Aliens Dark Descent PC Review


As a huge Aliens fan, I’m always excited to see a new game in this universe. This time around we get Aliens: Dark Descent, a real-time, squad-based tactical game, developed by Tindalos Interactive.


The story revolves around events at Pioneer Space Station that lead to the crash landing of the USS Otago on the planet Lethe where there is a Xenomorph outbreak. During the story, you find out more about this outbreak, discover a cult, and reveal some Weyland-Yutani Corporation shenanigans along the way. As always I’m not going into any specifics at the risk of spoilers.

The story is certainly not the strongest part of the game, but it adequately pushes the experience forward. The voice acting is average, but the lip-syncing is weak and quite distracting at times. Regardless of these issues, I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes at events or getting bored.

Congratulations Deputy Administrator Hayes

Visuals & Audio

Visually, the game does a great job with its aesthetics, even if it isn’t the most impressive game out there. The art team has managed to capture the feeling of the franchise, with its dark gloomy corridors, retro sci-fi details, and alien-infested areas. The influence of the source material is clear, and I’m glad to say that they’ve stayed faithful to the lore and mood.

The sound effects are on point as well. This includes the ping of the motion tracker, the iconic sounds of the pulse rifle and smarts guns, aliens screeching, doors opening, and atmospheric effects. Even the music is straight out of the films. A downside is the lack of variety in the marine shouts, which get somewhat repetitive. One can only hear “Double time!” and “Hurry up, you slugs!” so often.

Despite repetitive squad dialogue, the overall art and sound combine to create the feeling that you are in the Aliens movie. This is something I really appreciate since that is arguably my favorite film in the franchise.

Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!

Gameplay Overview

As noted, Aliens: Dark Descent is real-time and squad-based. The tactical gameplay is combined with soldier management in between missions.

In the real-time segments, you control the entire squad as a single unit. You start with 4 marines, but this will be upped to 5 toward the end of the game. You’ll be exploring all manner of locations: mines, settlements, cargo docks, space stations, and more. While in each discrete mission, you collect scraps, medkits, tools, and alien DNA. Sometimes you rescue folks trapped in each area. These can be doctors, engineers, or androids, and each helps boost your base’s effectiveness. You try to complete primary and secondary missions before extracting back to the USS Otago base and being shown a mission summary.

The first aid kits and tools you brought back will be added to your stock for the next mission. The same goes for all the scrap you found, which is used to unlock new weapons and upgrades for your team. There are many weapons to choose from like smart guns, rocket launchers, and flame throwers. Alien DNA from missions is used to research new bonuses that can be activated before a deployment. These bonuses include increasing time before being spotted, grenades also slowing enemies, and acid not damaging armor and such.

The only loot that is not added to your stash on extraction is ammo. You go into a mission with a handful of ammo supplies. The rest needs to be collected on-site. Thus, leaving unneeded ammo lying around on each stage is a good idea to help subsequent visits.

Get moving you slugs!

To clarify, you can redeploy to the same levels, and they are persistent. This means looted chests remain empty and items not collected will still be there. Likewise, sentry guns placed, shortcuts created, or unlocked doors all remain as they were. Most of the time, completing all the primary and secondary objectives and collecting all the loot will take more than one deployment.

Once on the Otago, you’ll be awarded XP and can manage your marines. They can level up, get new traits and upgrades, as well as unlock class-specific abilities. Some of the selections you can choose from are random, and a few traits are just outright better than others. So RNG plays a role. Marines also start with a negative trait, but it can be mitigated.

Likewise, your units eventually specialize in roles like recon or medic. The sergeant helps manage stress. Gunners add firepower. The tekker has useful tools. It is the standard fair seen in other games, and the classes benefit your team in different ways. I personally found the medic to be the least helpful, but perhaps the medic would be more useful on harder difficulties.

As noted, marines get tired and stressed. This can lead to exhaustion and trauma, besides physical wounds. These conditions mean you must swap out marines for fresh troops after some missions. The length a marine is out depends on how much you’ve expanded or upgraded your facilities like the med and psych bays. Much like in XCOM games, you need a roster of troops to successfully manage these limitations. Later in the game, you can put inactive marines in training, which grants them XP each day. This helps you cycle them into your team if necessary. I ended up having almost two full teams to rotate.

Get those motion sensors up team, so we have eyes.

Your marines can also be customized with a variety of faces, skin colors, hairstyles, and armors. There aren’t a massive amount of options here, but then again this isn’t an RPG, I suppose.

After all your between-mission management is done, you’ll need to advance the time to the next day. When you do this, you will get a random event in which you have to make a choice. These can be positive or negative. Then you can begin another mission, leading to more exploration and combat.

In addition, every day that passes causes a slider to move a notch toward the next difficulty of the alien hive activity. After five days, it will increase to the next level. There are random events that can lower it, but usually, it will increase as each day passes. The higher the level, the more aliens there will be patrolling when you deploy.

At a later point in the game, a doomsday clock comes into play as well. While I don’t want to go into why this happens, when this kicks in you’ll have a limited amount of time to finish up your missions. It certainly adds a sense of urgency but will not be to everyone’s liking.

I’m ready, man, check it out. I am the ultimate badass!


