Despite being intrigued by the over-the-top concept for years, I’ve never actually played many titles in the Earth Defense Force series. It has always been a case of trying it for ten-minutes here and there when friends want to show me the game, rather than PROPERLY investing myself in the giant alien/insect/monster slaying adventure that each entry offers. It’s a shame too, because they’ve always looked like a whole lot of fun… there has just always been something different that I wanted to play instead.
I’ve had the chance to sink some hours into Earth Defense Force: World Brothers, the new release in the series that takes the established formula and adds some voxel-based charm to the mix. You know what? I really, REALLY, like it. It’s silly, it’s frantic, and it’s charming, with the simple formula of the game making for an addictive experience that’s hard to put down.
Check out a gallery of the game’s screenshots below:
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers doesn’t have too much of a focus on its narrative, but it still delivers a story to follow. The plot itself is simple: Earth has been split into pieces and invaded by a multitude of vicious creatures led by the Dark Tyrant, so it’s up to you to gun them down and restore it to its former squared glory. That’s right, the Earth is square… it kinda makes sense, in some weird and absurd way? The plot doesn’t expand much from there, but what would you expect from a game like Earth Defense Force: World Brothers? It adds a quirky and fun concept to the adventure and isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself with its zany fourth-wall breaking gags though, which was more than enough to keep me invested in the battle to save Earth.
It is in the gameplay where Earth Defense Force: World Brothers really shines. At its core, the concept is pretty straight-forward – players will run across environments, blast away at the onslaught of enemies coming their way, and take advantage of each character’s abilities to evade incoming attacks and keep on top of their foes. There are plenty of different weapons to find to do this, whilst there will also be occasions where players will get to use vehicles to dish out some hurt too. It’s all action, action, action throughout, but it makes for a really good time.
“You’ll unlock plenty of new allies during the adventure that bring with them different abilities, meaning there’s plenty to play around with to see what works best for you.”
Those aforementioned abilities can play a big role in your success in Earth Defense Force: World Brothers, whether that’s when using them to heal allies, to get out of the way of incoming attacks, or to unleash a blast of damage upon enemies. Fortunately, you’ll unlock plenty of new allies during the adventure that bring with them different abilities, meaning there’s plenty to play around with to see what works best for you. Whilst some of these new allies are your conventional solider-types, others are a bit more unique and fall within different cultures or nationalities. You can expect the likes of Ninjas, Cowboys, a Panda-man, Egyptians, and… uhh… Mexicans to join you, along with some more unique and colourful variations that are a bit more ‘out there’.
You actually take a team of four characters into missions that can be swapped between on the fly, so you can take advantage of these different abilities to make a ‘dream team’ of sorts. Each character can be levelled up too, giving them access to more weaponry and sharing their capabilities when maxed out. It’s not essential to progress, especially since shifting around your team regularly adds to the fun of the experience, but it’s still satisfying to see them improve.
“It’s like a B-Movie fan’s fantasy, whilst the destruction that strikes your surroundings just adds to the chaotic fun of the experience.”
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers just emphasises fun throughout. Everything about it feels silly in design, whether that’s with the absurdity of the enemies you’re facing off against, the characters you’re playing as, or the tools at your disposal. It’s not done in a ‘joke game’ kinda way though, but genuinely makes for an engaging gameplay experience that feels varied throughout. In the end I had put a team together that could mix up their skillsets of zipping around with a jetpack, blasting out rocket launchers, and then hitting air strikes with maximum effectiveness, with the satisfying switching of characters allowing for a lot of flexibility in playstyles.
That’s barely scratching the surface of how action-packed the game can get too. You know those giant monsters you take down? Well, whilst you can blast away at them with weapons from the ground, you can also use a big mech to take them on. It’s like a B-Movie fan’s fantasy, whilst the destruction that strikes your surroundings just adds to the chaotic fun of the experience. There are sixty levels in total that bring with them plenty of unique scenarios like this, ensuring progression through the game never grows stale but instead remains entertaining throughout. It’s good stuff.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I think voxel-based aesthetics have been a bit overdone these days, but I couldn’t help but to adore its use here.”
One of my favourite things about Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is its shift to the colourful, voxel-based aesthetic. The series has never been about high production values in the past and has been guilty of looking ugly, but everything looks wonderful here. It suits the charming vibe of the silly antics perfectly, whilst having blocks smashing everywhere fits the destructive vibe of the action taking place. I’ll be the first to admit that I think voxel-based aesthetics have been a bit overdone these days, but I couldn’t help but to adore its use here.
Want to know the best part of all? It can all be played in online co-op with up to three friends. I’ve seen some complaints that it doesn’t support local play like previous entries in the series, but I think I’d appreciate the destructive antics of the game less if I had to play split-screen. Playing with others online was a blast though, with the simple gameplay mechanics really lending themselves well to strategic co-ordination – especially on the higher difficulties.
I didn’t expect to love Earth Defense Force: World Brothers quite as much as I did, but I’m completely hooked to its absurd action-packed adventure. There’s something so satisfying about taking down its onslaught of giant monsters, whilst the varied nature of the characters you unlock allows for plenty of flexibility when putting together your team of heroes. Add online co-op with friends to the mix and you’ll just find yourself completely addicted… I know I am.
Well done, Earth Defense Force – you’ve made a new fan out of me.
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PC
Click here to visit the official website.