It’s the end of the world as we know it

Based loosely on the 1898 novel and the 1953 movie (and definitely not on the 2005 piece of trash film), War of the Worlds takes place in 1953 London, where after monitoring the Earth for centuries, aliens have finally decided to attack. Panic quickly spreads as the English first think that somehow the Germans have begun to attack again, being only several years after the end of World War II. Soon though as bodies begin to be vaporized by weaponry beyond anything seen before, even greater panic sets in as this is an enemy not seen before by human eyes.

Moving away from the global scale of the attack, the game follows one man returning to London by train when the attack first starts. His personal quest is to save his family who were in London at the time the attack began and to find a way to get them out alive. Very cinematic in its visual style with many different layers of beautifully painted and rendered textures, the most striking thing about War of the Worlds may actually be the audio. Mood setting orchestrations along with the brilliant choice of the game’s narrator in Sir Patrick Stewart, recalling the levels of the game as he looks back on the invasion now as an older man, helps to give you this feeling of near helplessness as this common man is simply looking to reunite with his family in the midst of a disaster the likes had never been seen up to that point or since.

And the helpless feeling only will continue with the game play as you are truly nothing more than your average human. Set up almost like classic Pitfall, the game is a 2D side-scrolling platformer that centers more on puzzle solving and avoiding instant kill obstacles than on shooting or destroying things. Taking cover to avoid lasers, dodging alien mines, and using your surroundings to your full advantage is the extent of your abilities as the game will likely push your platforming skills to their limits while immersing you in this beautiful looking and near cinematic story-telling experience.

PARTING SHOT: Although the controls felt a little stiff in the early build we saw, if you are a fan of old-school platformers that revolve more around overcoming obstacles than just blowing them up or maybe just like the good ol’ fashioned alien invasion story set in another era than modern times, then you should keep an eye out for when this drops on XBLA and PSN sometime in October.