Combat is not turn-based, but there is an ability to either slow down time or pause (depending on what you’ve selected in the options) by pressing space. Once pressed, an overlay pops up where you can choose to use various special abilities. You get more as you play, but here are a few. Suppressive fire slows enemies in a cone area. Flares improve accuracy. You can use grenades, precision shots, shotgun blasts, and set mines.

There are two categories of enemies you’ll encounter throughout the game: aliens and cultists. They both come in different varieties. The most common aliens are drones, which patrol the various levels and try to ambush you. There are a few other aliens that I won’t spoil. The humans and human-like come in both melee and ranged variants. When dealing with ranged units, using cover is important since it lowers their chance of hitting and damaging you.

Encounters with aliens are different. Cover does not play a role when in combat but is rather used to hide and avoid conflict. Avoiding combat with aliens is generally best for several reasons.

Firstly, the moment your team is detected, the hive will start a hunt. This means that more aliens will spawn, and other aliens on the level will all make their way to where you were detected. It’s possible to move away and hide after this and wait out the timer, but it’s often just not doable. Thus, you will have to fight them off until the hunt ends. You might also trigger a series of hunts as the first hunt timer finishes (RNG at its best).

Aliens vs Predator – “You’re one ugly mother!”#!!!”

When the hunt is on, the difficulty gauge starts to increase and will eventually begin an onslaught. This is a massive wave of aliens that you will have to fight off. The more hunts you trigger, the more this gauge rises, increasing the number of patrolling aliens. If this happens enough, a mini-boss spawns, and then another onslaught. While ammo may seem like a concern, the bigger issue is the constantly increasing stress of your marines during these difficult battles of attrition.

Once the stress hits certain thresholds, the marines get debuffs that can end up as traumas, which significantly affect your stats. It’s possible to reduce stress before it results in traumas by welding your team within a room and resting. This also acts as a save point (it’s not possible otherwise to manually save the game). While this reduces stress, it will not remove any traumas already active.

The stress mechanic and increasing difficulty when detected keep you on your feet. No matter how well-equipped or trained my team was I always found myself trying to remain undetected so as not to trigger hunts. Besides knocking marines out for redeployment on subsequent missions, such physical or psychological hurts can also cut a mission run short, forcing you to extract.

We got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, we got sonic electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks…

Thus, there is a great tension between pushing further or choosing to leave to come back later to finish unresolved tasks.

There is also an APC. You can call this armored personal carrier to any number of preset locations on each stage and can move your team between these points. It also shoots at enemies and does a load of damage. Use this to your advantage, but be aware that later missions require you to work hard to unlock certain APC locations.

I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure


Unfortunately, Aliens: Dark Descent suffers from a prolific amount of bugs. Here are some examples:

  • An occasion where my team was unable to enter a doorway
  • Unable to progress the mission; required restart
  • Unable to heal a wounded marine with a medkit; required restart
  • Kleptomaniac bug (no marine with the trait); supplies still stolen
  • Squad barks at the wrong times
  • In-game cutscene with no dialogue; required restart
  • Dead aliens standing in place (very frequent)
  • Mines not exploding (frequent)
  • Occasional corpses marked but not searchable

I will say, though, I think I was quite fortunate in my playthrough regarding issues. There are reports from other players having far more problems. No doubt a number of these have been fixed already in the various patches, but I believe there are still some issues present.

Performance for the most part was fine. However, there were occasional instances that caused the framerate to dip below 60 FPS and into the 40s.

Controlling the team as a whole works most of the time. However, there are instances where the ability to move individual units would have been nice. For example, I wanted my recon marine to snipe an enemy. Or I wanted a marine to peek around a corner to burn some eggs. In both cases, I had to move the entire squad into the line of sight. This caused the detection meter to start filling up before my unit was even in position. Situations like these can cause hunts to start at the worst of times.

Aliens also randomly appear in vents. When you walk into an area, a detection meter starts. If it fills enough, the alien will attack you and a hunt starts. If you are running it will instantly detect you. The issue is you could be running past a vent that currently has no alien in it, and RNG could suddenly spawn one there and immediately cause a hunt to start. If your team is already wounded and very stressed, it could go south quickly.

How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit?


Aliens: Dark Descent was a pleasant surprise since I wasn’t expecting another Aliens game, let alone a tactical one. It turns out the XCOM but real-time combat formula works well, delivering a decent game with more depth than I initially thought it would have. I very much enjoyed the impactful gameplay. If you’re a fan of the franchise, or if you enjoy tactical games, I think it’s worth your time. The price is reasonable for the 30-to-40-hour experience that is provided, and I’d say it has some replayability.

It also seems the development team at Tindalos Interactive actually cares about the game and franchise and aims to do it justice. I look forward to any future game content they plan to release and what project they do next. For now, I’ll trust them to keep fixing the remaining bugs. After all, there’s always another Xenomorph to squash.



  • Detailed environments
  • Great atmosphere
  • Gameplay is solid and fun
  • Music


  • Lipsyncing isn’t great
  • A few  performance issues
  • Bugs
  • Repetitive voice lines






Computer Specs: 

Windows 11 64-bit computer using an Intel i7-12700k, 32GB Ram, and an nVidia RTX 3080 10gb graphics card.