Tag Archives: Tower Defence

SG88 SteamWorld Tower Defence Header

SteamWorld Tower Defence (Nintendo Dsi Ware)

Developer(s) – Image & Form Games

ESRB – E10+

 

Before Image and Form Games introduced the SteamWorld mythos to mainstream platforms towards the end of the seventh generation of gaming with SteamWorld Dig, there was this hidden gem of a game; SteamWorld Tower Defence, currently exclusive to DSiWare. Similar to games such as Plants Vs Zombies and PixelJunk Monsters, it’s a pretty addictive game, and well worth the very modest asking price of £4.49.

 

Graphics – 7/10

The visual style of the game is actually quite reminiscent of Lego Ninjago; small characters inhabiting fairly sizeable worlds, except these worlds are of a steampunk old American West variety. There is also some diversity in level designs, taking place in barren desserts and deep mines. It’s also interesting to see where the entire SteamWorld mythos began and to see which conceptual ideas were carried on into the next game, and what will most likely be carried on into SteamWorld Heist.

 

Gameplay – 8/10

A tower defense game, the concept of it is to raise money by defeating enemies and lay down different units of different kinds of fighters such as gunmen, turrets, and sharpshooters, all to keep hoards of invading enemies at bay. The game also starts off challenging, but becomes progressively more so as it goes on; once more, not in a way that makes the game completely inaccessible, but challenges players to think on their toes.

 

Controls – 9.5/10

PCs and touchscreens by some distance the best method of which to play tower defense games, and thus, there are next to no problems with the control scheme of this game. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it can be a little bit awkward to put down units at first since there are specific dots in which they need to be placed across each stage, but before long, that criticism becomes a case of splitting hairs. The biggest deciding factor in whether a player wins or loses a stage is a skill.

 

Originality – 6/10

There have been many games made in the same vein as this, but what sets this title apart from the many other tower defense games developed, especially across the Internet, is that the visual concept, which has been instrumental in establishing entire mythology behind what has become a series of games. It may not be as unique or as outlandish as Plants Vs Zombies was, but the Image and Form are always contemplating new ideas that they can apply to the series, and it’s wonderful to watch where it all started.

 

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Happii

In summation, SteamWorld Tower Defence is a diamond in the rough that holds up just as well as any other game of its kind; if not better than the average. It’s a solid and inexpensive gaming experience that is most definitely worth the attention of anyone with a 3DS.

Score

30.5/40

7.5/10 (Good)

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Star Fox Guard (Wii U)

Developer(s) – Nintendo EPD & Platinum Games

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director(s) – Yugo Hayashi & Teruaki Konishi

Producer(s) – Tadashi Sugiyama & Atsushi Inaba

PEGI – 7

Developed alongside the long-anticipated Star Fox Zero with the working title Project Guard initially attached to it, Star Fox Guard is a tower defense game that much to my surprise received mixed reviews from critics upon release. Stephen Totilo of Kotaku, on the other hand, hailed the game as one of Nintendo’s most distinct titles in a long time, and I would agree with him; not only is this one of the best entries in the Star Fox series in my opinion, but it is certainly also one of the best games on the Wii U, and very much worth investing a great deal of time in.

Graphics – 7/10

Critics have described this game’s visuals as bland, and in my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a fair amount of variety in enemy and boss design in particular, as well as stage design, with the game taking place on several planets and locations synonymous with the series, and featured in Star Fox Zero. Whilst it’s easy to criticize the game for recycling the graphics and conceptual design of an already existing title, there are still many visual elements that make it stand out from the former, and do well enough to outweigh what elements have been re-used.

Gameplay – 8/10

The concept of the game is to defend each base featured in each level from robots looking to invade and destroy them. The player must utilize a series of camera turrets positioned around the base to destroy the enemies before they reach the center of the base. There are over 100 missions to complete, as well as the added facility to create customized levels and share them online with other players. I personally found it to be an extremely enjoyable and experience, as well as a challenging one without it being too inaccessible. There is also an RPG element to it in the form of leveling up and unlocking new weapons and items to help along the way, which gives it that much more replay value and always works well in conjunction with a tower defense game.

