Aliens have been present in video games from, like, the very onset. Space Invaders, anyone? Many popular series feature alien invaders or even let you play as a being from outer space. And we’ve listed quite a bunch of these to make your search easier.
Below you’ll find twenty five video games about aliens that don’t really belong to one particular genre. Expect anything ranging from action-adventure through role-playing games to real-time and turn-based strategies.
|Aliens: Fireteam Elite||2021-08-24||Shooter||Cold Iron Studios||-92%|
|ELEX II||2022-03-01||RPG||Piranha Bytes||-73%|
|Starship Troopers - Terran Command||2022-06-16||Strategy||The Artistocrats||-57%|
|Mass Effect Andromeda||2017-03-23||Adventure||BioWare||-16%|
|EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5||2019-07-11||Action||Sandlot||-56%|
|Destroy All Humans! Remake||2020-07-28||Action & Shooter||Black Forest Games||-85%|
|Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed||2022-08-30||Action & Shooter||Black Forest Games, Black Forest Games GmbH||-70%|
|Endless Space Collection||2012-07-04||Action & Shooter||AMPLITUDE Studios||-97%|
|Stellaris||2016-05-09||Strategy||Paradox Development Studio||-78%|
|Into the Breach||2018-02-27||Indie||Subset Games||-92%|
|Crysis||2007-11-13||Action & Shooter||Crytek||-67%|
|Crysis Trilogy||2021-10-15||Action & Shooter||Crytek||-|
|Crysis 2 | Maximum Edition||2011-03-22||Action & Shooter||Crytek Studios||-89%|
|Elite: Dangerous||2015-04-02||Adventure||Frontier Developments||-78%|
|Endless Space 2||2016-10-06||Strategy||AMPLITUDE Studios||-80%|
|FTL - Faster Than Light||2012-09-14||Adventure||Subset Games||-60%|
|Halo: The Master Chief Collection||2014-11-11||Action & Shooter||343 Industries, Bungie Inc||-|
|Saints Row IV: Game of the Century||2014-07-15||Adventure||Deep Silver Volition||-74%|
|Star Wars Jedi Knight Collection||2020-11||Adventure||Aspyr, Raven Software||-79%|
|No Man's Sky||2016-08-12||Adventure||Hello Games||-60%|
|Gears of War 4 (Xbox One, Windows 10)||2016-10-11||Action & Shooter||The Coalition||-65%|
|Prey (2017)||2017-05-04||Adventure||Arkane Studios||-79%|
|Dead Space 3||2013-02-08||Adventure||Visceral Games||-34%|
|Alien: Isolation Collection||2014-10-06||Horror||Creative Assembly||-66%|
|Dead Space||2008-10-20||Adventure||EA Redwood Shores||-78%|
|Dead Space 2||2011-01-27||Horror||Visceral Games||-44%|
|StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void||2015-11-10||Strategy||Blizzard Entertainment||-|
|Destiny 2: Legacy Collection||2022-01-18||Shooter||Bungie Inc||-63%|
|XCOM 2 Collection||2016-02-04||Strategy||Feral Interactive (Linux)||-88%|
|XCOM: Enemy Unknown||2012-10-11||Strategy||Feral Interactive (Linux)||-85%|
|Mass Effect Legendary Edition||2021-05-14||RPG||BioWare||-74%|
|Mass Effect Trilogy||2012-11-02||Adventure||BioWare||-33%|
Aliens: Fireteam Elite
|Developer:||Cold Iron Studios|
If you ever dreamed of “Left 4 Dead, but Alien,” these dreams have finally come true!
Fireteam Elite is essentially just that, a co-op shooter where you have to fend off waves of xenomorphs. They’re so much more original than the zombies, since they can come from virtually any direction, including ceiling!
There is a single-player mode here, too. You get four campaigns that give you twelve missions in total. You are accompanied by two allies that can be either player- or AI-controlled. Naturally, there’s stuff like six different character classes to choose from, levelling up and gear customization, so if you like such things, you should totally be pleased.
From what we’ve seen, Steam users have given Aliens: Fireteam Elite mostly positive reviews, which means you shouldn’t have any problems finding some friendly folks to play with you if none of your buddies are interested, since lots of people like and play this game, it seems.
Deadly aliens from outer space invaded the science fantasy world of Magalan and it is up to you, Jax, to defeat them (and find your missing son, Dax, while at it).
But you won’t be able to save the world alone. You’ll need to convince all the factions to unite against the cosmic threat. Only then will you be able to put an end to the destruction caused by dark Elex.
ELEX II is an unforgiving role-playing experience where you get to explore a dark, post-apocalyptic world where magic and technology co-exist. Once again you’ll be able to use your jetpack to roam the lands of Magalan freely! There’s also a whole lot of choices to make, choices that have their consequences.
