Defense Technica is a good example of how a game can have mediocre graphics, a pointless story and generic level designs, while still being fun and addictive. It’s also an example of a game that with some more variety and creativity, could have been something great.
In Defense Technica (part of the tower-defense genre) your primary goal is keeping your “core” alive by establishing a mechanical military. Throughout each level there are numerous spaces – represented by squares with a blue outline – that you can build your defenses upon. You’ll have options such as machine-gun turrets, mortars, magnums which slow down enemies, flame-throwers, barriers and several others. Purchasing any of these cost a certain amount of resources, which are gained from taking down enemies. Enemies will also drop extra resources which can be collected by the player moving the cursor over them.
Another factor of the gameplay is “ether”, a secondary resource which is finite and can’t be refilled once it’s used. Ether can be used in two ways; to heal your core, or to call upon a bomb that will destroy any enemies within its blast radius. Choosing how, and when to use ether is a key part of the game’s strategy.
Defense Technica can be incredibly hard and unforgiving, making trial-and-error a continuous part of the game. There were certain levels (more than I’d like to admit) that took me an hour or longer to beat, as my core was decimated time and again. Although the challenge will definitely turn some off, the difficulty rarely feels cheap (the game does, however, rely on sheer numbers rather than enemy intelligence), and although it sometimes took me a long time to beat a single mission that when executed properly would take 5-10 minutes, each try at a level allowed me to reexamine my surroundings, become more familiar with the environment and eventually gain the ability to accomplish my mission. Choosing when and where to place your machines, and choosing which machines to use, involves a lot more strategy than one might expect, especially when undertaking some of the seemingly insurmountable situations the game puts you in. There’s a “hardcore” option for those who are really masochistic.
After beating a mission, you’ll gain tokens which can be used to upgrade your machines. These upgrades will typically increase the strength and speed of attacks, while sometimes significantly changing the primary function, or adding a new function (such as allowing the magnum to increase the strength or speed of allied machines). Once you purchase an upgrade, you have the option of upgrading that particular machine in-game using resources, though they’ll have to build the original unite first; for example, for someone to build an upgraded level 2 machine-gun turret, they’ll need to build an original first, and build upon that at the cost of extra resources. The points you allot to each machine can be reset at any point outside of missions, allowing you to adjust your upgrades for particular settings.
Unfortunately the game’s level designs, though functional, lack variety. Eventually levels begin to fluctuate, moving up and down between missions, which results in levels significantly increasing in size, and you’ll at some points be given two or even three cores to protect. Weather also plays a factor at times, with conditions such as rain and snow making certain machines less effective. Though these changes further add to the strategy, they do little to spice things up, and none of the game’s 22 missions stand out among the rest. The game doesn’t feature a multiplayer mode, though there are online leaderboards for those wanting to compete with others.
Defense Technica has a story, but to be frank, it’s quite pointless. It’s incredibly generic, has no depth and lacks any sort of narrative pull. The entirety of the story consist of a paragraph description prior to each level, in addition to a written intro and ending. To be fair, I don’t think the developers made this game expecting or wanting to tell a groundbreaking story (but instead to make a fun, challenging and deep tower-defense game), but there still could have been a little more thought put into it.
The game’s graphics and art-style is nothing special, and at times quite dull. At no point in the game was I impressed with the graphics (though the water effects were well done), and I often took note of how familiar each level is from the others. The game’s music and sound effects are passable, though nothing more.
Whether or not Defense Technica is worth the $9.99 price-tag is a hard question, and one I pondered deeply as I wrote this review. Overall, I would say that it is – I did have a lot of fun with it at times, and its fast-paced action is enticing – but those purchasing it should be wary that the game does have flaws, such as an uncompelling story and art-style and lackluster level designs.
I hope a sequel gets made, and some of these issues are addressed. If it does, and they are, it could be one of the better tower-defense games on the market.