Falling Skies: The Game (Wii U) Review

By Ian Soltes 30.11.2014 6

Review for Falling Skies: The Game on Wii U

Falling Skies: The Game, developed and published by Little Orbit for the Wii U - released on eShop in the US only for now - is a game based off the TNT show of the same name. Despite a potentially potent pedigree with its mother series providing the plot and the gameplay of XCOM, all Falling Skies manages to do is leave both the game and players floundering around, gasping for air. While not the worst game ever, it is both utterly shameless and boring.

Games based on non-game franchises always have an uphill battle. Many players whom pick up the game will not be familiar with the source material, which leaves the game with an added challenge of filling in plot and story details, in addition to providing fun and engaging gameplay. Some manage to pull this off wonderfully and manage to not only provide a solid experience, but also make people interested in the show/book/movie/whatever. Falling Skies fails at both aspects as it leaves the player with both a... Ooo! A butterfly! Look at it fluttering around, all pretty and adorable-looking!

Sorry.

Falling Skies: The Game is both lacking in a real draw to the original show, as well as presenting gameplay so boring and tedious that even writing the review of the game is a viable sedative. While the game may not be BAD, the only interest in the show it will generate will be people looking it up to see if it was really as boring as the game makes it out to be.

Oooo! The butterfly landed on a flower!

Screenshot for Falling Skies: The Game on Wii U

The gameplay follows a fairly straightforward formula - commence with a squad of guys, starting at four and increasing up to six in size, and then take this team out on a series of missions. These take place on a grid-based map where the team has to be careful, utilising cover for protection from enemy fire, as well as a variety of skills ranging from improved grenade power, the ability to leap great distances, high-accuracy sniping, and the like. The player struggles to find resources to build and upgrade equipment to keep a constant edge against increasingly threatening foes and has to be careful because one wrong move can send that beloved sniper that has been around since the beginning of the game to an early grave with only her name plastered on a memorial to remind gamers of their failings.

On the surface it sounds interesting but when the game actually implements these things it becomes a… Oh! A kitty is now playing with the butterfly and it just landed on his nose!

Sorry (again).

It becomes a constant slog through boring and repetitive missions to the point where watching the actual show while playing the game and simply pausing every half-hour or so to do house chores is possible and it would still be more engaging than the actual game itself. Enemy AI is so dull that without even trying it is easy to exploit it for an easy experience as many will gladly run into the line of fire, ignore the plight of their allies, expose themselves for extra shots, and generally be anything except competent! If it wasn't for some cheap things on the alien side (yes, the premise is that there is an alien invasion…) it would be far too easy to beat entire missions without taking any damage, even for a novice.

Screenshot for Falling Skies: The Game on Wii U

Despite this, the gameplay is, at least, 'acceptable.' It might be a tedious, maligned version of XCOM, but it is…serviceable. The story, however, is not. It is questionable and is so wrapped up in the show's yarn as to be nigh-impregnable to those not already familiar with it. Generic aliens #1138, also known as the 'Espheni,' have invaded Earth trying to take over the world, of course. Is there any other reason that aliens might invade Earth at some point? Human-kind is trounced and reduced to fighting as a resistance using refurbished equipment to combat the aliens that slaughtered the armies of every nation on Earth, and are holding their own thanks to generic aliens #1139, also known as the 'Volm,' coming to help them.

Oh hey! Filing tax returns! Sweet!

Wait? Was there a game being reviewed? Oh. Right.

The story is utterly meaningless to people that have not watched the show. Who is 'Maggie'? Who is 'Pope'? Who is that black guy who looks like his eyes are almost popping out of his head? Who cares? The game does not. It may sound like Little Orbit's title is just throwing names around, but it is exactly the opposite. The characters are so sparse in their presentation and existence to, effectively, not exist at all. While part of this can be blamed on the game-type being focused around a squad of non-descript characters, it is not an excuse for not providing any information at all about who they are. What little screen-time they have is overwhelmed by the tedium of the missions where they are not present at all.

Screenshot for Falling Skies: The Game on Wii U

Last up: the graphics, which can be summed up in one sentence. Reading the letters on the screen should not require looking down at the GamePad to be able to make out what they say clearly. For whatever baffling reason, Little Orbit decided to work on the graphics in such a manner as to be… acceptable… on the GamePad, but blurry and, at times, nigh-illegible on a TV screen. Goodness knows how this looks on the other home consoles that do not have the added benefit of a screen on their controllers! Putting that aside, there is little to look at - bland and uninteresting visuals, consisting of little more than broken-down and ruined landscapes. Even putting that aside (that's two asides now), the graphics are just poorly done to the point where the characters seem near-identical to each other in appearance, and it can be hard to tell a man from a woman. At least one of the characters looks like his eyes are about to pop out of his head… Everything also has a pasty/dirty feel to it that is surpassed by games on the PS2 and, possibly, even the N64 and PS1. There were games that were clearer, more vibrant, and more pleasing to look at as early as the dawn of gaming.

Screenshot for Falling Skies: The Game on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Falling Skies: The Game on Nintendo Wii U eShop is so lacking in every regard, and overall terribly bland, that it is easy to get distracted from actually playing it. Not from any sort of disorder but, rather, a desire to do something else just to relieve the boredom. Everything is simply incompetently put together to a degree that seems nigh-legendary. This is the sort of game that, several generations ago, could only be known as a rumour told by a friend of a friend whose brother once heard about the game existing. To be fair, Little Orbit's title isn't actually 'terrible' so much as it is just… boring. The only thing saving this from the lowest rating is that the game that was ripped off was somewhat decent but, otherwise, it's just one that will lie forgotten in the back corners of the net. That kitty with the butterfly filing taxes is more deserving of attention than this.

Developer

Little Orbit

Publisher

Little Orbit

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

I know some people love it, but this was basicly my experience of the show too Smilie
Tried 6 epps or so and found it generic/boring. I think I liked one of the alien designs given they wore armour, and I appreciated the remaining civilians used bikes a lot (oddly overlooked transport in post apoc settings - you still got roads folks!). But everything else was just people shouting at eachother in forests.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

I couldn't get past episode 1...zzz... Hyped as a Steven Spielberg vehicle, I was too underwhelmed to stick with it.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Adam Riley said:
I couldn't get past episode 1...zzz... Hyped as a Steven Spielberg vehicle, I was too underwhelmed to stick with it.

I also tried that dinosaur one that was also hyped due to a Spielberg connection, but similar bordem. Hell, dispute it being set in prehistoric times it had much less actual dinosaurs then Primeval.
Still, wasn't quite as bad as falling skys, but still suffered from the "people shouting at eachother in forests" syndrome that has ineffected tv.

( Edited 03.12.2014 13:48 by Darkflame )

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Terranova? I tried a few episodes of that as well...but no, not the best... That got cancelled after just one series, though, whilst Falling Skies somehow survived!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Brutal review. >_>

Well, the problem is that it put absolutely 0 effort into its gameplay. It xeroxed X-com, made one or two tweaks to make it 'different' (it isn't), slathered on some meaningless story that only someone who saw the show would even know about, and sent it out there. The game didn't have a chance in the first place except with people who were already fans of the show. I don't know how they would react but I literally forgot I even made this review until writing my review for Hard West.

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