag grenades and small black holes. The coins can also be spent on a finite supply of bullets that grant you the ability to freeze enemies or pierce armor. Performing upgrades is necessary to keep a title like this interesting, but the approach is a little quirky. Instead of being able to do those upgrades between missions, you'll only be able to access them once you die. On the one hand, this is great if you don't need to upgrade since you can immediately jump to the next stage without pausing to stop your momentum. On the other hand, you'll need to die if your supplies are low. Killing enemies fills up a combo meter. Once it gets full, you have the chance to choose a new perk. The minigame associated with that, having to stop a rising meter at the right time to get the maximum amount of time with the perk, can be rather annoying unless you have excellent reflexes to get a perfect hit every time, but the perks are certainly worth the effort. Airstrikes, rocket-launching robots, barbed wire for extra defense, and the ability to heal yourself with every kill are just a few of the perks you can earn, and they give you some kind of advantage when you don't have the chance to get your upgrades done. Combine this with the upgrade that lets you fill up your combo meter faster, and you'll breeze through more than a few stages due to a barrage of perks.

For the most part, Let Them Come just tries to do turret shooting well, and it does it just fine. The controls can be very squirrelly if you're using a gamepad, but the precision of the keyboard/mouse setup makes the romp much more enjoyable. Though the game can be relentless in giving you too many enemies to deal with, you're always going to restart at the beginning of each stage after death, so there are no checkpoints. Dying in the same stage gives you the chance to either re-roll the enemy lineup in hopes of getting something easier to deal with or a random perk to start the stage. You'll also be able to keep your cash after death, so while it would require a bit of grinding to get the upgrades you need if you're short on cash, it can be done. There are around 115 stages, which sound like it can be a long slog since the gameplay doesn't vary much from stage to stage, but they're all so short that you can easily beat the game in an afternoon and still have time to start up a new title. That's actually a good thing since the game starts to become a chore if it were any longer than it is. The one knock against Let Them Come has to do with the bosses. The fights are rather fun, and while a few of them require specific ammo to take down, which can lead to the aforementioned grinding if you don't have enough cash for those upgrades, there are only five of them in the entire game, so the roadblock doesn't pop up that often. However, the cash payout for killing these bosses is rather paltry compared to what you get for completing a regular stage, so it can be rather discouraging to see so little money granted for such a big, and sometimes expensive, fight.

Though the campaign is short, the game has a few modes to keep you coming back. There's a boss rush mode, and there's a challenge mode that gives you a fixed amount of cash at the beginning and lets you see how far you can go. Twitch mode lets your viewers spawn special enemies for you to take down. The most interesting mode, though, is New Game Plus, where you'll get to keep all of your cash and upgrades from your previous playthrough but have to fight through a remixed lineup of enemies with your visibility severely cut down. Presentation-wise, the game hits all of the right marks. The 16-bit sprite presentation is charming, but the animations and lighting will impress you more. Seeing enemies shamble along with increased fluidity is both creepy and cool, while seeing some enemies glow as they explode to light up the area realistically is another graphical treat. The scant few lines said by your character can sound disjointed, since it sounds like multiple people trying to imitate one guy, but you won't mind that much since the music more than makes up for that gaffe. A combination of hard instrumental rock and synth, it blends into the action nicely, and the fact that you can customize the playlist during your upgrade sections is a nice bonus. Let Them Come is a perfect small game that you'll want to play in between some of the bigger titles. The shooting feels good, the challenge is present in areas, and the gameplay length ensures that it doesn't easily wear out its welcome. It isn't a deep game, but for the $5 price tag, you're not going to care. Score: 7.5/10

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