Earth Defense Force: World Brothers (デジボク地球防衛軍 Dejiboku Chikyū Bōeigun) is a spinoff game in the Earth Defense Force series, released on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 sometime in 2020 in Japan and 27 May 2021 in the West. It is developed by Yuke's, who previously developed Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain.
World Brothers is a unique take on the EDF formula, featuring pixelated block-shaped voxel graphics akin to games like Minecraft. It once again uses Unreal Engine 4 rather than Sandlot's custom engine, but reproduces the feel of the Sandlot engine much more closely than Iron Rain.
World Brothers' plot is presented in an unusually upbeat and comedic tone, featuring frequent callouts to other EDF games and fourth wall breaks addressing the player and game properties.
An unknown entity known as Dark Tyrant has united the invading aliens from all previous EDF games and sent a mothership from each alien faction to Earth. Together, their power has begun to tear the Earth apart. The EDF must travel to different iconic locations on Earth, rescue every remaining available fighter, and destroy the giant creatures that the motherships release. Curiously, the motherships themselves tend to leave of their own violition when their most powerful creatures are destroyed.
The final missions reveal the reason for this: Dark Tyrant is in fact mind-controlling the other invaders. The invaders themselves have no desire to destroy Earth, only to conquer it. In a strange reversal, the EDF is able to team up with those alien invaders who have been freed from Dark Tyrant's control to destroy Dark Tyrant together.
The player has the ability to build a team of four using characters that the player can rescue during missions. The player can freely switch between all four characters during gameplay. Switching to a character immediately teleports them to the location of the player's previous character. Characters not in use by the player are AI controlled. Switching characters can be used to avoid reload or cooldown times and game tutorial text recommends this technique.
If a player character is killed, the player can switch to a different character to rescue the downed character. In this case, after switching the new character will be some distance away from the downed character and the new character must reach them to rescue them, and have a minimum Armor level remaining.
In multiplayer, each player still has their squad of 4 characters and can switch between them, but uncontrolled characters may disappear rather than being AI controlled.
Every character has a unique ability and an SP Move that the player can use upon filling the SP Bar. Each character can be equipped with a weapon and an accessory. Every character has a Skill Level that determines what types of weapons they can use.
Maps are smaller than in most other EDF games and have falls at the edges (representing the "Earth coming apart"). Characters who fall off the edge of the map are respawned after taking damage as if they had drowned. Non-flying enemies can be driven off the map and killed.
Characters gain armor after completing missions. Weapons and accessories are unlocked by rescuing characters present on each map. Each rescued character has the possibility to have a new accessory; each character type is also associated with a weapon which they will unlock when rescued. The level of these weapons and accessories depends on the mission difficulty. Rescuing a character also makes them playable or, if they were already playable, adds XP to them which increases their skill level. (Note that XP is not gained by completing missions as the character - armor is; and weapons are not upgraded by collecting duplicates, only by collecting the same weapon again on a higher difficulty setting.)
There are between 3 and 5 characters available to be rescued on each map: 3 appear on early maps and 4-5 appear on later maps based on difficulty level. They can be rescued at any point during the level but their benefits are only gained if the mission is completed successfully. Once the characters appearing on a map are selected they do not change until the map is successfully completed; this means that it is not possible to repeatedly restart a map until the character you want is spawned.
Unlike previous EDF games, there are six difficulty levels for each map: Easy, Medium, Hard, Hardest, Inferno, and Armageddon. Levels up to Hard can be played from the start of the game. Clearing all missions on Normal on Hard unlocks Hardest; clearing all missions on Hardest unlocks Inferno; clearing all missions on Inferno and owning the DLC unlocks Armageddon. Also unlike EDF 5, clearing a map on a higher difficulty level does not automatically count it as cleared on lower difficulty levels.
World Brothers features the largest array of soldier classes of any EDF game. Every soldier class from every main game in the series is playable, from the original Monster Attack all the way to Earth Defense Force 5. In addition, the game's official site states that characters from the spinoff games will appear as well, with the Trooper from Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain appearing in a screenshot alongside the characters from the Sandlot games. In the game, the player will recruit other EDF soldiers found throughout the game to create a team of four, plus "brothers and sisters" who are battle capable civilian characters.
Although EDF Air Raiders appear in the game, they do not have the ability to summon vehicles, which are present on each map. They also do not have support items such as Reverse guns or power-up fields because these are instead provided by special and SP moves provided by other characters.
Likewise, enemies from all of the EDF games will be featured in World Brothers. This includes enemies from the ranks of the Ravagers as well as the Primers and Aggressors. Confirmed enemies so far include:
- Black, Crimson, and Green
- Standard, silver, and queen
- Carriers can be damaged in any location, not just the open hatch.
- Standard and Red
- Standard and Giant
- Standard and Red
- Standard and Blue
- Juvenile, Standard and Giant
- Robotic Praying Mantis
- Shield Bearers
Motherships from multiple previous games appear in World Brothers but do not fight.
Plus the following new types:
In the DLC, Another ResCUBE:
|Main series and remakes||Monster Attack • Global Defence Force / Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space • Earth Defense Force 2017 / Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable • Earth Defense Force 2025 / Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair • Earth Defense Force 5 • Earth Defense Force 6|
|Spin-offs||Space War Attack • Global Defense Force Tactics • Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon • TapWars: Earth Defense Force 4.1 • Earth Defense Force 4.1: Wing Diver The Shooter • Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain • Earth Defense Force: World Brothers|