>>Community Game Brief
Incursion attempts to educate players on the plight of illegal immigrants through gameplay. It does not do this well. With a mix of dull resource gathering and simplistic, vague stealth maneuvering, Incursion becomes a drag well before it teaches you anything.
You begin the game with limited funds and the curious option to spend them on different immigrant classes. There are runners, fence-cutters, and mine-sniffers. You have to wonder where a third-world village finds the resources to flash-clone skilled workers for only a few hundred dollars. This abstraction is the first area where Incursion falters – a Mexican village isn’t a forward spawn for Zerg rushes, it’s a place where families are raised and people live out there lives. Considering the “edu-game” angle and 2D graphics, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to demand some connection to real life.
Instead, the game focuses strictly on the dangerous and heart-pounding act of border crossing, only without any of the intensity that entails. You navigate your immigrants one at a time across an empty field avoiding border patrols. The guards appear to follow a predictable routine, but it doesn’t matter because they only need to look at you funny. There are no dramatic chases, no flying bullets, or even last second escapes, just a sudden and jarring disappearance as your immigrant is presumably eaten by the border guards. If you’re lucky enough to make it across, then your village begins acquiring funds and the immigrant starts his life of endless landscaping.
If there’s anything poignant to be gained from Incursion it’s the siphoning of cash from America. The game is so abstract that its most powerful visual is the flow of dollar signs. It’s not exactly the message you want to send in a game seemingly sympathetic to the hardships of third-world countries. Next time, the developer would do well to take a page from an old classic: 1974’s Oregon Trail, a game that wasn’t afraid to educate on history’s true hardships – namely, dysentery and drowned oxen.