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New pixel XCOM like casts you as the aliens, and you can try it now

Beat the Humans turns XCOM into a pixel marvel where you take the role of aliens fighting off humans, and it has a Steam demo right now.

Beat the Humans Steam demo: a pixel image of a red alien creature in a blue poncho holding an axe

We all know XCOM is the gold standard for modern turn-based strategy games. The nail-biting thrill of hoping your alien oppressors miss that next shot; the long-term planning, recruitment, and base upgrades you need to stand any sort of chance; and the constant feeling of being on the back foot. It’s a recipe for some incredibly tense decision-making – so now imagine if you were the aliens instead, everything was presented with stunning pixel art, and you could try it in a Steam demo right now. This is Beat the Humans.

With some of the slickest UI and clicking feedback I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing, Beat the Humans is already shaping up into something special. Just like in XCOM, you need to recruit squadmates, gear them up, and send them out into turn-based battle in the hope that they come back alive. The difference here is that everything’s scored by gorgeous top-down pixel art, and this time the humans are the bad guys.

From what I played of the demo, this is a simple but effective turn-based strategy game. Each unit has different primary and secondary offensive options, a certain number of possible actions per turn split between attack, defend, and move, and all the other combat basics you’d come to expect. What sets Beat the Humans apart, though, is the presentation: not only is the pixel art gorgeous, but the feedback you get from simply interacting with the menus, choosing where to take the fight next, and vibing while equipping your alien soldiers is all immaculate.

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You’ll also need to capture and defend planets from the humans too, while rescuing civilians or destroying monsters in your path. You’ll need to engage in multiple fights on a planet to liberate it, but can sometimes call on support from extra units or even use a giant mech to help you in battle.

There’s also a neat system that sees your alien troops sometimes get into fights on your ship, and you can choose to reward the victor or reprimand both with differing results. The Beat the Humans demo isn’t as in-depth as a game like Into the Breach or XCOM, sure, but there’s definitely a lot of promise in the tone, mechanics, and overall presentation that I’m excited to see blossom.

Beat the Humans is set for launch sometime in 2024 with a Steam demo available right now, right here.

While you wait for the full launch we’ve already put together all the best strategy games available on PC, alongside the upcoming PC games you want to watch out for.

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