9 / 10 - Most Addictive Game in Ages

01/09/2009 by Brian Edey | Source: Game Focus
In the last few years we have not seen a bigger waste of time for office gamers than the many tower defense games which are available all over the internet. While there have been some commercial attempts at this game type, most have been gameplay failures and quick money grabs. But here comes Defense Grid: The Awakening from developer Hidden Path Entertainment, a classic tower defense game with some nice gameplay tweaks, fun voice over work and plenty of bang for your gaming buck.

If you have played any of the many Tower Defense games which are all over the internet, you can quickly pick up on how to play Defense Grid. Defense Grid uses the same idea of different towers from guns, cannons, missiles, flame units, and more and allows you to upgrade them for added range and a bigger punch. You can build and sell towers and gain resources by blowing the various enemies up and each one is worth a specific value.

As you begin each level you start with a small amount of resources and a little time before hordes of enemies arrive on the scene and begin their march through the level to where the power cores are held. You have a limited number of power cores during each level and if you are not watching it is very easy to lose them as the enemies ’Zerg’ rush you. To defeat the constant rushing you will have to place towers in key positions to maximize damage and control the path of the enemies. Controlling the flow of the enemy is an important skill to quickly learn as some of the most powerful units in the game you must defeat will require you to constantly bombard them.

Each tower will eventually have three upgrades and while some towers are effective as soon as you build them, most of the towers become amazingly powerful with more powerful attacks, increased rate of fire and longer range. Some towers are also only effective against certain kinds of units such as guns, cannons and missile launchers are only effective against air units and projectile towers are great versus shielded units.

While every tower defense game I have played is single player, I would like to see a multiplayer or co-op version of Defense Grid which I know would be a difficult game to design, but perhaps both sides could control towers and their own set of enemies with some research and development for new technology. This is an option I would enjoy seeing in an expansion or if the game sees a console release (apaprently an XBLA version is actually in development for the Xbox 360).

Graphically, Defense Grid is a great looking game with plenty of variety in the over all level and tower design as well as some good looking enemies. The graphics and animations for the enemies and each of the towers are very well done, with each upgrade are great and unique, something you will notice if you zoom in close to each unit. Each level has some great lighting and texture work and has a different look then all of the other 20 levels. Audio wise the games music, sound and voice over work are simple but very effective. The voice over work is fun in a twisted Sci-fi way which is always enjoyable to hear. What is most surprising about the graphics and audio is the lack of any issues with either the graphics or audio anywhere, they do what they need to do and do it well.

This great indie game offers plenty of single player replay value in Defense Grid and with multiple ways to beat each level and with the cheap price of the game ($20.00 /USD) the value is high even with out any multiplayer settings.

I never would have expected such as basic game as “Tower Defense” to be given such a great make over with some gameplay tweaks and be such a worth while and addictive game. While you can play a very basic version of this type of game on thousands of websites, if you enjoy playing them this is the only commercial one that is worth your gaming dollar.