11 Best Alien Invasion Games Loved By Millions Worldwide

Alien Invasion Games
I really don't think that gun will make a difference.

Here is what to do if E.T. doesn't come in peace.

Are we alone in the universe? People have pondered the idea of alien life for years, and our fascination reflects in our media. Movies, novels, and television have been saturated with sci-fi stories depicting various scenarios where we encounter alien life. More often than not, the aliens aren't particularly agreeable and want our planet, our resources, or to hunt us. Humanity (almost) always comes out on top in these scenarios, luckily. Video games, just like all other media, often include extraterrestrial themes. How do humans win in the face of the odds? Sci-fi games like the ones below allow you to decide.

11. Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines Gameplay

Regardless of what critics may say, no list of games about alien invasions would be complete without mentioning the Alien franchise. This particular entry is quite controversial, and I would recommend looking at the newest alien game Alien: Isolation first, however this better fits our theme. The game invites players to return to the setting of the second film, which is often regarded as the best of the series. The terrifying Xenomorphs still infest the colony, and your small group of marines are sent in to clear them out.

We could go on about the numerous issues the game suffers from, however reviewers and players have covered all that and then some already. While the aliens might be a tad stupid, the game does offer a wide variety of ways to get rid of them. Colonial Marines features one of the best weapon customization systems I have seen in a long time. Ticking out your pulse rifle has never felt so good.

If Colonial Marines is anything to go by, the aliens won't be nearly as much of a threat as their freaky exteriors would suggest. Despite the Xenomorphs coming in all shapes, sizes, and specialized roles that maximise their killing efficiency, they're pretty dumb. They are nothing to fear (in this game, at least) as long as you have a high-powered projectile weapon handy.

Alien, Video Game

Guess who?

You would think he would smell the alien that close..

10. Serious Sam

Serious Sam Gameplay

Older gamers may remember the original Serious Sam games from the early 2000's. The quirky alien invasion shooter franchise was known for being over the top, violent, and unendingly silly. In Serious Sam, mankind gets caught up in a war between ancient and powerful alien races. One of these races is benevolent and left all kinds of time-travel artefacts and advanced tech on Earth. This allows Sam “Serious” Stone to hop between different time periods while fighting the aliens’ extra-terrestrial overlord “Mental”.

The main games in the franchise were all fast-paced first person shooters reminiscent of the original Doom with updated visuals. After becoming a sudden hit, Serious Sam saw multiple spin-off games on a wide range of platforms and genres. One thing stayed constant – aliens were killed in various brutal ways.

Be it the iconic minigun, the chainsaw, or the akimbo revolvers, Serious Sam loved offering players new and inventive ways of mutilating the invaders. This game allowed you to gib aliens anywhere from Egypt to Mesoamerica, even touching on places like medieval Europe.

The stomach mouth is disconcerting.

Gibs, everywhere.

9. Halo

Halo 2 Gameplay

Halo on a PC games list? Well, back in the day when Halo was still under Bungie's wing, Halo games got PC ports. Combat Evolved and Halo 2 both made their way over to Windows. If you've played Halo 2, either back then or as part of the newer Master Chief Collection, you'll know its place on this list about alien invasions is well earned.

The Halo series is set during a seemingly one-sided war between mankind and the Covenant - a massive faction comprised of multiple alien races. Outnumbered and out-gunned, humanity depends on a special breed of super-soldiers called Spartans who possess enhanced physical abilities and specialized tech.

Regarded by many long-time fans as the best installment of the series, Halo 2 showed us what fighting a desperate war against Covenant forces would be like. Somehow, humanity still found a way to persevere. Of course, we can only hope there are ways other than abducting children and subjecting them to painful, invasive operations and genetic experiments to stand a chance against invaders. But hey, the Spartans still got the job done, right?

Help me, Master Chief. You’re my only hope.

Classic Master Chief.

8. Crysis

Crysis Gamplay

The Crysis series started out as a glorified tech demo, though it did have solid gameplay and a decent plot. The second and third instalments ramped up the story dramatically. The Crysis plot and backstory did get a little complex, but that is what happens when you have an unplanned spinoff.

Even so, the story is pretty unique as far as alien plotlines go. The Ceph had been dormant on Earth long before humans even evolved. When a small group of them is accidentally awoken on an island, they signal to their fleet to invade Earth. Using alien tech, humans develop super-powered nanosuits which bond with their wearers. One such nanosuit operator ends up trying to prevent the full-scale invasion.

Beyond the tangled plot were some of the coolest aliens ever to appear in a video game. The Ceph are a race of hyper-intelligent but fragile squid-like aliens who construct different kinds of heavily armoured mech-suits around themselves. Due to variations in the mech-suits, the game is able to offer a wide range of enemies with unique designs.

The moral dilemma within Crysis is akin to  Halo's. The nanosuits featured in the game which give the player superhuman abilities were derived from alien tech. Prolonged use of the suit results in the user's body merging with it. If the suit is then removed, the user’s body dies, but their  mind survives within the suit. This means that the next wearer’s own consciousness would eventually be overwhelmed.

