Aliens: Dark Descent is the squad-based tactical Aliens shooter game from Tindalos Interactive released in June 2023.
In Aliens: Dark Descent, command a squad of hardened Colonial Marines to stop a terrifying Xenomorph outbreak on Moon Lethe. Lead your soldiers in real-time combat against iconic Xenomorphs, rogue operatives from the insatiable Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and a host of horrifying creatures new to the Alien franchise.
You are the commander. They are your weapon.
Infiltrate large open levels and annihilate enemies with your squad, dispatching orders strategically and intuitively at the touch of a button. Tread carefully, as death is permanent and your foes will adapt their tactics to your actions while hunting you down. Forge unique paths for survival, uncovering shortcuts, creating safe zones, and setting up motion trackers in a persistent world where your actions impact levels forever.
Customize your squad with a selection of different classes. Level up and specialize your soldiers with unique abilities and an arsenal of weapons, armor, and perks, for high stakes missions in treacherous territory. Develop your base to research new tech and improve your squad even further.
Manage your resources wisely and take calculated risks to outsmart the deadliest creature mankind has ever faced. Can you and your squad stop the outbreak before it’s too late?
- Face off in a gripping original Alien story against iconic Xenomorph creatures ranging from Facehuggers to Praetorians, Alien Queens and many more, including rogue human commandos and a brand-new threat unique to this Alien storyline
- Lead strategically and change squad tactics from mission to mission, carefully managing your soldiers’ health, resources, and sanity, to avoid permanent team losses and mental breakdowns
- Forge unique paths for survival in a persistent world, uncovering shortcuts, creating safe zones and setting up motion trackers to stay one step ahead of these creatures
- Assemble and level up squads composed of 5 starting Marines classes, with dozens of specializations, unique abilities and weapons.
Aliens: Dark Descent was first announced on June 9, 2022 for a 2023 release date.
Aliens: Dark Descent was developed by French studio Tindalos Interactive which was formed in 2010. They have a background in PC games and previously developed the real-time strategy
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada and its sequel. The Aliens game is heavily inspired by James Cameron’s film when they felt the true fear and horror came when the Marines realised their weapons wouldn’t be enough to beat the Xenomorphs. It’s a world where they endlessly multiply and grow smarter over time learning from the Marines. The game’s gameplay features the anticipation that you might be overrun by an enemy that seems unkillable and it’s a style that is a departure from first-person shooters. The player can choose between stealth and action which each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
From the beginning of the game’s development, Tindalos worked hard to establish a tense and creepy atmosphere. So you’ll find dark corridors, flickering fluorescent lights and the constant threat of a Xenomorph attack. What changed the game for the better is when the developers added fog of war where areas of the map are hidden until you venture into them. This means, the player will have to play their routes carefully.
Tindalos wanted to avoid having swarms of Xenomorphs that the players would endlessly kill which would downplay their individual significance. So they wanted enemies to flank squads or retreat to come back with greater numbers. Permadeath is featured in the game where you can permanently lose experienced squad members which adds to the tension. Lots of accessibility options have been added to Aliens: Dark Descent including lower difficulties so some players can focus solely on the story and an option to turn slowdown mode into a full pause so you can approach the game in your own way.
The first trailer was released June 9, 2022 which was a cinematic trailer with a little bit of gameplay footage at the end. The Release Date trailer was released in March 2023 and announced the release date as June 20, 2023. The Preorder Trailer was released Alien Day – April 26, 2023 and featured a lot of new cinematic scenes we haven’t seen before, including some information about the game’s narrative and a much clearer look at Alien: Dark Descent’s mysterious Alien-esque humanoid enemy. The Story Trailer was released June 15, 2023 which featured new cutscenes about the story in the game. A final Release Trailer was released on June 20, 2023.
Aliens Dark Descent has received mixed to positive reception from critics and is currently sitting on a score of 75 on Metacritic. Reviewers praised the atmosphere, environments, sound design and story but lamented the numerous game-breaking technical issues where players have to restart whole missions. IGN scored it 7/10 and said they enjoyed the story but mentioned the numerous bugs they encountered in their playthrough.
If not for the technical issues, this would be easily one of the best Aliens games ever. And it still probably is. Borrowing from some of the greatest squad-based tactics games and adding its own twists, I don’t think I’ve played anything that really gets what was so cool about Aliens, the film, since Monolith’s Aliens Versus Predator 2 way back in 2001.
Eurogamer scored Dark Descent 6/10 and felt there could be more variety of dialogue. They weren’t keen on how the Xenomorphs were brushed aside later in the campaign for new enemies. “Aliens: Dark Descent is an occasionally wayward but on the whole, inspired movie adaptation, and a suspenseful real-time tactics game.”
A positive review was found on wccftech which gave the game 8.5/10 – again mentioning the bugs but said it’s the best game based on Aliens with a decent story and suspenseful atmosphere.
Aliens: Dark Descent is an excellent real-time tactics game mixed with survival horror and arguably the best Aliens game around. Excellent tactical action in a world ever-succumbing to the Xenomorph threat, you will find resources scarce, leading to difficult decisions, ones made all the more difficult when time is also a factor. Add on an engaging enough story and an excellent atmosphere, and you have a game that I can’t help but recommend to anybody and everybody.
Aliens: Dark Descent Soundtrack Now Available! ()
Move It, You Slugs! Reviewing Aliens: Dark Descent – AvP Galaxy Podcast #170 ()
Dissecting Aliens: Dark Descent, A Discussion with Writer & Narrative Designer Thibaut Claudel – AvP Galaxy Podcast #169 ()
Aliens Dark Descent Update 1.04 Released for PC & Consoles ()
Huge Aliens: Dark Descent Art Blast Released! ()
You can view the full news archive for the game here.