For a long time I’ve wanted a game based on War of The Worlds. Not the 2005 Hollywood blockbuster featuring Tom Cruise, but something that follows the original novel by HG Wells. I’ve wanted a game that allows me to first-hand experience the terror of alien cylinders crashing into the landscape and disgorging a terrifying force of gigantic unstoppable machines. It would be a game where you spent your time not battling an alien menace, but running for your life, desperately searching for food and shelter as you make your escape.
Believe it or not, someone appears to be making precisely that.
Presenting the classic science fiction story as a first-person survival game, War Of The Worlds is a game currently in development by GelatoDev. After you and your horse witness an ominous green light streak across the sky you hear a distant explosion as it disappears behind the treeline. If curiosity gets the better of you, you find a small crowd of people stood around a large glowing cylinder embedded deep in the ground, where with a slow grinding noise the cylinder slowly unscrews and all hell breaks loose.
The tripods that emerge are terrifying and gargantuan, carrying heat-rays that scour the landscape, burning trees, buildings and people in their path. You can’t stop them, you can only run. Run and hide, hoping every second that the heat-ray won’t swing in your direction and those massive metal legs won’t crush you underfoot.
As you flee from the alien advance, the game’s day and night cycle progresses. Whilst navigation is easier during the day, you’re also a great deal easier to spot. The tripods can cover a surprising amount of ground very quickly due to their enormous stride, so it’s in your best interest to stay under cover.
Travelling the countryside you can scavenge for food and water supplies from isolated buildings or small villages. Stay too long, however, and the invaders might just come striding into town, plucking up villagers in their mechanical tentacles for nefarious purposes. Will you survive long enough to reach the coast and evacuate to sea? Probably not.
The developer describes the current status of the project as ‘a minimum viable product’ and this is no exaggeration. As it stands the game is completely untextured and prone to frequent crashes, with an extremely place-holder looking interface, but what is in evidence is a respect for the source material and what seems to be a genuine passion for the novel. I sincerely hope the project continues and I can’t wait to see what’s to come once the polish starts to be applied.
War of The Worlds can currently be downloaded free of charge from Itch.io at this link.