From Space? You’ll Soon Be Heading Back There, Alien Scum

A classic top-down arcade shooter model, From Space is a great example of how to do a sci-fi shooter for solo players, as well an online co-op party.

I have a lot of love for From Space already, and it will be a game that hovers around my GOTY compilation in a couple of months. GOTY? Already?! Before we wish our lives away, let’s focus on today’s release, a classic isometric shooter available for PC and Nintendo Switch.

With a generic title and theme (it’s the mid-80s, and aliens have invaded the Earth, you’re the only hope… blah, blah, blah), it’s fair to say that this could get lost in the crowd. However… give it just a few seconds of your time, a.k.a. the trailer further down, and you’ll be surprised just how much fun this game is.

Perhaps it’s From Space’s roots in classic arcade gameplay: drop into a zone, help out the NPCs with their zombie/gang/alien troubles, unlock new weapons and upgrade them, and presumably, save the day. That might sound a bit old hat, but if it ain’t broke, Triangle Studios need not fix it. But… boy, have they made this thing pretty and highly playable.

From Space Review - Pink it was love at first sight
Pink, it was love at first sight. Source: Steam

From Space Review

It’s worth noting that the developers were also behind the highly stylish It Came From Outer Space and Ate Our Brains, which I own on the Switch. It was a great-looking game but lacked the excitement of this title.

Initially playing this on the Steam Deck, though hoping over to the desktop as a few cutscenes didn’t play, I was blown away by how good it looks. Published by Curve Games – behind one of my favourite games, Space Crew, the same cute, over-sized headed characters exist, but in a much sharper resolution with lots of colours that pop – notably the pink aliens. It’s a teeny bit like Heaven Dust 2, only much brighter.

With a selection of classes that include defence, offence and support, the starting line-up boasts pyromaniacs, snipers and wielders of mini-guns, and each class genuinely plays out differently – perhaps with their speed, health levels or damage meters. While the sniper in From Space is very cool, she’s essentially a breadstick to the mini-gun-wielding rock who likes to embrace the pain. Hint as to who I prefered to play with.

Go To Hell – Er, Space, Aliens!

Besides the numerous arsenal available, traps such as simple barbed wire to stop aliens swarming you, proximity mines, and shields that allow you to block anything coming in but give full access to the ammo being squandered into the alien carcasses. Arguably, the multiple grenade options are the best, though aiming can be tricky once you’ve already been spotted.

One of the biggest selling points for From Space is the online co-op mode, where you can use one of the in-game telephone boxes and call in a friend to help out. Predictably, I didn’t play the co-op mode, perhaps missing a vital point in this review – but hey, not everyone had access to the game before its release. That said, this game will likely break my habit, and today I’ll be encouraging fellow gamers to get this so we can play together.

The Steam page does say you can play solo (if you’re brave enough), but it’s pretty fair on your lonesome. NPCs will occasionally join you for a mission, and the AI is decent enough; just be prepared to heal your comrades when they fall; otherwise, you’ll have to Leroy Jenkins it and clear the areas in advance, ensuring that they stop following you while you do so.

From Space also includes a levelling-up system, so through progression, you’ll unlock new goodies and can develop your character’s specialist skill once you’ve found those that compliment your playstyle. In turn, you can apply perks once you unlock them, which really opens up the game.

The fast and frantic gameplay is a winner if you like top-down shooters, and though it’s not something you should base your decisions on, the visuals are brilliant. This didn’t stutter once on my mid-range desktop on some of the highest settings. The Steam Deck also works well, but as mentioned, some cutscenes dropped. However, upon collecting a few more ideas for this write-up, there was a significant update, and the game now works perfectly on the Deck. My only beef is it lost all of my progress. Does that deter me? Hell no – From Space is a fantastic game and highly recommended. Perhaps I’ll rope in one of my mates, and together we can save the world. Or let it burn. Remember, it’s 1986…