There's something about taking on hordes of alien invaders that's still fun decades later. Earth's Dawn combines melee and ranged combat to create one thrilling action-packed adventure so let's suit up and enter E.B.E. territory.
An alien force known as E.B.E. is invading Earth and it's your job as a super-human soldier and member of A.N.T.I. to put an end to them. After creating your character, it's off to war! You control your little soldier by running, jumping, boosting, and performing a mix of melee and ranged attacks. There's a variety of enemies that are easier to overcome once you master how to take them out. For example, some heavily-armoured foes can have their shields destroyed with a gun then you can simply hack up what's left with a few slashes of your blade. On top of that, you'll eventually gain the ability to temporarily transform and unleash powerful attacks using an Exceed Unit. Considering there are so many abilities and weapons to master as you cut down the ever-growing variety of alien invaders, the combat can get very intense. Thankfully, the controls are tight which makes the chaos manageable.
As you can probably already tell by looking at the screenshots, Earth's Dawn has a unique art style. At first, it comes across as odd and kind of funny but as you progress, it'll grow on you. Each character has a big head and stubby body but watching them acrobatically take out oncoming aliens actually ends up looking quite badass. The environments are rather intimidating at times with dark tunnels and imposing alien fortresses. On the audio side, the music is mostly disappointing. I'd expect the soundtrack to be full of high-energy tunes to match the crazy action but instead, it's mostly quiet. Even the more energetic tunes are full of generic guitars that end up sounding boring, too. Anyway, the sound effects of gunfire and sword slashes are spot-on while character voices add a layer of fervour.
One of the coolest parts of Earth's Dawn is its character growth mechanics. Besides basic levelling up, you also gather a wealth of materials and energy that you can use to craft and enhance weapons and armour. Certain materials may make the same weapon behave completely differently such as by infusing poison. Once you have a weapon that you're happy with, using spare parts to enhance its attributes will make it even better. Additionally, you'll fill out a massive skill tree as you complete missions. These skills increase your base stats as well as provide bonuses including the ability to slide and find rare materials easier. You're going to need to master both equipment crafting and the skill tree if you want to be powerful enough to fend off the impending alien invasions. These occur at specific times so once the countdown reaches zero, you better be ready! Good thing you can take on missions freely to appropriately level up.
Although the combat is intuitive and satisfying, it also starts to become repetitive early on. It is exciting to encounter new varieties of aliens but that excitement goes away shortly after you learn how to effectively snuff them out. However, things won't stay boring for long because there are many difficulty spikes that'll surely frustrate. After the first couple of invasions, the bosses get ridiculous with many enemies constantly spawning while the boss heals itself. Even some regular enemies become tough to work your way through. At points, you'll try your best to level up for hours and still barely be able to progress. I wish Game Genie was still around...
Earth's Dawn is a solid 2D action game that unfortunately suffers from repetition and irritating difficulty spikes. Besides that, if you're looking for your next challenge then this is sure to give your thumbs a worthy workout.
- + Tight and intense combat with a variety of enemies, weapons, and abilities
- + Unique art style and great sound effects
- + Satisfying character growth mechanics
- - Gameplay gets repetitive quite early on
- - Music doesn't match the onscreen chaos
- - Difficulty spikes can be very frustrating