[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Robot Entertainment” publishers=”Microsoft Game Studios” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”October 5, 2011″]
With the rise of the Tower Defense genre, developers are starting to add other gameplay elements to differentiate themselves from the competition. Robot Entertainment follows the approach used in games like Toy Soldiers in their development of Orcs Must Die! No longer are you placing towers from a God like perspective but instead are in control of a 3rd person avatar that also fights the hordes. So does the Microsoft Game Studios published, Orcs Must Die!, crush the competition with well laid medieval traps of doom or watch astonished as the traps fizzle like a Wile E. Coyote contraption?
The plot of the game is only used to setup a reason to kill large amounts of orcs. As an apprentice war-mage, the player is the last war-mage standing between the orcs and the rift. Each level takes the war-mage to a new stage with hordes of orcs, trolls, ogres, dragons, kobolds, gnolls and others trying to get to the rift(s). Every level played unlocks a new trap, weapon, or person to be used.
At the start of a level the player chooses a set amount of traps/items/companions to be used during the level. The player can run around the level to familiarize themselves with its surroundings and to place their initial traps. The player’s job is to funnel the orcs through their traps and assist in the killing. Yes, you actually have to assist in the killing because the player is limited by funds on how many traps they can build. This leaves the player with the impression that they are about to be overwhelmed every wave. By default the player has a crossbow to strike down the orc menace from afar, but if hands must get dirty there is a blade, staff and magical items.
One of the major issues Tower Defense games have is that their control scheme does not translate well to the console. Orcs Must Die! does not suffer from the malady and it’s a testament to how controls should be done for the genre. You select what your crosshairs do by hitting RB or LB to cycle through the list chosen at the beginning of the level. Want to place a trap? Select it and then move your crosshairs to where you want to place it. Want to run around shooting orcs with your crossbow? Select it and play the game like a normal 3rd person shooter. Bottom-line is that the controls just feel right.
The one problem people will have with the game is that there is no co-op or multiplayer. It is purely single player with 3 difficulties and 24 levels. This somewhat limits the replay value but it is still fun to go back to earlier levels with traps earned from later levels and really give them orcs a murdering. The game is straight up with its achievements. They are the usual fair of kill enemies this way; complete this level, beat the game, and beat the game perfectly. Beating the game on the hardest difficulty might cause some issues but it is doable.
Orcs Must Die! is a great addition to the Tower Defense genre. While it doesn’t do too many things differently than its genre brothers, it does it right and with enough variety and style to keep the player coming back… at least until they beat the game.