As much as I love solo gaming adventures on titles like Skyrim and Fallout, there’s always room in my heart for a multiplayer too.
I’m particularly fond of those games that leave you screaming at your friends by the end of the night. Options like Overcooked and Jackbox are popular among my group. When the opportunity arose to play a new space-themed game with pals, I was happy to sign up.
Enemy on Board is a multi-player game designed by Windwalk Games. Windwalk is the brainchild of former Riot Games designer, Colin Feo. Colin launched the studio with his older brother and best friend. The title is pretty basic, pulling ideas from cult classics like Trouble in Terrorist Town and One Night Ultimate Werewolf.
I pulled together a handful of pals to test the game for myself.
How to Kill Friends and Alienate People
This is a game that’s all about casually tricking your pals while you run around a spaceship. Two people in the crew are aliens, disguised as people. They gradually sabotage the other crew members, killing people, or converting them to their side in secret.
While the aliens skulk around the ship pretending to be useful, the humans attempt to repair their craft before it blows up. All the while, the real “crew” needs to try and figure out who the aliens are and kill them before it’s too late.
You need a full crew of six people to get the most out of this game.
I’d recommend picking people who are fairly good at lying, and people who aren’t going to mind when you eventually slaughter them.
At first glance, this game is very simple. There’s only a handful of three human and three alien types to choose from. You also only get a single environment to explore.
Another thing me and my friends noticed straight away is that the controls weren’t super intuitive. We expected to use the standard WASD set up on a Steam game. However, what we got was an experience relying heavily on the right mouse button, and the space bar.
Still, when you get beyond those initial issues, there’s a lot about this game to fall in love with.
Feo and crew have done an excellent job of creating a new kind of social deception game. You’re not just standing around answering questions like you would in something like Jackbox. This is a game that asks you to actively keep track of things like failing generators and breaches, all while questioning your friends.
Enemy on Board Review: Figuring Out the Gameplay
Enemy on Board started with a very successful Kickstarter campaign. After playing myself, I can see why such a simple game got so much attention.
There are three different human types to choose from. You get to choose which human you’d like to be when you’re first loading the game. Some options come with extra features, like scanning tools, or healing abilities.
Once the game begins, the two players who are aliens get to pick which alien they want to be. There’s a spider option that lays eggs around the ship, gradually causing damage to crew members. You can also be an alien that leeches energy from other nearby players or a monster that infects humans with alien characteristics.
The aim of the game for every player is to kill the other side. If you’re a human, you try to figure out who the aliens are, and get rid of them. If you’re an alien, vice versa. The significant difference between both factions is that you have other sub-goals to consider.
Aliens need to gather enough energy so that they can transform. Once you achieve your full alien form, you can murder other crew members with massive power and extra speed.
Aliens collect their energy by leaching off humans or causing damage.
If you’re a human, you need to constantly repair parts of the least reliable spaceship ever. Aliens can also help out with the repairs. I’d recommend making sure you repair frequently if you don’t want your crew members to wonder what you’re doing.
Equal Parts Fun and Friendship Friction
The great thing about Enemy on Board is that there’s so much going on at once, you often need to put yourself at risk. You can’t all hang out in the same room waiting for someone to show their ET side.
Players are constantly running from one side of the ship to another, which means that you’ll probably have to lock yourself in a room with an alien at one point. I had frequent periods of repairing an engine next to someone I was convinced was an alien.
Another great thing about Enemy on Board? You can play however you like. Some of my friends seemed to take the strategy of waiting to transform then killing as many people as possible. Others preferred to sneak around, leaving traps for us wayward humans to fall into.
Later in the game, as you develop enough points, aliens can transform into their full state for longer. That would be disastrous for the humans if they didn’t also get the option to power up. Humans can turn themselves into cyborgs with massive swords and guns.
If the people in your team survive long enough the cyborg vs. alien experience means that you’ll all be left running to the escape pod, trying to get out of the ship before it explodes.
The various stages of this game mean that you’re not just standing around doing the same thing for entire segments of play. Early on, you’ll usually spend a few minutes trying to figure out who’s an alien, and who’s a human.
Of course, when all of your friends swear they’re just standard crew members, this isn’t easy.
When you progress through the game, things get more violent and hectic.
A Great Way to Test the Strength of Friendships
There were a lot of things I loved about this game.
First, my friends all got a real kick out of it. There wasn’t a single person who walked away from our multi-hour Saturday night session unhappy. I think we probably would have played all through the night if some of us didn’t have children to look after, and food to eat.
Another bonus? The extra community features are great. Even after you die, you can enter observer mode and see who the aliens are. Obviously, it’s up to your team to set some ground rules here about not revealing who’s who.
It’s incredibly satisfying to run around the ship as an alien in secret, then hear a friend who died from one of your traps freak out when they discover you were evil all along.
Although there are some imperfect parts of this game, like clunky controls, and a lack of options, the Windwalk team are working on them.
Feo has already announced that updates will be coming in the form of new planets and rooms. The goal, eventually, is to create a battle pass game where people can purchase skins and other extras.
I’m pretty excited to see what comes next.
There’s something incredibly fun about social deception, particularly when you’re playing with close friends. Me and my crew loved testing this game, and I imagine we’ll be checking it out again in the weeks ahead.