Fortified! melds 1950s sci-fi with tower defence wonderfully. Alien saucers and a plethora of robots that wouldn’t look out of place in films such as Lost in Space and War of the Worlds, march forwards towards rockets armed with nuclear warheads, as you and up to three fellow heroes protect these rockets over multiple attacking waves. Once the waves have finished the onslaught, the rocket or rockets launch and strike back at the alien invaders.
It’s a simple premise with only the mere slither of story but one that proves enjoyable and compelling thanks to it’s strong aesthetic identity and accessible mechanics. However, this is a title best enjoyed with friends, utilising each character’s unique abilities to push back the horde of aliens and robots.
The Agent, the Spaceman, the Captain, and the Rocket Scientist are your choice of characters, with their diverse set of skills allowing them to deal with enemies in some neat ways. The Captain keeps things simple with a shotgun and machine gun, while the Spaceman has a freeze gun, the Rocket Scientist carries a high-damage grenade launcher and laser pistol, meanwhile the Agent can deploy snipers for support. Working together the four heroes pack a significant punch and can dispatch the invading menace in creatively entertaining ways. Furthermore, each character has a special move they can activate once they fill a meter, inducing temporary invulnerability as well as activating a unique ability, such as the Captain’s air strikes or the Rocket Scientist’s jetpack.
To destroy the robots and aliens it’s a matter of working together to protect the routes to the rockets – of which there can be more than one – by combating enemies directly in third person combat and by placing down weapons between waves. You can place turrets, troops, anti-air, anti-tank, artillery and more to help protect the rockets and aid you in the fight, but they cost money – that you earn by destroying foes – and you’re restricted on what you can build by a limited inventory for each stage as well as the need to upgrade to unlock better equipment.
Each character levels up independently, and as they do you can unlock new weapons and upgrades for them to wield as well as new defence equipment. When in-game, you must choose your arsenal of weapons and defence equipment before the waves begin, adding a slight tactical consideration. Your choice is further guided by indicators of what kinds of enemies you’re going to face in the coming waves, so you’ll know whether or not anti-air, for example, is worth bringing into the fight.
It’s a good upgrade system that encourages you to grind the easier levels to better prepare yourself for the tougher ones ahead. Furthermore it encourages you to switch between characters rather than stick with just the one. Of course this does also feel a bit like padding out the experience, but fortunately it’s enjoyable enough to where it’s a forgivable design choice.
A 12 level campaign as well as an infinite waves, endurance-style Invasion Mode are available for you to tackle either alone or with up to three friends, but with a limit on how many things you can place to help defend, as well as the aggressive attacks of the invaders. The two modes feel very similar, testing the might and cooperation of your team. But it certainly proves enjoyable. Moreover the crisp and colourful visuals with the 1950s aesthetic is eye pleasing and runs smooth throughout.
Fortified! is a great tower defence game with a quirky enough premise to standout amongst its peers. It’s certainly more fun to play with others than tackle the invaders alone but if you are able to bring together a group you can easily while away the hours avenging the earth.
Thanks to Xbox and Clapfoot for their support
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