If you wish the alien threats of XCOM were a little more darkly ominous, Menace might be just the tactical RPG you’re looking for. Coming from indie strategy publisher Hooded Horse and developer Overhype Studios, the team behind medieval tactics game Battle Brothers, Menace takes those concepts into space for a grounded, interstellar sci-fi adventure against a mysterious and terrifying foe.
Cut off from the core systems, you and your forces must travel between planets in an attempt to restore order among the far reaches of space. Encounters take place across large 3D battlefields, where your infantry, tanks, and mechs will come across bizarre and unsettling alien forces.
The game’s debut trailer really captures the mood perfectly – juxtaposing the engineered military squadrons against off-camera glimpses of distorted figures, lumbering creatures that lurch forth with a slow but relentless intent, and even giant, tentacled horrors. It’s a tone that invokes the ominous, brooding terror of Alien as much as the military bombast of XCOM, and it makes for a rather striking vibe.
Procedurally generated multi-mission operations keep you on your toes, and you’ll have access to a wide variety of vehicles and equipment to kit out your troops with. You’ll also encounter a range of randomized characters and factions on each run you can talk to, recruit, ally with, or even destroy as you wish. In between excursions, you’ll return to your mobile base, the TCRN Impetus, to train and upgrade your units.
This means you’re encouraged to take multiple runs through Menace, as each will offer different challenges and opportunities, keeping you on your tactical toes. Overhype Studios promises an experience even more intricate and challenging than it achieved with the excellent Battle Brothers, and I’m very excited to see how Menace blends the agonizing rolls of XCOM with a more sinister overall tone.
If you’re after more of the best strategy games on PC in the meantime, we’ve got you covered; or you might want to check out the best horror games if you’re looking for more ways to make your skin crawl.