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'Space Crew' wants you to defend Earth against aliens (and you can try it free right now)

The new sci-fi strategy game "Space Crew (opens in new tab)" wants you to explore the galaxy while fighting off an alien threat. What's more, it's a sequel to the popular World War II game "Bomber Crew."

An early version of "Space Crew," by Curve Digital and Runner Duck, is available (albeit briefly) as a free demo on Steam through June 22. The game is billed as a successor to 2017's "Bomber Crew (opens in new tab)," but set in space rather than on an Earth-based battlefield. The full release for "Space Crew" is expected this fall for PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Related: Awesome space game news for sci-fi fans (opens in new tab)

The developers took their inspiration from numerous space-themed movies when creating their own new universe that "Space Crew" gamers will explore. Some challenges gamers will encounter include alien boardings, running out of oxygen, fires aboard their spaceships, system failures and the risk of crewmembers getting blown into space. The game's goal is to emphasize teamwork to overcome adversity, even when negative things happen.

"We at Runner Duck have always been huge fans of sci-fi movies like 'Alien', 'Star Trek', 'Interstellar', and 'Star Wars', said Dave Wingrove, Runner Duck co-founder, in a statement. "We had so much fun crafting 'Bomber Crew', we just couldn't wait to explore all the possibilities a far future setting would offer. Recruiting your crew for typical space sci-fi positions and then sending them out on missions into the perilous depths of space is an ideal theme for the 'Crew' series."

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Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc (opens in new tab). in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.