Falling Skies: The Game Review


Falling Skies is the number one show on TNT and now invades your home on console. Facing an alien invasion, humanity makes a stand in this turn based tactical RPG strategy game. Will humanity rise victorious against the alien threat or face annihilation? Read on to find out.

Game: Falling Skies: The Game
Developer: Torus Games
Publisher: Little Orbit/Bandai Namco
Reviewed on:



Based on the TV series Falling Skies, Earth has been attacked by an alien race known as the Espheni and a majority of the mass population has been wiped out, with small groups of survivors left scattered outside the major cities of the world. Taking place between seasons three and four of the TV series you assume the roles of a group of survivors in Boston known as the 2nd Mass. As part of the resistance you encounter an engineer who claims he can build a destructive weapon that will aid in the fight against the Espheni. Characters from the show including Tom Mason and John Pope form part of your group that is set the task of scavenging for components as you fight your way through the invaders in a series of tactical missions to build the weapon that will help humanities war for survival.


Despite being in 2014 with stunning 1080p visuals, powerful new systems and games continually growing more realistic, do not expect much here. Sadly Falling Skies: The Game takes a plunge into the past and has been produced for the last gen consoles on Xbox 360 and the PS3. Whilst these old boys still have life in them yet this could have been a great opportunity to give new life to tactical turn based games and bring them into modern day. What we find here however is a game that looks like it should have been produced for the original Xbox or PS2, which may have made it more acceptable to the times and given it more of a fighting chance, but as we have grown spoilt to gorgeously detailed, shiny games this is a great disappointment visually.

Character models are very basic and blocky which is also made evident in their animations and cutscenes, for which there are very few of. The playable maps are limited, however this does not mean that they are rich environments. Surroundings tend to look a bit gloomy, with lots of grey and shabby colours that tend to just blend in to each other without capturing much attention, though a bright jacket may be a bit too much if you want to evade the invading aliens so this does add to the rather depressing predicament humanity finds itself in.

With a top down view of your location there is only a limited space to see, and whilst you can adjust the angle precise movement is not easy. Textures and rendering make it feel like you have journeyed back in time. Rocks, buildings and even grass for example feel rather flat and lifeless which is even more apparent when you get close. The aliens on the other hand are perhaps the best looking thing in the game. Grass patches prove to be a hindrance when trying to manoeuvre an individual as they obstruct your view of the cursor, often placing it where you least want it to which can prove fatal to your strategy.

Whilst graphics are not the most vital aspect of a game they certainly make it a more pleasant experience. Today’s games have high expectations on visuals and it just feels that this was made for a time we have since evolved from, it is not of the quality you expect for a new release today. For a game that requires a good strategy and some precision, having visual elements that are obstructive to this makes for a frustrating experience.


As you would expect during an alien invasion the musical score is rather gloomy, filled with a little tension. The soundtrack contains orchestral pieces, consisting mostly of piano scores. Sadly the variety of tracks is extremely limited, with only a few playing throughout the game, and soon become very repetitive and dull. This does however make it a great game to play whilst you listen to a playlist of your own, or have the TV on in the background.

Fans of the TV series will be pleased to know that the original TV cast make an appearance in game, voicing their respective roles such as Noah Wyle who plays Tom Mason. The voice acting is acceptable and is great to have the original casts input to tie it in with the series, however not much is heard away from the cutscenes other than the odd sentence shouted by your units as you perform actions. Most tend to be ignored except for one character called Lori James. This butch, hard-core female takes no silly business and is certainly up for some bustling action but comes out with some rather annoying but funny phrases such as “en routey” which makes it slightly more entertaining.


Falling Skies: The Game is a tactical turn-based RPG and thus requires some planning and carefully executed manoeuvres in order to succeed. It is all about using the space well and to your advantage whilst using good teamwork, making the most of your characters abilities to get the job done without suffering too many casualties. Those familiar with this genre may notice that it takes much inspiration from XCOM to the extent that it is almost a clone wearing a Fallen Skies skin, and elements in the gameplay show plenty of evidence of this, including the blue and yellow grid. There are some useful differences, such as any class being able to use most heavy weapons.  Those new to this genre of games can rest assured that it is quick and easy to pick up with its basic mechanics.

You are plunged right into the action which serves as a mini tutorial to the controls and gameplay. Each map is formed of a square grid that you use to navigate your units around. You can rotate through four angles to find the view that best suits you and it is helpful when you need to take cover and find the right spot or to see where your enemies lie. Sections of the map will be shrouded in fog that can only be seen as you get closer or through the use of flash bombs, but be careful not to rush in as enemies may lurk within that will put down a separated person. Frustratingly it is not always obvious which direction you should be heading in as pointers are often way out of range and you can spend ages trying to find it hidden in the darkest, deepest corners of the map only to then have to struggle to find your way back to your current position.

