In the vast, forbidden seas of space… terror stirs
If you've been sat at home thinking: 'you know what, there just is not enough terrifying aliens around here' then GOOD NEWS – Lifeform is coming soon, and it's bringing all the nerve-shredding, panic-inducing, extra-terrestrial action that you can handle.
The production of Lifeform, created by Tristan Hall, Toby Farrands and Mark Chaplin, follows an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign from Hall or Nothing Productions, the team who also produced Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game and 1066, Tears to Many Mothers.
Lifeform - The Game
As you may have guessed from the ominous intro, Lifeform is a survival horror game for 1-4 players. With the exception of the solo campaign (see below), one of the players has the honour of controlling the lean, mean, partial-to-a-tasty-human-snack killing machine that is currently wandering the corridors of the doomed mining starship, Valley Forge. The other players take charge of Valley Forge's crew, who are doing their very best to survive and probably regretting their choice of career.
The crew have activated Valley Forge's self-destruct mechanism to try and destroy the alien intruder and ensure that it doesn't escape. Players therefore have the added pressure of working against the self-destruct timer to find weapons and supplies and reach the escape shuttle, while attempting to avoid bumping into the Xenomorph's BFF. Another threat to be aware of is the ship's malfunctioning android, because who builds spaceship androids without evil tendencies?
Unusually, there are no dice in the game; movement is governed by actions and reactions. Character death is an ever-present threat throughout, however if your characters do die you have the chance to stay in the game by taking control of other characters, including the ship's cat (who would clearly have a much better survival strategy than the humans).
Lifeform was fully funded in an impressive time of just under eight hours, and it's easy to see why. The parallels to classic science fiction such as the Alien franchise are obvious, and the fact that the characters are just ordinary people trying to survive has proved to be a big selling point. The quality of all the game elements looks fantastic, with the epic 101cm x 50cm board (also available as a playmat due to the backers smashing through the £85,000 stretch goal) very much stealing the show.
From all the information and playthroughs available online, it sounds like Lifeform will have brilliant reply-ability value. Each character has different skills to help them survive, there are alternate endings, and even a Minotaur would get lost wandering through Valley Forge's 80 chambers. As a consequence of the original funding total being so spectacularly surpassed, there are already two expansions lined up: one introducing the solo campaign (Dragon's Domain), and one providing two new crew members, an extra game board, and extra cards and tokens (Thirteenth Passenger).
I am very excited for the release of Lifeform and I'm already attempting to find a bigger game table to accommodate that beautiful-looking board. The theme looks brilliant, the gameplay looks fun (and/or terrifying) and action-packed, and the inclusion of a solo campaign is a great move that will make the game very appealing to players like myself who, lacking a regular gaming group, often miss out on these big co-op games.
Lifeform is available to pre-order now on the Zatu store.