Why don't I ever get invited to the grill party?

Dramatic explosions really add some intensity.

7. Starcraft

Starcraft Gameplay

Humans may be called Terrans, and they may be inhabiting a different sector of space, but this game counts as an invasion scenario regardless. In Blizzard's legendary sci-fi strategy game, mankind is caught in the crossfire of the war between the two “children” of the Xel'Naga, an extinct alien race. The Xel'naga may not be around anymore, but they left the prejudicial Protoss and the savage Zerg behind to keep the Terrans company.

The Zerg are little more than animals, however they are very resilient and extremely bloodthirsty – plus their reproduction rate is absurd. The Protoss on the other hand are few in number, but their technology is practically magical. Due to this, mankind had to adapt two very different kinds of warfare in order to survive.

Depending on what kind of enemy the Terran face, their strategy must adapt. Luckily, they have plenty of resources to pull from. There employ versatile marines, long-range siege tanks, the stealthy wraith, and devastating battlecruisers to help humanity on the front-lines. Terran tech has continued to advance dramatically over the years with newer units such as the Marauders and the massive Thor mechs to help give them a fighting chance.

Gotta love those lasers.

Microing units can get complicated when everything is covered in lasers.

6. Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem Forever Gameplay

While the adventures of Duke Nukem began within the side-scrolling genre, the series and its eponymous protagonist were catapulted into the gaming hall of fame when Duke Nukem 3D was released. Launched during the golden DOOM era, Duke Nukem 3D is considered to be one of the games that helped popularize first person shooters. It had a fast pace, plenty of weapons, maze-like maps, terrifying enemies, harrowing boss fights, and an endless stream of one-liners.

Duke Nukem originated in an era where plot was much less extensive. The game involves aliens invading Earth because they're aliens and it's a cool video game theme. Duke, being the hyper-awesome protagonist that he is, then kills said aliens with his fists and occasionally with guns. Shakespearian, right?

The ill-fated last installment of this legend was stuck in development hell for over 15 years. Finally the game was released by Gearbox in 2011, a dev that has a terrible track record of reviving first person shooters. Duke Nukem Forever was met with generally negative reviews that criticized the dated graphics, schematic story, and crude humour. If nothing else, it gave people the urge to play Duke Nukem 3D again.

Duke, the raddest man on Earth, faces off against a massive alien invasion all on his own with a massive arsenal of atypical weaponry. In keeping with the traditions of the era, Duke Nukem 3D was characterized by gore, difficulty, and visceral gameplay. What better way to end an alien invasion than to blow them all up?

Bigger guns and bigger explosions.

Punching a giant metal monster seems excessive.

5. Half-Life

Half-Life Gameplay

You're bound to have heard of Half-Life. Depending on who you ask, this game is everything from the best shooter on PC to an artistic masterpiece. Any “best games of all time” list you check is going to include a Half-Life game. The series follows the valiant efforts of silent protagonist Gordon Freeman against various invading aliens. Gordon, using all sorts of weapons ranging from a crowbar to experimental gravity-altering devices, fights his way through ruined cities, sewers, and perilous countrysides. These scenes are the backdrop to his encounters with all kinds of alien monstrosities.

The first game shows us how the invasion began – a scientific accident. A group of scientists opened a dimensional rift between Earth and the alien world of Xen, causing the locals to swarm over into our world. Gordon eventually succeeded in pushing them back, however the fight was not over.

The aliens were very eager on escaping their own home and taking over ours because they were under the rule of a massive intergalactic dictatorship. By the second game the Combine, the name of the previously mentioned oppressive government, had taken over Earth. The humans and the aliens have buckled down on Earth in a desperate fight for freedom. As far as the story has progressed thus far, the Combine are still in power so we won't find out how Earth fares until Half-Life 3 is released – if that ever happens.

Why are there so many spiders?

The aliens in Half-Life were truely disturbing.

4. Alien Breed

Alien Breed Impact Gameplay (PC HD)

Team17's legendary top-down alien shooter was recently revived by the original team. A franchise that originated in the early 90's, Alien Breed remains a fan favorite. Every game, even after the franchise made a shift to FPS, was both critically acclaimed and praised by players. In its two decade history, Alien Breed has visited countless platforms, and the older installments of the series are now on mobile. These ports have allowed younger gamers to have access to both the old and new games.

Alien Breed doesn't stretch itself too much in terms of story. Mankind begins expanding into space and one of these ships accidentally encounters an insectoid alien race who thinks we'd make for a decent lunch. The humans, not taking too kindly to the concept of becoming a main course, decide to use their arsenal of highly effective yet conventional weaponry to fend off the beasties.

The game focuses on exploration as much as blowing extra-terrestrial guts all over the walls. Maps usually feature tight corridors, which can either allow you to bottleneck your attackers or alternatively can cause you to get easily overwhelmed. Like most arcade shooters rooted in the 90s, Alien Breed games feature a large arsenal and plenty of enemy types. The claustrophobic environments along with the atmospheric lighting and sounds create a spooky vibe for the game.

