In the past, tower defense games haven’t done much for me. I’ve got a couple on my iPhone, but they’ve never been much more than a digital analogue to taking a magazine to the bathroom. Monsters of the day run along a static route and you build things to pew-pew them before they can pew-pew unto you. Adding insult to injury is the fact that these games are often too easy. Attempts to make them harder usually come in the form of hobbling the player with a finite number of towers. When I heard about Interstellar Defence Troops, an indie tower defence PC game, I wondered if this genre could appeal to the hardcore gamer.
Much to my surprise, Russian developer Winter Rain Games offers up a title that not is only challenging, but a variation on a tired formula.
Within the demo, Interstellar Defence Troops boasts three talking points.
1) It’s space based. You start with a space station and forty-five seconds to lay down some defences before wave after wave of enemy ships advance on your position.
2) The game introduces some light resourcing into the tower defence equation. It’s nothing that requires a Starcraft level of active management. Yet it’s just enough to add another layer of strategic planning to the game play.
3) It’s hard. Even on medium difficulty, the game scales up to hard and very hard, IDT is a tough nut to crack. And this is on “Survival” mode. Apparently, “Rush” mode is even more of a challenge. I do love it when a game isn’t afraid to kick a gamer’s ass. My first few attempts at Survival mode resulted in almost immediate death as I found my space station swarmed by enemy fighters and frigates. Once I got a better sense for how to strategically deploy my towers, I managed to make it to the end of the demo on a couple of occasions.
Only two things caught my attention as negatives within the demo. The first is that the building hotkeys feel a bit weird. However, that might just be my perception as years of Starcraft have hardwired my brain along what Blizzard deems to be natural key bindings. That said, an option to change the key settings would be nice. The second is that the free camera as compared to the RTS camera, isn’t very useful. Anybody who is at all familiar with real time strategy games is going to want to immediately switch to the RTS camera.
At a $10 price point, Interstellar Defence Troops looks like a sound investment. You can find the free to download demo at http://www.wiraingames.com/