NPCs also have a photographic memory here, apparently, as they are going to remember what you did over the course of the game. Still, they are killable, but this will still have an effect on future plot developments.
If you’re looking for quite an unusual take on the fantasy genre, ELEX II might be a good pick.
Starship Troopers: Terran Command
|Genre:||Real Time Strategy|
Come on, you apes, you wanna live forever?!
Starship Troopers: Terran Command marks the return of a franchise that, as much as it was influential (not to mention the impact of the original novel), well, remained largely forgotten, especially when it comes to video games, with the last ST-themed one released in 2005.
Terran Command is a real-time strategy where you control your Mobile Infantry troops and lead them to battle against the deadly hordes of bugs (AKA Arachnids). Contrary to other RTS games, though, there’s no focus on building bases and gathering resources. You need to handle whatever resources you’ve got at your disposal properly in order to achieve success here.
Stuff like terrain and map layout has impact on the outcome of your battles, so you need to keep all these things in mind. By the way, there’s a mechanic the developers called “Obedience.” The closer you follow the orders of your higher-ups, the more Obedience Points you get to spend on more powerful units.
The Eternal Cylinder
|Genre:||Adventure & Survival|
This one is a rather whimsical action-adventure-slash-open-world-survival game where you control a weird alien creature known as a Trebhum.
It’s like this furry ball that runs, jumps, even rolls and uses its trunk to collect items and spray water. It can also apply various mutations to itself in order to gain new abilities. You can even recruit new Trebhums and mutate them as well.
OK, but what’s at stake here? The titular Eternal Cylinder is a mysterious structure that decimates all that stands in its way. The Trebhums are busy seeking a way to stop the Cylinder and prevent it from destroying their planet. It’s a lovely adventure, so be sure to at least consider giving it a shot.
Earth Defense Force 5
The EDF games were always about the same thing: shooting as many things up as possible.
Visibly influenced by the Starship Troopers movie among others, these titles put you in the shoes of a soldier tasked with destroying aliens that invaded our planet.
EDF 5 is no different in this respect, however, it presents a new continuity in the series. The titular EDF is now a private military force in its infant stages that is just about to face its first major threat, an invasion beginning in 2022.
The game itself is just like the previous installment. You control a customizable soldier whose task is to demolish the enemies, find other soldiers and help them retake our planet, commandeer some vehicles from time to time and blow things up in general. There are 110 missions to complete, which is the highest number among EDF games to this day.
If you’re looking for a fun game where you just obliterate stuff in style, this might be a good pick. A sequel, Earth Defense Force 6, should be released sometime in August 2022.
The Crysis series
The original Crysis was known for its hardware-melting system requirements. But there’s also the nanosuit, an advanced exoskeleton that gives you access to some powerful abilities. Yup, this thing certainly is super fun to use!
Crysis pits you against the Ceph, an ancient race of alien invaders who have been lying in wait for sixty five million years. Yep, these nasties are responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs. Don’t know about you, but this certainly gives us a major reason to kick some Cephalophod butts!
Crysis and Crysis Warhead take place on fictional islands near the Philippines, but Crysis 2 and 3 take us to the city of New York to wage an all-out war against the Ceph.
Destroy All Humans!
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
|Developer:||Black Forest Games|
This one is a rare game where you play as your typical Roswell Grey. Your goal?
Aside from the one stated in the title, you also need to harvest DNA from humans. Turns out it contains old, uncorrupted genetic material of your race. This way you can restore your people’s former glory and conquer the entire universe.
Strongly rooted in the 1950s and the 1960s, this comedic take on the alien invasion features the staples of the genre: flying saucer, anal probes, disintegration rays and even psychic powers. It’s basically Mars Attacks!, but as a video game.
Set in the 34th century, Elite Dangerous is huge, with hundreds of star systems to explore, thousands of enemies to take out in dogfights and millions of credits to earn.
There are even aliens known as Thargoids, courtesy of the previous games in the series, with their biomechanical design, to boot.
And these extraterrestrials are here to conquer the human-controlled space. It is up to you and like-minded space adventurers to stop the invasion dead in its tracks.
Enemy spaceships look nothing like man-made vessels and their silhouettes are surely threatening. Still, all it takes to take them down is a good ship, lots of skill and some allies, no biggie.
Endless Space 1 & 2
|Release:||2012-07-04 / 2016-10-06|
Endless Space is a series of 4X strategy games (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) games set in, well, space.
This means that in addition to various human factions, you can totally play as one of the alien species.
The first game features the diplomatic Amoeba or the living crystals known as the Harmony, for example. Endless Space 2, on the other hand, introduces the likes of the Cravers, who are essentially living weapons, or the curious and highly advanced Sophons.
Each race has different traits, which results in unique playstyles.
FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL is basically a Star Trek game without being labeled as such.
