Archives for : Tower Defense

Defenders of Ardania Review

Ever played Majesty 1 or 2? Well, that is the setting for Defenders of Ardania. Published by Paradox Interactive and Developed by Most Wanted Entertainment, Defenders of Ardania takes a different spin to the tower defense genre, although not too much of a jump. While this game will be coming out on multiple platforms, this preview/review was done with the PC version.

Defenders of Ardania is all about protecting your kingdom as well as assisting others in protecting theirs. The key aspect to the game is it isn’t all about placing your towers. You are playing both sides in this TD game as you build towers you will also be sending out troops to take out the enemies castle. Battles are not always one on one, sometimes you have partners and sometimes they do. Another big change is that you can not place your towers wherever you want. You can even place some in the pathway to force enemy troops to go around them. All this and  your buying troops to send down the path to destroy your enemies castle.

Another interesting limitation to placing your towers is that they can only be built within 4 squares of another of your towers. So to control the field you need to build your towers fast and cross the field to get the best positioning as soon as possible. This can give you a huge advantage over your opponent. Although they may take the time to build the better blocking route to prevent your success and holding the key points may not seem as important if they manage that. Between the 3 races, there are multiple towers to build each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Sending out your troops is your only way to victory though. You must take out the enemies fortress or it will only be a matter of time before they take out yours. Either that or you will be at a stand still. This almost occurred with me when I made a clumsy and heavily mistake filled tower placement layout at the beginning of the stage. This can drastically alter the route both your troops and the computers will be forced to take. Also much like any good tower defense game there are multiple types of units you have the ability to send out in waves. Further into the game you will gain access to more troop types as well as the ability to send out more waves in a row without having to wait.

One of the last big things about the game is the use of magic. You can use resources to cast spells of different types.  The first spell you gain access to is to repair the damage to your castle. This is a spell that can be extremely useful. Other spells destroy towers or units. This brings a lot of real time action to the match.

With a myriad of tower types, troop types, and spells the battles are quite interesting. I especially like how only some troops will attack enemy troops or enemy towers, this adds a great degree of thought when it comes to hiring your next set of troops. Not only that but that they become better the more you use them and eventually a hero troop will be purchasable for that troop type. These guys are nearly unstoppable.

Where this game truly looks to shine is in multiplayer. I was unable to test this theory though. It is set up to be a great TD multiplayer experience.  Something I believe many tower defense players really are looking for.

This game has been released for the IPad. PC and console releases are planned but no release date has been announced to my knowledge.

From what I’ve played I give this a 4 out of 5 especially if the multiplayer holds to the single player aspects. I just can’t wait to see myself getting crushed by the TD fanatics out there.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is an iOS and PC game created by 11Bit Studios. For the purpose of this review we will be focusing on the PC version of the game. Anomaly: Warzone Earth is essentially a reverse tower defense game. Instead of building the towers to prevent attackers, you are the attackers. Aliens have crashed on the earth and it’s your units job to figure out what is going on and stop anything bad from happening. So you have to enter the alien crash sites and destroy the weapons that they have set up.

Anomaly has a lot of neat tricks in its hat to make it interesting and entertaining. Each level you have a new mission sometimes multiple missions. In one case the mission is to reach a certain point before a specific time once you do that though the level isn’t over you are assigned a new mission to accomplish. So playing it smart early on in a stage can help a great deal later into the stage. So as commander, who apparently likes to run along side the military convoy you are off to save the day from the alien threat.

So how is Anomaly played? It’s a point and click game for the most part. You use the mouse pretty much exclusively, which makes it pretty easy to get used to, that in no way means it makes it easy though. Although the game does walk you through all the steps to playing, very nicely. So what are the basics. You scroll back to enter tactical mode from here you will be able to change the route in which your military caravan is going to travel. This is very important throughout the game as paths become blocked by dangerous material that would damage or destroy your units or new towers appear that you hadn’t accounted for. Scroll forward to go back into the active mode. Left click somewhere and the commanding officer (You) will run to that location. Right click somewhere and it brings up a ring of 4 possible abilities. At first you won’t have all four.  Click on the one you want and the commanding officer will run there and use that ability.

You can lose during a stage by all units being destroyed or failing some objective. Stages do have checkpoints and when you reach one you can continue from that point or the beginning of the stage depending on how well you were doing when you made it to that check point will answer that question. I know I had a few points where it was better to start the stage over than to continue beaten and battered at a checkpoint right before I failed.