Controls – 10/10

Amidst some critic’s concerns over the somewhat sketchy control scheme of Star Fox Zero, the controls in Star Fox Guard are seamless. Despite the fact that numerous different buttons can be used to shoot, the way in which the motion controls work are extremely well-executed, and makes for some the most fun that can be had with the Wii U’s GamePad. I can’t help but think that if this game had been a launch title, the Wii U would have had a much more successful launch period than what it did. It does a better job of showcasing the potential appeal of the console than many other games released before it.

Originality – 7/10

As I alluded to, I agree with Stephen Totilo on his view that this is one of Nintendo’s most unique titles in recent years. It’s reminiscent of something that may have been found in Nintendo Land, which in my opinion, and many other critic’s opinions, is a game that deserves more credit than both the initials and current commercial success of the Wii U would seem to suggest. Arguably this game is better than Star Fox Zero, but although I can’t yet make that assessment for myself, I certainly found it to be an immensely unique and fun game.

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Happii

Overall, Star Fox Guard is a distinct, challenging, and enjoyable gaming experience; certainly one of the better of which to have been released since the Wii U’s launch. With the Wii U likely being phased out soon by the NX’s launch next year, this game is on the fast track to becoming a hidden gem, and it deserves a lot more recognition than that in my opinion.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Scouse Gamer 88 Plants Vs Zombies Header

Plants Vs Zombies (Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, Blackberry & Bada)

Developer(s) – PopCap Games

Publisher(s) – PopCap Games

Distributor(s) – Electronic Arts

Designer – George Fan

PEGI – 12

 

Inspired after playing Warcraft III tower defense mods, as well as one of his previous games Insaniquarium, George Fan, and PopCap released the original Plants Vs Zombies back in 2009, when it received overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim, and eventually went on to become a cultural phenomenon. Personally, I was addicted to Plats Vs Zombies for quite some time after I started playing it. I would recommend anyone with any of the platforms it’s available on to pick up a copy.

 

Graphics – 8/10

Taking place in a strange world where zombies are a looming threat, and planting various types of flora are the only way to stop them, the game’s visuals are presented in a very cartoon-like style, and are extremely varied in its different level settings, characters, and variations of different units to be either employed or combated against. It obviously took a great deal of imagination to come with a concept as outlandish as the one presented in this game. They’re the kind of ideas I love to see in games; the kind that may sound ridiculous on paper, but end up becoming something particularly special on a games console.

 

Gameplay – 9/10

The gameplay is unbelievably addictive as well as incredibly satisfying. Aside from the main storyline, there are also several other game modes to be experienced, such as the various different puzzle modes, side challenges, the Zen garden mode, whereby the player can grow plants in a garden to make money, and much to my own personal delight, a survival endless mode. That there is indeed an endless mode to this game, of course, means that it also has an infinite lifespan, and lasts only as long as an individual’s commitment to the game. It really is extraordinary how so much variety in gameplay was packed into such a title.

 

Controls – 8/10

One piece of advice I would be able to give to anyone who may be looking to try this game out (which I highly recommend), is that the best platform to play it on would most probably be a tablet since of course, the controls would be a touchscreen, and the screen itself would be sizable enough. Playing it on the console is feasible, but it’s a bit more annoying, since the game was originally designed to work on PC, and commands can’t be issued quite as fast, which could theoretically cost players a match if factored into enough times.

 

Originality – 7/10

There have been many different tower defense games to come along over the years, especially on the internet, but Plants Vs Zombies stand out among them all for its exceptional variety in gameplay, as well as its strangely compelling conceptual design. To me, it’s no wonder why this game has left such a durable legacy within the industry and has spawned a sequel and spin-off series.

 

Happii

Happii

In summation, Plants Vs Zombies is one of the most satisfying games to play from the seventh generation. I was personally thrown by just how good a game it is; there’s much more to it than meets the eye.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)