This means there’s going to be plenty of aliens in it, too. If you want to, you can even have your team entirely composed of extraterrestrials. Take the Zoltan, for example. They consist of energy and can be used to power up your ship’s subsystems. Weird, but effective.
Your task in FTL is to deliver critical info to your fleet. Seems like an easy enough task, but it isn’t. Xenophobic rebels are hunting you, so you need to be prepared for numerous battles and other daunting tasks.
Each of the sectors you have to jump through are procedurally generated, which means no playthrough is the same.
The Halo series
|Release:||2014-11-11 (Halo: The Master Chief Collection)|
It’s one of the most beloved science fiction franchises of all time. It features a universe whose lore is just rich with details.
In the end, though, it’s a story of mankind’s fight against an alien empire known as the Covenant. While xenos are usually here to serve as target practice, they can be allies at times, too.
Halo features a number of interesting species that make up the Covenant. You have the short-statured Unggoy, perceptive Kig-Yar or the San’Shyuum that humans have dubbed the Prophets.
The conflicts in the series usually revolve around the technology left behind by the Forerunners, an ancient species, such as the Halo Array that might be the key to defeating the parasitic Flood.
Into the Breach
This one’s a compact turn-based strategy where you defend planet Earth from the Vek, an alien race of kaiju that you fight using massive combat machines. And while the game seems “tiny” at first, you can actually feel the scale of these battles.
The Vek come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, although most of these resemble gigantic arthropods and insects: scorpions, spiders, beetles, etc. There are also several variants of these beasts: minions, alphas and the leaders.
Thankfully, with skill you can divert their attention away from human settlements and infrastructure, as well as use the environment to kill the monsters.
Saints Row IV
|Developer:||Deep Silver Volition|
The Saints Row games are pretty much the last ones you’d associate with aliens. They’re a light-hearted take on the Grand Theft Auto series, with gangs and tons of weird humor.
Still, Saints Row IV introduced the Zin Empire which gives you access to stuff out of this world. And the result is surprisingly good!
Your enemy is the evil alien warlord, Zinyak, who’s a towering figure that is the exact opposite of the Boss. Eloquent and culture, he is nowhere as near as vulgar and rough around the edges as our protagonist is.
Anyway, you’ll get to blast a lot of his followers both in the real world and virtual reality.
Star Wars games
|Release:||2020-10-02 (STAR WARS™: Squadrons)|
The presence of Star Wars games here is a no-brainer, since this universe is filled to the brim with all sorts of alien races, both humanoid and more out of this world.
Since there are dozens of SW games, we’ve decide to pick three where you interact with non-humans the most.
The first two are both Knights of the Old Republic games. Since these are role-playing games, you’ll get to interact with lots of NPCs and have some alien members of your party, such as a Twi’lek teenager named Mission Vao (KotOR) or a Zabrak engineer, Bao Dur (KotOR 2).
One of the latest Star Wars titles, Jedi: Fallen Order, also lets you interact with all sorts of aliens and non-human characters.
Spore promised great things and it pretty much delivered.
The game lets you create your own alien lifeform and oversee its evolution from a microscopic organism to a powerful civilization. The results can be very impressive.
Players can even share their creations via the game’s servers. This might lead to your creations serving as rivals during someone else’s playthrough, for example.
By the way, no matter how nonsensical your creature might seem, the game will still find proper uses for even the weirdest of creations.
No Man’s Sky
Initially very underwhelming and disappointing, No Man’s Sky grew into something so much better thanks to subsequent updates and revisions.
Now, thanks to the efforts of its developers, the game is really good and teeming with content.
No Man’s Sky is a co-operative space survival sim. Your task is to gather rare resources that are difficult to obtain, but necessary to build new vehicles and bases, as well as crafting the tools required to explore the galaxy and complete quests for various alien factions.
The biomes and creatures here are fantastically varied and if you get a bunch of friends to play with you, you will totally feel like space pioneers.
Gears of War 4
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
And now we have a fantastic set of third-person shooters from Microsoft – one of the company’s flagship IPs, in fact.
The Gears of War series pits you against the Locust Horde. While alien in their looks, these monsters have more in common with humans than you think.
The game is all about one thing – brutal, tactical action, with hiding behind covers, careful planning of the next moves and hacking monsters to bits with your trusty chainsaw.
The series consists of five main games, as well as two prequels: Gears of War: Judgement and Gears Tactics, the latter being quite a punishing turn-based tactical game.
The game features pretty unique and mysterious aliens, shapeshifters capable of assuming the form of pretty much any object. And then there’s exploration of themes such as the simulation theory and other sci-fi staples.
While Prey does a lot of things (much like Bioshock), it’s first and foremost a puzzle-filled first-person shooter with quite an interesting story going on. It quickly becomes apparent that it’s completely unrelated to the 2006 game of the same title. Instead, it is more of a mixture of System Shock and Arx Fatalis.
