Tag Archives: tower defence

Fortified! review

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.

Fortified 1

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.

Fortified 2

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.

Fortified 3

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

[rprogress value=76 text=”TiX Score 76%”]
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Dungeon of the Endless preview

Dungeon of the Endless brings together mechanics from RPGs, tower defence and survival games and ties them together with a Rogue-like knot. The result is a wonderfully compelling and a splendidly unique experience, one that’s made all the more appealing by its multiplayer component which allows up to four players to join in on the fun. It is, however, lousy with bugs, but with full release a good month away, hopefully the worst of them can be ironed out.

With this preview build we struggled through the bugs as they snatched victory away from us at the most heart-breaking moments and frequently threw up obstacles to impede our progress. We kept at it, though, never letting the bugs win, and a large part of why we kept playing was just how much fun we were having despite the setbacks.

Dungeon of the Endless 1

Having crash-landed on an alien planet and penetrating deep into a not-so-natural network of caves, you take control of a pair of survivors and must uncover the procedurally generated dungeon made up of rooms filled with mysterious architecture and technology, find the exit, grab your escape pod’s crystal and climb to the surface 12 floors up. But of course it’s not as easy as that, as each floor is also full of monsters. These beasts are discovered randomly as you unlock each door to each new section of the dungeon, and also have a chance to spawn in any discovered but unpowered rooms. In order to limit the monster spawns and protect your party of survivors and the escape pod’s crystal, you need to use your resources to power rooms and then build defences, support modules, and resource generating nodes in them.

On top of that you can also find items to equip that increase your attack power, defence, speed and wit, whilst also levelling up your survivors at the cost of resources. Other survivors can also be found within the dungeon, allowing you to recruit and switch out new members in your party, with each character sporting their own set of stats that make them more effective at certain things. Furthermore the nodes and modules you can build can be upgraded by finding a mysterious research crystal. Meanwhile, in singleplayer each character has their own personal story that’s gradually revealed between floors.

Dungeon of the Endless 2

It’s a complex set of mechanics that can easily overwhelm you in your initial few attempt to survive the dungeon, and whilst a tutorial is present, it’s hidden away behind in-game menus and is disappointingly text-based. However, once you do figure out how everything fits together it reveals itself to be magnificently conceived and well-balanced, as well as hugely compelling.

Different escape pods can be chosen at the start – once they’re unlocked – which modify the experience with additional challenges, and the characters offer a variety of different skills and stats to change things up, all this on top of the procedurally generated nature of the title and Dungeon of the Endless possesses oodles of longevity.

Dungeon of the Endless 3

The bugs truly are horrendous in this preview build, however. Research not completing, monsters that can’t be targeted, the level not ending once you reach the exit with the crystal, freezing on the transition screen between floors, and several more bugs hindered our progress over and over again. It remained fun but became frustrating, but as long as these bugs are quelled for release, then I’m certain when we come to review Dungeon of the Endless, the praise will be astronomical.

Kaiju Panic review

Kaiju Panic

Kaiju Panic, from indie team Mechabit, is a real-time tower defence game. Following the impact of a series of meteorites across the world, strange never-before seen Kaiju have begun amassing near the impact sites. These meteors are also having a mutagenic effect on the Kaiju, transforming them into more powerful and devastating foes.

You are the commander of an international response team charged with rescuing as many civilians as possible while both staving off the marauding Kaiju as well as recovering their constituent parts to aid in further research in order to defeat them.

In order to stave off the onslaught, you have command of an orbiting distribution platform that can drop defensive structures to a location, purchased using recovered shards of the downed meteorites. These are extracted by placing processors in their direct proximity, much like the Command & Conquer refineries.

Each area has two types of mission; recover and extract. During the recovery phase you must locate and recruit members of the public while protecting your headquarters from increasing waves of enemy Kaiju, and with over 40 different enemies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, planning how to defend is the order of the day. To achieve this, you are given advance notice of the direction and type of Kaiju attacking. Extraction missions are the final big showdown for each district, with a shuttle on a set timer inbound to rescue all the civilians you have managed to save and will typically feature a Super Kaiju such as Chibizilla.

Chibizilla

Much like many mobile games, each round has a scoring system linked to additional challenges that can be accomplished during a round, such as protecting all high value buildings in the area, collecting ceremonial masks, or even activating pentagrams in the correct order. Accomplishing these also typically rewards you with additional meteorite shards, so it benefits to attempt these supplemental requirements.

The story, such that it is, is conveyed using storyboards and traces of the humour Mechabit have infused into the game bleed through into these sections. This is further exemplified when in the Kaiju Lab, where you can read the humorous and informative analysis on the Kaiju you have encountered, along with the profiles of the 180 plus civilians you will encounter throughout the game.

The Lab also serves to provide you with research capabilities, allowing upgrades and purchases for the defenses you can build under the Cannon, Acid, Laser, Explosive and Utility tech trees contained within, encompassing the 19 different orbital drops at your disposal. It also houses your Commander skills, that convey a range of perks and buffs to make the battle that much easier such as the increased building health, unit health, shard pick up range and even an orbital strike that can do mass amounts of damage to the invading beasts. All of these are purchasable using the research points that drop from defeated Kaiju.

Graphically, Kaiju Panic is very simple and characters appear one part playmobile, one part cannon fodder to create a very unique style. These characters serve further function and provide additional depth to the game. As you collect the civilians in the area, they follow you around and approaching constructions will have them aid in its manufacture speeding up the development time. They will also repair any damaged structures in the environment, excluding the HQ itself, but their main function lies with the defensive structures. approaching these allows you to staff the weapons with civilians, each of whom have their own particular buffs and advantages; some give greater range to the weapons, some repair it from within, and some even convey specific damage types such as fire or acid to the weapon. Balancing the need for increased damage output and range with the ability to quickly throw up more structures is a further critical mechanic you have to keep in mind as you progress further into the game.

Battle

One of the key frustrations I found, was when encountering new Kaiju. Some are vulnerable only to specific weapons, and until you have killed one to obtain research on them, it is impossible to predict what will and won’t work. With that in mind, you can find yourself out of resource and with the wrong defensive strategy for several fights as you try to work out which attack method will work, and as the range of structures available increases level upon level, this does mean there is an increased likelihood that you will apply the wrong tactic.

This can become quite frustrating, especially when you clear all but the last wave of enemies, only to be overrun and destroyed at the 11th hour.

Kaiju Panic is an extremely well polished, amazing and above all fun game, that straddles the boundary between a pick up and play game style and more in-depth strategy management. Those looking for something a little different, or have a hankering for a decent strategy game will be able to take a lot away from this title.

Thanks to Xbox and Mechabit for supporting TiX

[rprogress value=85 text=”TiX Score 85%”]
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