Review – Earth Defense Force: World Brothers

I used to think I had seen everything the Earth Defense Force franchise had to offer: mindless shooters that looked and performed like crap, but were still fun in a “shut off your brain and enjoy it” kind of way. I wasn’t expecting for an EDF game to look quite good, with an actual art style for once, or for it to actually perform quite well, all things considered. Furthermore, it’s still a pretty fun game in its own right. Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is out now and it might be the most fun the franchise has ever been.

World Brothers Ant

That ant just crashed into my selfie with the Eiffel Tower.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is a completey new take in the franchise’s traditional “destroy giant space ants with ridiculous guns until we tell you to stop” formula. The core concept is still here, completely intact, with the series’ traditional absurdist “storytelling” and arcadey level design being its main pillars. However, a new graphical overhaul and hero-shooter-esque character selection turned it into something a lot more entertaining. As well as the fact that for the first time in forever, an Earth Defense Force is actually glitch-free.

This game’s main selling point is pretty obvious: it’s its voxel-based graphical presentation. Every single level is built solely with Minecraft-esque cubes, but it doesn’t feel out of place at all. On the contrary, that allowed for the team to get really creative with their level design. You’ll constantly travel around the world, fighting hordes of aliens in the most varied of locales, such as the Pyramids of Gyza, Paris, the American countryside, and even the Great Wall of China. The game is so downright ridiculous, with a premise about restoring a planet that has been blown up by a big fat explosion, that you’ll never really care about its lack of geographical cohesion. In fact, you’ll actually crave for the complete opposite.

World Brothers Graphics

The game might look completely different from other EDF titles, but the gameplay is still the same dumb fun you know and love.

Gameplay-wise, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is pretty much like any other EDF game: a mindless shooter where your only task is to mutilate every alien in sight. The difference this time around is the fact that it runs shockingly well, at a buttery smooth 60fps at all times. It doesn’t matter how many giant ants populate your screen at once; the framerate will remain as high as it can possibly be, letting you blast all of them with ease, with all the particle effects you could wish for. The only main issue regarding the gameplay are the noticeable input lag whenever you jump or dodge. Weirdly enough, the same doesn’t happen when you activate your jetpack.

Yes, you heard that right, a jetpack. Depending on which character you add to your squad of four, you might actually fly around with a jetpack. Collecting and evolving new and ridiculous voxel characters is one of the main additions in World Brothers. Each level has at least three new characters to recruit, each one with specific stats, weapons, and a completely unique set of special and ultimate moves. They can either be passive, such as summoning a healing pulse to benefit your entire squad, or aggro as hell, like a traditional screen-clearing ultimate beam. These characters are usually exaggerated and stereotypical portrayals of different world cultures, such as a Mexican soldier with a sombrero, a Swiss alpinist, a Maori haka dancer, and so on.

Boss Battles

This is the first boss in the entire game: a towering kaiju. Gotta love World Brothers.

As you can see, this game’s approach to humor is a bit… dated. The Mexican character is lazy, the Asians speak in broken English, and the Texan sounds exactly like Larry the Cable Guy. The voice acting is a bit irritating as a result, since it’s basically comprised of irritating one-liners repeated ad nauseum. Not to mention the fact that the game’s default volume setting is louder than a Slayer concert.

Bear in mind that Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is quite shallow, as all of its levels feature the same objective and gameplay loop. You’ll shoot at bugs and occasionally collect a new voxel lawsuit in the making to your team. Things get a lot more entertaining if you decide to play the game with a few friends, either locally (couch co-op is present! Woohoo!) or online. With that being said, you can play the entire game by yourself without an issue. You can swap between all four members of your team by using the d-pad.


He sounds like Larry the Cable Guy… of course…

The franchise’s traditional layer of jank is still present here, but I won’t deny that I had a lot of fun playing Earth Defense Force: World Brothers, way more than I could have ever expected. It’s far more entertaining than it has any right to be. The adorable voxel visuals, coupled with an actually good framerate for the first time in the franchise’s history, result in a game that’s pleasant to look at as well as to play. Sure, its humor is a bit dated and its gameplay loop is as shallow as any other game in the franchise, but this is a perfect case of a game where you’ll have a blast for hours on end so long you shut off your brain before booting it up.


Graphics: 7.5

World Brothers‘ voxel-based art style ended up being a perfect fit for the franchise. It’s a bit simplistic at times, granted, but it’s charming and runs at a locked 60fps at pretty much all times, no matter how many enemies are onscreen.

Gameplay: 7.5

The combat mechanics are very responsive, the best in any EDF game I have ever played. Some other mechanics, such as jumping and dodging, feature a noticeable amount of input delay, but you can get used to this issue after a while.

Sound: 6.0

The soundtrack gets the job done, but it’s inexcusably loud on its default setting. The voice acting ranges from cute and funny to downright irritating depending on the character.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers might be as shallow as a puddle, but it’s way more entertaining than it has any right to be… if you can put up with some dated humor, that is.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is available now on PS4, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers was provided by the publisher.