As you explore a space station crawling with the Typhon, a hostile bunch of aliens that you need to defeat, you gain access to new weapons, resources and powers. This includes an ability to turn yourself into a chair, for example. Hilarious!
Dead Space 3
Horror games seem like a niche, but there are certain titles that have carved their way into the mainstream. One of them is Dead Space.
Taking cosmic terror, claustrophobia and paranoia to the extremes, it surely is a frightening experience that lives up to its title.
One of the things that made Dead Space so unique is its combat system. If you want to kill the dreadful Necromorphs – space undead in the vein of the alien from the Thing – you need to target their razor sharp appendages.
This fundamentally changes the way you play and approach your enemies. The third Dead Space game is pretty much the most refined one, a perfect send-off to the series.
The Alien movie franchise had a huge impact on popular culture. What about games set in this universe, though?
There were some gems, there were some stinkers, but luckily, Alien: Isolation is one the former.
Like Dead Space, this one is a survival horror set in space, but it’s even more brooding and claustrophobic, focusing on stealth instead of combat. It’s basically a video game sequel to the original Alien movie from 1979.
There are other enemies in Isolation, namely hostile humans and androids, but the real star of the game is the titular Alien, a huge beast stalking you throughout Sevastopol, a space station that serves as the setting here. It doesn’t follow predetermined paths, instead it tracks you down through sight and sound. Move quietly and keep a low profile or else you won’t survive.
This list would be incomplete without Blizzard’s sci-fi magnum opus.
The original StarCraft rocked the esports scene, becoming some sort of a national pastime in South Korea. The sequel lived up to that fame.
StarCraft 2 is really bombastic and dramatic in its storytelling. The conflict between the Terrans, the Protoss and the Zerg is really massive and you get to see numerous fantastic worlds as a result. Each campaign is full of great ideas and gives you dozens of hours of fun. But then there is the fantastic multiplayer mode with ranked games, Arcade full of custom maps made by fans, co-op missions and the like. Tons upon tons of stuff to keep you invested for hundreds of hours, if not even more.
Base Starcraft 2 is free to play game
|Developer:||Paradox Development Studio|
This grand strategy game from Paradox lets you build your own space-faring civilization, explore the galaxy, encounter other alien races and find a way to live together in this rather crowded universe. Or maybe to get rid of all the neighbors.
There are so many options when it comes to designing your alien race. They can be arthropods, reptiles, birds, mammals, you name it! Or perhaps you want them to be robots? No problem! You get to create your own political system, too, including a hive mind collective structure that is not concerned with individual squabbling plaguing other races.
It’s just a complete space strategy experience that lets you explore what it would be like to be an alien civilization.
|Release:||2017-08-28 / 2022-01-18|
This one’s been made by the same guys who are responsible for the Halo series and it shows.
Destiny 2 is tight, varied and immensely satisfying in the combat department. Whatever it lacks competitive-wise, it makes up for that with its cooperative modes.
Aside from the action side of things, the game offers quite an interesting lore and some pretty imaginative worlds to explore. There’s also lots of content thanks to several expansions that have been released over the years.
If you’re looking for a fun online shooter, Destiny 2 is a good pick.
Destiny 2 is free to play game
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
|Developer:||Feral Interactive (Linux)|
Up next is a fantastic next installment in a classic tactical game series from Firaxis.
XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy where you control a small squad waging war against the aliens who have – of course! – invaded our planet.
You know, you really need to know your stuff when it comes to issuing orders and planning things, otherwise them pesky aliens will surely probe your rectal orifice for inexplicable reasons. Your attacks might fail, your squad members might die, so there’s plenty of room for the so-called emergent narrative. Yes, it’s a thing, go look it up.
Here’s a good tip: name your squad mates after your friends. Trust us. You’ll thank us later.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
The latest entry in the Mass Effect series, Andromeda is a game that you can enjoy on its own, since it’s set in a different galaxy and couple hundred years after the events of the original trilogy.
Made by RPG giants, BioWare, this one offers a solid sci-fi story based on exploration and the sense of wonder.
Andromeda is where you play as one of the Ryder twins: Scott or Sara. As opposed to the previous games where you had predefined character classes, you can learn any skills you want and build your own specialization.
Combat is also much more dynamic, requiring you to change your position and adjust tactics accordingly instead of just ducking behind covers and hoping for the best. Andromeda also draws lots of influences from open-world games. Ultimately, it’s a fun action RPG that truly lets you feel like a space explorer.
Quite a list, isn’t it? Lots of different genres, games where you can play as aliens themselves, etc., Just pick whatever floats your boat and have fun!
Maybe in the (perhaps distant, but who knows?) future we will get to play some genuinely alien games. For now, though, man-made stuff is our only option.