Alien Breed offers a simple solution to the invasion dilemma – superior firepower. If you see an alien, shoot it. If it doesn't die, shoot it again with something bigger. Repeat until all aliens are dead. This is a pretty effective tactic for these less intelligent aliens, as long as you don’t run out of ammo.

Big guns are a must against these aliens.

These dark atmospheric elements help set a great mood.

3. Dead Space

Dead Space 3 Gameplay

All the previous games mentioned have at least partially cliche alien invasion scenarios. What do you do, however, if the invaders are actually massive moons made of decomposing mater, seeking to consume all of humanity to create more of themselves? If you add that odd element to a world where humanity's energy grid is based on alien artefacts that turn them into murderous zombies, you end up in rather troublesome situation.

Dead Space follows a spaceship engineer, Isaac Clarke, as he fights against deformed monstrosities and his own growing insanity. What begins as a mere struggle to survive a single spaceship (and then later a space-station) becomes a desperate quest to save humanity.  The aliens’ plan becomes clearer as he uncovers the mystery of the Markers, strange alien artefacts capable of producing infinite energy.

Over the course of the three games Isaac must slice, shoot, burn, cut, and bash his way through a horde of mutated zombies. He also has run-ins with legions of religious fanatics who worship the Markers and the alien moons. The first two games hand you various engineering tools and mining equipment instead of actual weapons, and the way they slice through flesh and break bone really makes you appreciate safety warnings.

So many arms for hugging!

Dead Space cultivates a particularily helpless and grim mood.

2. Mass Effect

Mass Effect 3 Gameplay

This game has another atypical invasion scenario. In this case, humanity doesn't need to face off invaders threatening just Earth. In Mass Effect, the whole galaxy must unite to face off against a devastating attack carried out by a race of seemingly indestructible sentient dreadnoughts who are from beyond the border of the Milky Way. These so-called Reapers have seeded the galaxy with easy-to-use technology for intelligent races to discover. Though that makes them seem benevolent, every few centuries the Reapers, massive living spaceships with devastating destructive power, wipe the galaxy clean of advance races.

In the first game, it takes the united fleets of the greatest military powers of the galaxy to take out one Reaper. In Mass Effect 3, millions of them invade. Naturally, in such a situation, mere military might cannot win. The game's story involves Commander Shepard and his team of elite soldiers and specialists. Together they scour the galaxy in search of some way to stop the Reapers.

The Reapers do also employ footsoldiers, who are much more manageable. Mass Effect has a seemingly endless arsenal of destructive sci-fi weaponry, which conveniently folds to about half its size for transport. The weapons look cool, sound cool, and make short work of all but the most powerful aliens who are unfortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end.

You get to meet and interact with many different alien species in Mass Effect.

The drama that Mass Effect sets up in some of it's scenes is unparalleled.

1. XCOM

XCOM 2 Gameplay

XCOM is possibly the best game to play in preparation for an impending extra-terrestrial attack, and is the first thing that should pop into your mind when hearing “alien invasion video-game”. The legendary series began in 1994 with UFO: Enemy Unknown. The smash hit spawned a massive franchise with several sequels and spin-offs, some better received than others. The franchise, however, was never able to replicate the success of the first game until 2K bought the rights and rebooted the series in 2012 with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

The recent sequel, XCOM 2, has gained even further commercial and critical success, and with good reason. The XCOM games are turn-based strategy games. In them, the player commands a four-man squad of specially trained soldiers whose task is to repel alien invaders while completing special tasks. In Enemy Unknown, the invasion was just beginning and humans had the chance to adapt their technology to capture alien weapons and armour. Technically, the game ended with the aliens having been defeated.

The premise of XCOM 2, however, is much different. The aliens in this timeline won and took over Earth. They subjugated mankind, grouped some of us into cramped cities and killed off the rest. The XCOM agency has been dismantled, and now operates as a rebel group seeking to overthrow the alien government. Without an advantage of resources or technology XCOM 2's fight is a desperate one. Will you succeed in dethroning the invaders, or will mankind stay under their heel forever?

You'd be surprised at how often shots like this miss in XCOM.

This alien could almost be a Pokemon.

Bonus: Space Invaders

What list of games about alien invasions would be complete without the original? Space Invaders, the legendary arcade game, lives on in gaming history as well as in innumerable remakes and spiritual successors. This game embodies simplicity at its finest, both in visuals and gameplay.

Of course, this hardly covers the vast number of PC games which deal with rowdy extra-terrestrials vandalizing our collective lawn, but fitting all of them into a list would be an impossible job. While video games depict brutal wars, freaky aliens, and scenes of mass destruction, the real-life search for alien life continues every single moment. Let's just hope the prospect of aliens will never literally captivate the human mind.

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Trying to live my best Stardew Valley life by living with as many plants as I can fit into my apartment. I live in Minnesota, so basically Beyond the Wall. I'll tell the Free Folk you said hi.
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