The game has a decent storyline to explain out why you are taking part in the next mission. It does well to keep the flow of the game going. The voice acting isn’t bad, I liked it to be honest. The music and sound effects are nice and the games visuals are good, and I don’t mean good for a tower defense game. The game has some real polish to it and is not what I expect from most indie games.

As an add on there are two bonus modes available to unlock after you have completed that section in the game. An online scoreboard has you competing for the best rank as well as medals for each stage to show you what you did well at and what they believe you could have done better at. The only thing I can see being a downside to this game is that it isn’t multiplayer. For me this wasn’t an issue, it’s a great game and it stands on its own with just single player.

I give this game a 4 out of 5 only because tower defense is a niche genre. I can’t say this game is for everyone but, it is really worth your time to check it out.

Sanctum Review

Coffee Stain StudiosSanctum is a merge of tower defense games with first person shooters for the PC. The combination fits pretty well together. This PC game available on steam also supports multiplayer to boot. So grab your gun, place a turret and lets get this review going.

The way Sanctum works is between waves of enemies you will have the ability to place turrets, blocks, and purchase guns or just upgrade the ones you have. To do this better you also can check an encyclopedia to see what the next waves enemies are weakest against. That way you can tailor your turrets to face the new oncoming threat. All of that is to protect a core that does not heal between waves. When you defeat a wave you get some cash to spend on more turrets, guns, and upgrades.

Now you’re probably wondering how this game differs from any other tower defense game. Well you won’t be placing towers on the playfield like some overseeing god, or constructing them during an attacking wave. You do that between waves by walking around and choosing the square of the grid you would like to change. Placement is pivotal in this game. The enemy will take the shortest path possible to get to your core. Once you’ve spent all the money you want to spend, you are ready to start the wave. Once the wave is called you run around the map shooting the enemies, hopefully in there weak spots and assist the turrets. You won’t take damage from the enemies but they will knock you out of their way which stuns you. Your guns have unlimited ammo, but do overheat so you have to watch the percentage and lay off the fire a bit from time to time. Just to let the heat level go down.

All this makes for very strategic gameplay and forces you to think about where you’re aiming and when to hold your fire. Being able to squeeze between certain sections on the map that the enemies can’t as well as teleport pads can quickly move you back ahead of the pack once they have passed you. The game currently has three maps/levels with a fourth on the way, Mine, Bridge, and Arc with more coming “Glade” being the next. In single player you’ll face 20 waves on Mine, 25 on Bridge and 30 on Arc. These are not easy levels, well I didn’t find them easy. But part of the fun in these levels is that when you build your turrets and blocks, you create a maze to force the enemies to walk to get to the core. I found this incredibly fun, but as I’ve stated before I do like a good maze.

The game also has multiple difficulties, so if it seems like your just not up to the particular difficulty you chose, try easy. I think that is what I should have done first time around. Now on to the other big aspect of the game multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode is Co-op and can be played with endless waves to any stage you wish. With two difficulty levels to choose from the game play remains the same. You and the other player each have your own resources and upgrade towers as you choose or your weapons. I found the transition into multiplayer quite smooth, although it does appear that the player who is not the host does tend to suffer some lag. Outside of that it is a nice addition working as a team and to make it more interesting the difficulty ramps up faster in multiplayer mode than single player. To me it kept the games balance very well. Also any player who isn’t the host can jump in and out of the game as long as the host keeps the game public and doesn’t quit the game.

In the end, the game has steam achievements as well as a leaderboard for the competitive types. Visually the surroundings are pretty, even if the enemies and stage itself is a little less than impressive looking. The game has definite replay ability, it’s all around fun with a side of how did I screw that one up.

Sanctum will also be receiving various free updates throughout the year.  The next update/DLC is scheduled for this upcoming week. Some future updates are the ability to play 4 player multiplayer and another is a level/map titled “Glade” to play on, I’m not sure if the 4 player update will be available in the next update, but the map seems to be a part of it. Also a demo version of the game will also be released for the curious purchasers.

Overall this game is a 4 out of 5. It’s pretty tough and if you dislike tower defense you probably won’t like it, but once that demo is released I definitely say try it. I think the game is a perfect blend of the two genres. So if you like both FPS’s and Tower Defense games, I think you’ll like this game.