Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is the brand-new take on the cult classic franchise but this time around offering a brand new voxel graphic style. After seeing an hour of gameplay footage last week, it’s clear that this game is more than a simple coat of paint.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers Sets The Focus On It's All-Star Roster | Hands-Off Impressions 

World Brother is being developed by Yukes, which also made Earth Defense Force Iron Rain. Both Iron Rain and World Brothers try to set themselves apart from the mainline numbered entries. This was a big sticking point in the presentation. World Brothers sets its focus on being a very different game both mechanically and aesthetically from its predecessors, and I think that’s very apparent from the moment you see the game. 

World Brothers offers players a more versatile experience. Each mission focuses on recruiting new characters from a breadth of Earth Defense Force games. You’ll start each mission solo, but be able to rescue characters around the map and add them to your party. Once you’ve rescued a character they are unlocked for all subsequent missions moving forward.

This choice treats Earth Defense Force World Brothers like a collectible game, grabbing all sorts of heroes from the game’s canon. It truly is an all-star roster. 

The switch to the voxel art style is an attempt to try and make the franchise more accessible to new folks. Producer Nobuyuki Okajima told us “Since this isn’t a numbered entry in the franchise we wanted to create something a little more casual with an all-star type of game, with a ton of characters from the entire franchise.”

This allows you to swap different characters on the fly and creates really interesting dynamics. Fly with one character to the top of a building and then swap using the D-Pad to a different class to get a tactical position on your enemies.

I asked Producer Nobuyuki Okajima about whether the heroes you rescue during missions are static, or randomized in some capacity, he said “You will see the same characters until you get to the more advanced levels. From there they will be randomized.”

The main crux of the game lies in its difficulty settings. Ramping up the difficulty will net you more powerful heroes, all of which can be upgraded and their weapons can be customized.

The more of the same characters you collect the more you'll be able to customize that specific character. This gives more incentive to replay levels and kill those bugs.

This offers more insight into what the progression of the game will be like. Collecting a large roster of characters will not only provide variety to the gameplay but also give players something to chase after. 

Of course, you’re still shooting and destroying large invading bugs, the core gameplay loop is the same. World Brothers offers local co-op on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 systems. Online Co-op will be available on all of the versions of the game. 

It’s clear the focus of World Brothers is to provide new players a welcoming entry point to a long-running franchise that might be difficult to find the best spot to enter. 

To further ease players into the game, World Brothers puts its easy-to-use characters upfront and holds back its more complex characters until the later stages of the game. 

After speaking with Okajima during the preview event it was clear above all else that Earth Defense Force is designed to cater to players of all skill levels. Yukes just wants you to kill giant enemies and have a good time doing it.

The game officially launches on May 27, 2021, for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC.