Interacting with alien life has been one of humanity’s biggest fantasies for a very, very long time. We have many books, movies, and games about the idea, and we clearly are hungry for more.

One of the key elements of these stories is the first contact day with extraterrestrial visitors, and across all of science fiction it has gone in many different ways. Sometimes it’s a war against overwhelming odds, sometimes it’s a surprising alliance. No way to know until it happens!

Since the First Contact Day is coming near, we’ve made a short list of games that present various scenarios and perspectives on the first encounter with space invaders/visitors. These are just five suggestions, but there are plenty more alien video games on our marketplace, alongside sales and deals which make the first contact much more affordable.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within

Developer:Feral Interactive (Linux)

The very first mission of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, assuming you don’t skip the tutorial, is your soldiers’ literal first contact with the invading alien forces and, predictably, it doesn’t go great. What follows is humanity, represented by the elite XCOM organization, trying to catch up and fend off the aliens only to be constantly surprised by new enemy types, new technology, and human traitors.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within

XCOM: EU/EW is a mix of managing a base of operations, making strategic decision affecting the course of the war, and turn-based tactical missions which are the true star of XCOM. Missions features a squad of customizable soldiers. There are four core classes, such as Heavy or Assault, and a few highly specialized options which we’ll leave to you do discover on your own.

Key features
  • A great story about humanity fighting against an alien invasion from Day 1
  • Excellent, unforgiving turn-based tactical missions
  • A fantastic sequel about reclaiming Earth from alien overlords
  • Weighty choices to make on the strategic layer


Developer:Paradox Development Studio

Although Stellaris has you playing as an alien civilization from the get go, it can actually take a moment before you encounter another one, and it’s anybody’s guess how the first contact is going to go. Maybe you created a warlike civilization and it’ll be a chance for a new conquest, or you went for diplomacy and sharing scientific accomplishments and find allies for life. Who knows.


Stellaris is a grand strategy/4X with the entire galaxy (which is absolutely gorgeous, by the way) as your playground. It has all the expected elements of the genres, including multiple ways to victory and high complexity. The options for creating your own civilizations are powerful, and allow you to create wildly different species and culture every time you start a new game.

Key features
  • Complex, galaxy-spanning grand strategy
  • Many thematic random events making the world feel more alive
  • Extensive species and culture customization
  • The map is stunning

Into the breach

Developer:Subset Games

In Into the Breach you are humanities only line of defense against the invading kaiju-sized insectoid aliens. More specifically: the line of defense are suitably humongous mechs, and you’re giving orders to their pilots in turn-based battles. Your objective isn’t just to eliminate of kaiju, but also to limit collateral damage to civilian structures. This requires some creative thinking.

Into the breach

Into the Breach lets you know what moves your enemies are going to move on their turn, which gives you a chance to react to it beforehand. For example, if you see a bug preparing to move a space forward you could push it so that it falls into a canyon. Of course, the same forced movement applies to you. ItB is more interested in protection and control than elimination, but it’s no easy task.

Key features
  • A minimalist presentation: small maps, pixel art
  • Excellent turn-based tactics
  • A cool science fiction story involving mild time travel
  • Procedurally generated scenarios: the campaign has mild roguelike systems

Saints Row IV

Developer:Deep Silver Volition

The entire opening sequence in Saints Row IV is a build-up to an alien invasion, which goes very poorly for the Earthlings. Definitely not the best first contact. On the other hand, it doesn’t take long for the Zin empire to realize they messed with the wrong crew. Saints Row IV breaks completely with the GTA parody tone, and instead puts science fiction and superheroes in its sights.

Saints Row IV

Most of the game takes place in a computer simulation of the city from SR3, and since it’s just a sim, you gradually gain access to various superpowers, including super speed, energy blasts, and forcing people to dance. If you’re on the market for a cheeky, irreverent action game with fantastic customization, fun story with a great antagonist, then give Saints Row IV a chance, is a hoot.

Key features
  • Several superpowers, often with several variants
  • A good-natured parody of many science fiction tropes and franchises
  • Over-the-top action and story
  • Great cast of characters

Destroy All Humans

Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Black Forest Games

An unusual perspective on first contact, instead of playing heroic humans fighting back, we’re playing the part of an alien who has a bad temper and a mission to collect human DNA. Although your main enemies, the Majestic organization, know of alien existence, the rest of the world had no idea, and you don’t really care, panicking civilians are just readily available brain stems.

Destroy All Humans

Destroy All Humans is far from a serious game. It’s takes inspiration from the 1950s alien invasion movies, Crypto, your alien invader for the day is comically evil, and the humans are mostly inept. Thankfully, it doesn’t mean this third-person action game is too easy, there’s still just enough challenge to make seeing the destruction wrought by your alien weapons very satisfying.

Key features
  • Become an alien gathering human DNA from 1950s USA
  • A large arsenal of alien weapons, including a space ship with a death ray
  • Got a 2020 remake
  • Far from serious