Let Them Come (Playstation 4 Review)
Being stuck between a rock and a hard place has never been as stimulating as Let Them Come, a pixel art tower defence game that see’s players wipe out wave after wave of alien menace. With a surprising depth to gameplay and customisation, Let Them Come feels fresh hours deep, especially for a game that only needs the player to press one button… for the most part.
You play as the last surviving marine of rescue party sent to investigate a roaming freighter that hasn’t been heard from in quite some time. Little do you know that you’re not alone. Monsters now roam these hallowed halls and greatly outnumber you. But you still have a mission to do. You plank your butt down, mounted machine gun in hand and your trusty boombox at your back. It’s time to let them come.
While the corridors of this forgotten ship do change with every stage you pass, they hardly create a compelling new atmosphere different from the last. Alterations are subtle, with a few changes in light or even adding a few windows here and there, until the last stages where nest’s and pupae scrawl the walls, creating a more frightening atmosphere. Though, it’s mostly down to the players boombox to keep the atmosphere alive and kicking. With a mixtape filled with over 20 tracks to choose from, you can rock out to the electronic synths whilst blasting away to your heart’s content.
Let Them Come divides itself into 5 separate stages divided by 25 waves a piece, with bosses mixed in for good measure. Initial waves start off off slow, shoveling small arachnoid enemies your way until you reach the later stages where monsters become more diverse and require more strategy and cunning to take down. Some gobble up your grenades whilst other entities create barriers to block your fire, letting smaller beings slip through. Bosses are the epitome of this knowledge, learning from what has came before and putting it all into action, with most requiring exact timing to deflect attacks or even take out smaller enemies quickly enough to get back to work on the bigger one. Players are often encouraged to change their loadout to suit the scenario at hand; aarmourpiercing rounds help to penetrate tough armour and tossing a grenade or two when the correct opening is prompted.
Gameplay may seem stagnant at first, leaving players with a lessened sense of excitement, itching for a medley of content to keep their brain from resting. Blasting monsters may be fun but there needs to be more to it than holding down a single button, showing these monstrosities who’s boss solely by the strength of your index finger. It’s not long until you are able to purchase gear and unlock upgrades that keep you fighting that bit longer. The mounted machine gun that is your primary means of defence can be loaded with a varied amount of munitions: Incendiary can set monsters ablaze dealing damage over time, cryo ammo can slow enemies down and explosive ammo detonates on impact dealing massive damage.
While your mounted machine gun is at the centre stage of every fire fight, grenades, melee weapons and utility upgrades also come into play. Grenades allow for large groups of enemies to be dispatched at once while melee offers a close range alternative incase enemies get too close. All self explanatory really. However, the real playmakers are those of passive upgrades, like increased fire rate, more health, armour, faster cooldown of abilities or even a faster build up of your combo meter.
As you gun down wave after wave of creatures, you’ll quickly notice that you’re accruing points that slowly build a meter on the upper right hand corner of your screen. Once full, you’ll be given a choice of 3 random (temporary) upgrades to choose from. These could be: unlimited ammo, an attack drone, 2X score/damage, a bombing run, to name a few. What’s brilliant about this is its innate ability to help players make a comeback. If you’ve failed a wave two or more times in a row then Let Them Come offers to either re-roll enemy variations or give the player one of these temporary upgrades, letting players push on one wave at a time if they must, preventing them from ever being trapped and frustrated.
Once players have been enamoured by the sheer destructive fun Let Them Come’s campaign is, those 125 waves don’t feel like enough. Enter New Game Plus. New Game Plus lets players retry the campaign from the start with all upgrades intact. The catch? All enemies variants are now re-rolled for every wave, so you’ll be fighting your hardest from the get-go. Tougher monsters spawn at the beginning of the game and bosses now have a larger pool of health. It still isn’t much to keep you hooked, especially since there are no new enemy typed for you to encounter, New Game Plus is simply there to keep the bloodbath going.
There are a few extra modes that could potentially interest players seeking more monster mayhem. Rampage mode lets players try their hand at achieve high score, letting your friends know you’re the best alien ass kicker around. This gives players an arcade style competitive game mode that can play endlessly. On the other hand you have Boss Rush–which needs little explanation–and sees you fight wave after wave of boss with limited points to upgrade to begin with.
Let Them Come offered a surprising amount of variety for what essentially is a glorified shooting range. Weapons and upgrades feel unimpactful at first but quickly build momentum into some more fierce and powerful. Monsters are offered up on a platter for the player to blissfully murder then contorts the players elated murder spree into one of strategy and wit, continually mixing things up. But all this weighs heavy on how much players enjoy tower defence style games. If you don’t like Let Them Come from wave 1, then your mind is unlikely to change by wave 125.