Review – Earth Wars
Previously known as Earth’s Dawn on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Earth Wars is a game that sounded fantastic when I first heard of it: a 2D side-scrolling hybrid of beat-em-ups with Monster Hunter‘s loot collecting and progression systems, set in a post-apocalyptic Earth ravaged by alien forces. In theory, that looked like a great concept. Turns out Earth Wars didn’t quite deliver as expected, though. It’s far from an awful game, but a handful of annoying flaws tarnished what could have been a great game.
Behold our mighty hero
Upon booting up the game, I was greeted by some static cutscenes detailing the plot. In a very Implosion-esque manner, the game is about defending the remnants of humanity from a mutant alien species by means of slashing them left and right with some new cutting-edge technology. The cutscenes, while devoid of animation (they were basically storyboards), showcased a serious tone to the game, with scenes of destruction, war, and well-detailed human characters.
Things got a lot worse when the game actually started, though. Honestly, Earth Wars looks silly. While the cutscenes showcased an actually serious and realistic setting, with average-sized humans, the actual gameplay visuals consist on what I can only describe as playable versions of Gears of War marines Funko Pops. I firmly believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, so just take a look at some of the screenshots from this article. Not only are the characters extremely silly-looking, but the animations are very simplistic, with most characters resembling cardboard cutouts due to their janky animations. Finally, there’s the issue with the fact that every single character takes a large chunk of the screen, due to the game’s camera being so nonsensically close to the action. Earth Wars might have a unique art style, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it looks good.
Aw, what a cute puppy
What really saves the game is its gameplay. Sure, there’s the huge issue that the camera is too close to your character, making it hard to see a lot of enemies onscreen, but the combat mechanics are actually quite decent. There are lots of different combos you can perform, and lots of different attacks, all depending on the direction you’re facing, as well as if you’re holding the analog stick to a specific side or not. While this can cause some problems every now and then due to the game’s insane analog stick sensitivity, there’s no way to deny killing aliens is fun. Add the Monster Hunter-esque loot system to the mix, and you have the actual reason to keep on playing the game, despite its issues and questionable design choices.
Hipster glasses. Because your character wasn’t looking silly enough already
Earth Wars might have a somewhat entertaining combat system and a mission structure that’s perfect for a handheld, but I can’t help but think its entire art style is too ridiculous for its own sake, as well as think that some of its gameplay issues severely hinder the game’s overall fun factor. Given the fact the game is a lot cheaper on the Switch than on other consoles, I’d say it’s still a nice catch for your library, but don’t expect anything incredible. It’s just an okay game, a bearable title while you wait for something bigger to arrive for the Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC