Falling Skies is a turn-based action game in where you control a group of human soldiers fighting against a hostile invading alien force that have settled on Earth. Heavily inspired by the XCOM series, the game basically plays out like a game of sci-fi chess - you take it in turns against the computer controlled enemy characters to move your units around a grid-based level, taking up cover positions, firing on enemies and taking defensive stances as you try to outmanoeuvre - and defeat - your opponents.
As a fairly complex, slow paced strategy game, there's a lot of thinking on the cards here. If your idea of fun is mashing some buttons to beat up some aliens, this won't be up your street - instead, Falling Skies is very much a game about thinking. Having to take time out and think several turns in advance before moving your units into place, there's plenty of logic at work here - and the game has a pretty unforgiving difficulty level too. In a nice touch for beginners, and those new to strategy games, the game can be saved at any time, meaning you can go back and reload a previous save if things go wrong - but this is still pretty hard.
In terms of potential barriers - beyond the amount (and complexity) of thinking required - there's a lot of reading involved here too. With a pretty substantial tutorial, there's a lot to take in when getting to grips with the game, and working out attack values. When aiming at an enemy alien, important information such as the potential damage and the potential accuracy values of an attack are displayed on-screen.
Despite its mature trapping, Falling Skies doesn't have too much in the way of content that parents should keep in mind. Blood is sometimes visible on screen during exchanges of fire, but there's nothing too excessive here. Attacking enemy animations are generally quite cartoonish - for example, enemy claw attacks are displayed as visual slashes in the air, rather than on the bodies of your soldiers themselves. Some of the alien creatures are a bit grotesque in theory - like the possessed human enemies you'll encounter, who are essentially stolen human children with a protruding alien parasite embedded into their neck and spinal cord - yet in the game, they look nowhere near as horrible as you might imagine. Instead, they're not all that different to you common or garden zombies in actual gameplay however. There's also nothing in the way of swearing, and no sex what so ever.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 3