The absolute nicest thing I think I could say about Let Them Come is that I can definitely picture it standing in some unwieldy cabinet at some arcade from my childhood. It’s got that craving sort of feel to it that has kids feverishly digging for quarters awash the flashing light of CRT monitors. Not only that, but it looks like the developer, Tuatara Games, hit the visuals right where they were aiming for with their pixely stationary shooty game.
The problem is that I don’t really like it all that much.
So, the thing about old arcade games is that they weren’t always very good. They took that feeling of being so close to winning and figured out how to bring that right out of a person. Combine that with rampant difficulty spikes and various pleasing boops and beeps and you’ve got yourself the old school arcade experience. However, the game over countdown feels a lot less impactful when you aren’t dashing to get more change but are actually on your couch pressing the start button. It’s why arcade games don’t transition well to consoles, and why I’m not playing the X-Men arcade game constantly until the day I die.
Just like those arcade cabinets of yore, Let Them Come is great for a little while here and there. Players are the sole survivor battling against endless hordes of alien monsters all seeking to do them gory bodily harm. You’ll perch behind a stationary gun emplacement at the end of a long hallway and try to blow them all away. Kill well enough and you’ll build your combo meter up enough to gain a perk which can be upgraded in a similar fashion. Furthermore, all this alien shooting proves to be fairly lucrative and money earned through genocide can be spent on various upgrades, such as melee weapons, better ammo types, and grenades.
That’s really the long and short of Let Them Come. Kill monsters as they run down a hallway, following which a boss appears that you will also have to shoot. Succeed and you get a new background, fail and you can upgrade and try again. Such a simple game with such limited mechanics gets boring after a while. Like I said, it’s great in bursts, and the sounds track is pretty cool as well.
Your mileage will vary here, but the graphics in Let Them Come feel very hit at miss for me. I like the monster designs just fine, they’re weird and gross and fun, but I hate the protagonist. The backgrounds go from super cool to downright boring, with dynamic lighting playing a big part in some of the better ones. I miss having a health bar, but the main character’s big bloody face taking its place in a style similar to the original Doom is kind of neat.
I think the absolute biggest problem with Let Them Come is that you shouldn’t play it on a console or a PC. This shouldn’t be a game that you sit down and play for hours on end. This would be absolutely perfect for a mobile release. The good news is, rumour is that iOS and Android iterations on the horizon, but that’s not here yet. If Let Them Come is something you want to experience, I strongly suggest you wait to play it on your cell phone rather than anywhere else.