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Review: Defense Grid
Posted 17 September 2009 - 02:05 PM
I was wondering when a decent Tower Defence game would pop up on the Marketplace. With minimal controls, a wealth of such Flash based games playable on t'interweb and shear addictiveness of the format it seems strange that this is the first.
For those unfamiliar with TD games, let me explain......
Played on a grid, waves of monsters enter onto a map from a pre-determined entry point and attempt to exit either by the same route or indeed another. You, as defender, build and upgrade a variety of towers to attempt to kill yonder monsters before they can exit. Dead monsters = more money to buy towers......a simple concept.
Try to route monsters so they pass powerful towers many times
Defense Grid (I hate this Americanisation of spelling) adds “Power Cores” to the equation which the monsters will attempt to steal. Lose the lot and it’s game over. Retain all of your cores and a gold medal’s on the cards.
Defense Grid’s presentation is top notch. Played from an isometric 3D perspective the multi-level maps are beautifully rendered and you control a wandering camera with the left thumbstick. Controls are simple; A to build/upgrade towers and B to view monster stats. Left and right bumpers speeds the whole thing up and most of the game will be played at the double. Oh, and the Y button displays all tower ranges, entry/exit points and flight paths of airborne critters.
A C3PO-alike voice (with a penchant for raspberries) narrates on the game as you play with comments ranging from warnings about stolen cores to sarcastic put-downs of the “buggers’” abilities. A tad repetitive at times but more useful than annoying.
Death from above via "emergency" Orbital Laser
Towers range from basic gun emplacements to long-range meteor towers which you place on ever more convoluted maps to re-route the monsters as you progress through the 20 basic levels of the main storyline. Variations such as 25 tower max, single core, 99 wave grinder levels and various other tough challenges are unlocked as you play and there is a 4-map “Borderlands” set of large, complicated levels to work though when the storyline’s done and dusted.
Scoreboards instantly accessible
There are few holes to pick in this game but, to be pedantic, all I can report is some slowdown when all guns are blazing on a couple of the larger levels and perhaps some over-powering of the basic gun tower which you will need to rely on very heavily to get up the leaderboards.
Who left those Bunson burners on?!
Whilst not for everyone, Defense Grid is the kind of game that you can play casually for a few minutes or obsessively for hours. It’s simplicity belies the deep strategy element which can have you coming back for many a "last go" should you catch the bug. Having played an unhealthy amount of Flash based TD games on t’web I can safely say that this is the best of the lot.
Price: 800 M$ pts
Pros: Brilliant production values, highly challenging, terribly addictive but always do-able, the best of it's genre.
Cons: Not everyone's cup of tea, challenge may put newbies off.
P.S. If you get stuck there's a shedload of vids on YouTube.
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