In this cooperative, deck building card game for up to four players, you are all section leaders assigned with protecting your mining base on a remote alien planet of the deadly and hostile kind. Each player controls one "building" if you like that has special abilities and a slew of troops and gear that you will be using to defend your shared HP base through 3 waves of increasing difficulty with 3 rounds of monsters each (9 in total). Should your base reach zero hit points, it's game over for everyone.
Doesn't look like a "tower defense" game, but it is.
To stop the advancing aliens, each player has a "lane" board where they can put four troops and gear them up. You can't rearrange their order without special cards so you hope for the best when the randomly deployed face down bad guys, start turning up. They too have special abilities, like defending or empowering their allies, or attacking the last troop in your lane - generally whatever is required to screw you over. Combat is simultaneous so instances where both the bad guy and your troop dies is common. Indeed, I've found it's quite rare to have troops left standing after each round.
I've not yet had a win on this game, mainly because wave 3 ups the difficulty insanely, but I'm certain the secret to victory lies in hand management and luck - which I suppose is a staple for deck builders? Not sure since this is my first (second if you count my short experience with Magic the Gathering when it first came out)! So yes, it is hard but it is also fun. The setup does take a little while to do though, and you will require some thick skin as your people are killed left and right. All up I give Xenoshyft three explosive spiders out of five, and recommend it for people that like punishing card games. :P