A Delightful New Co-Op Shooter Just Landed on Xbox Game Pass
It came from outer space.
There is a type of game that’s gained prevalence in the past decade that acts as a digital third space. Traditionally, the third space is one separate from work or the home — it's just a place to hang out. As such, third space games are often multiplayer or co-op games that let you hang out with your friends and catch up while engaging with a mostly mindless gameplay loop. From Space, a new co-op horde shooter on Xbox Game Pass, fits that mold perfectly.
The premise is as simple as they come: aliens are invading Earth, shoot the aliens. That’s it. The gameplay takes the form of a traditional top-down twin-stick shooter, with a story and horde mode available in which the player must defeat all enemies in a given level while attempting to complete objectives. Again, it's fairly simple. But simple isn’t always bad.
From Space is competently made, but not innovative, providing the perfect place to just catch up with your friends. During the game’s horde mode, I was on a Discord call. The early stages of horde mode were easy enough that my friend and I mostly spent our time mindlessly completing the tasks and eliminating enemies on the map while we chatted after work. It’s something we would do anyway, but From Space gave us a more active way to spend that time.
To give players more to pay attention to, From Space offers a variety of classes to choose from. These have more impact on play when you are enjoying From Space with a friend, as you can create a party built to support each other. The Lab Assistant role can act as a traditional offensive player, while a friend can take the role of Flame Trooper and act as a damage sponge who draws enemies out.
Map design is also varied enough to offer unique challenges that keep the player from getting too bored with the repetition of the gameplay loop. Each map has a level of interactivity to it that gives you more options if you pay attention to what’s around you. In one level, my friend and I could lure enemies onto a bridge and press a button to retract it from under them, making them fall to a lower level in a large concentrated group. Throwing a grenade or two in that pile of enemies was then a way to make quick work of them and finish the wave without getting in harm’s way or wasting ammunition.
From Space is the type of game you can intend to sit down with for a couple of minutes and play with a friend, but before you know it, hours have passed as wave after wave allows you to continuously talk. It’s a delightful digital third space.