The game progresses through phases where you enact moves for your turn, then at the end it moves on to the enemy to make their strike. Each unit has 2 AP to use and you start off with four units but can later upgrade to a a maximum 6. On your move you have a selection of actions available, each action using 1 AP. The grid has two zones marked by blue and yellow boundaries. Moving in the blue zone uses 1 AP, allowing you to take another action whereas moving into the yellow zone uses 2 AP and ends the turn so it is wise to take some time and analyse your positions and plan your course effectively, especially keeping an eye on ammo which can run out quickly. Certain skills will allow you make a move after this which can be acquired through upgrades, and getting one up on the enemy is not a bad plan.

Gameplay is basic and quickly becomes repetitive. A lack of challenging AI results in missions that can be beaten with ease. With the right tactics enemies can find it hard to cover the distance to reach you and can be picked off from a distance even without a sniper, though your aim may not be accurate and result in a miss or less damaging. Some enemies seem to move in the opposite direction, running scared and often its a game of hide and seek. Skitters can cover a good distance but their attacks are hardly enough to take you out, with only mechs proving more of a challenge due to their explosive talents. Other aliens you encounter are spider like crawlies and harnessed humans, people who have been captured and fitted with alien tech to do their bidding. For times when you do find yourself in a pickle you can heal with first aid kits or restart a heart with a defibrillator, so long as you can figure out how to use it which is not made very clear.

Missions are varied, from rescuing vulnerable individuals and escorting them to safety, collecting intel or an all-out purge of enemies in the area. Selecting missions will give you a briefing, with a description of resources you will gain that you will need for upgrades and recruiting new volunteers and the enemies you will encounter. This allows you to judge if you feel you can take the challenge on or prioritise other missions. Some missions will also have requirements such as a specific character needs to survive for it to be a success. Should you fail and try again you may find the map will vary from a previous attempt, from a change in the time of day to the way the enemies re-spawn, which makes for a fresher experience.

On completing a mission you will return to the second Mass Base Camp. Here is where you will customise and level up your units and upgrade your equipment and select missions. In the War Room you can select squad missions to progress the story and take on side missions. You can also select a dispatch mission and send a unit to gather resources that you will need to upgrade various things. This is a safer way to collect extra resources and level up characters. This will take one mission to complete making that unit unavailable for use. The Armoury allows you to view all your units and their status and recruit new members, though oddly enough it does not show which class the recruits are which can mean wasted food on a class you don’t need. You can customise your units here but don’t expect too much as this is rather limited. Choices include changing weapons, ammo and protection as well as on hand items like first aid kits and grenades. You can also change your name, nickname and change the colour of your clothing, but this seems rather pointless. As you level you can upgrade your skills with an option of one or two per level, some of which are class specific. If you wish to alter your choice later on then you can by using resources but this will override the previous selection. Classes include Berserkers, a good front man with heavy damage and can take a hit. Fighters are all-rounder’s good in combat, Scouts serve as back line snipers and Spiked Kids are good for healing and travelling longer distances. Utilising their skills and attributes effectively for a balanced team is key to any strategy. You can upgrade your squad slots to up to 6 units or gain other advantages such as experience gain. The Workshop is where you can research new weapons and assorted accessories. The Infirmary allows you to view injured units where you will find out how many missions must be completed before they are fit for action. You can upgrade to acquire healing kits as well as improve recovery time which is essential to get back the units you spent time developing. Lastly there is a memorial where you can mourn the lost lives of fallen units and despair over the loss of your best fighter.


Those new to turn based strategy games can be pick this up quickly and with the right approach can be completed relatively. For skilled strategists it shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. With the right strategy it is easy to breeze through missions but the lack of smart AI and repetitive gameplay can make you lose interest and the graphics certainly won’t wow you. The story is slow to progress and for people unaware of the series previous events it is difficult to get sucked in. Fans of the series may find this useful as a filler, however if you are looking for a challenge and immersive gameplay then you may wish to look elsewhere.


Having not watched the TV series I found it hard to get into the story which was not explained in enough depth. Placing the game in between series means that newcomers may find it difficult to relate to and lacks the background knowledge which adds context to the game. Despite its simplicity and sorry looks I did find it engaging for a while however the repetitiveness, lack of challenging AI and no grasp of the story means that it won’t be something I go back to without further understanding. If you are a fan of the series and are looking for a simple turn based strategy game then this may be for you but considering the calibre of games we are spoilt to on current gen I feel that this may have been released at the wrong time. With more polishing this could have been a good little game however like many other TV and Movie based games it fails to create much of good impact.


Writer for NGB. Has an unwavering passion for gaming and enthralling stories. Avid collector of Collector Edition games, she is constantly on the lookout for new additions to add to her ever growing collection. Indulges in RPG's, Action-Adventures and Puzzle titles. Dragon age and Mass Effect devotee.


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