Tower Defense Archive

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Adam Versus Steam Greenlight Volume 10: Gravity Core, Evolutionesque TD, and Cubicle Quest

Here we are, the last post before the Page of Reviews goes on vacation for two weeks. Is there a better day to do an Adam Versus Steam Greenlight post? I think not.

First, a word for the newbies to this series. These are not reviews. I can not stress this point enough. In this series I pull three games at random from my Greenlight queue. I then answer the core question of Steam Greenlight: would you buy this game if it appeared on Steam?

With that said, let’s reach into the chum bucket and see what we get.

Gravity Core by Gravity Games

The Pitch

“Gravity Core is an Anti-Casual Braintwisting (sic?) Space Shooter focusing on combining the direct training of coordinative abilities with the fun of fighting in a modern space shooter accompanied by a psychotic artificial intelligence.”

The Trailer

 

My Thoughts

I suppose this is what happens when a rail shooter, a space combat sim, and that Japanese game show, Hole in the Wall have a threesome and somebody forgets to use protection. It’s an odd concept, yet I’m intrigued. I think there’s room for this game to be fun, but I don’t know how long that fun would last. The challenge of beating a global ranking isn’t usually enough to make me run the same level over and over. I’ll do it for Race the Sun, but only because that reminds me of Wipeout and it offers a new track every day.

With respect to Gravity Core’s abusive AI, I think it is treading into the realm of Portal and System Shock 2. It takes a special kind of writing to have a game mock its players without alienating them, as was the case in the aforementioned games. It’s hard to tell if Gravity Core has the tone quite right, but I’m nonetheless interested in finding out.

Verdict

Gravity Core gets points for being different from the pack. Ultimately, I think it has all the makings of a game I would buy on a Steam sale.

Evolutionesque TD by Levahound

The Pitch

“Evolutionesque TD!!!

Just what the name says, evolution…

12 towers at the moment! Each with 3 forms…”

(Author’s note: this is all the game has by way of a pitch or description. The rest of its promotional copy on Steam is a list of the various towers this particular tower defence game employs)

The Trailer

 

My Thoughts – which I shall express in the form of a letter to the developer

Dear Levahound,

The internet is a cold and merciless place, apt to sling venom and vitriol at people who have not yet mastered their craft. I say this principally because I admire the courage you show in putting your work out there. I also say this because there are a few things that tell me you are not ready for the big league just yet.

First, you haven’t written any actual descriptive copy for your game. Second, your trailer uses music that has nothing to do with the game. Additionally, I doubt you paid the appropriate royalties to use that particular piece of music. Third, the trailer itself appears to be made in windows movie maker. None of these things give me confidence in your final product.

You’re also competing in a sub-genre that is a dime a dozen. Despite the talent and effort you invested in this project – which is no doubt considerable – you have done little to make your game stand out from the pack. Thus you give me no reason to part coin from hand.  Furthermore, I don’t think there’s anything you can do to make me want to pay for this game, even if I am only looking at alpha footage.

Play more games, find something truly original, built it, and don’t release it until it is done.

Most importantly, don’t quit.

-Adam

Verdict

Pass.

Cubicle Quest by Ian Isaro Games

The Pitch

“Cubicle Quest is a game about how life can suck. Dead end jobs, repetitive obligations, irritating coworkers… Cubicle Quest takes all of those things and turns them into enemies you can fight in an old-school RPG.

Adventuring in Cubicle Quest doesn’t earn you levels and gold to fight some great ancient evil. Every quest has an impact on your character’s life, whether it’s getting a promotion at work, finding new friends, or figuring out what you want to do in life. Gain allies and personal strength until you take on the forces keeping you in your cubicle!”

The Trailer

 

My Thoughts

While I can appreciate the attempt at self-deprecating humour in the trailer, it didn’t land for me. Might I recommend replacing the text walls with a voice over for your next trailer. Similarly, I can see how this game might work for some people, but there’s nothing in either the pitch or the trailer that make me want to play, let alone buy, Cubicle Quest.

Ten years ago when I was fresh out of grad school and working tech support at a call centre, I probably would have loved this game. Now that I’m a little further along in my career, I don’t look at my work as something that is painful and alienating.

It’s also important to note that the subversive comedy of something like Office Space, which I suspect this game will channel to some degree, is a product of a different time. There are probably tens of thousands of people who would look at a 35-hour-a-week office job not as an oppressive thing, but the goal at the end of a quest. If a game wants to show me the tedious side of work, it needs to be something a little farther removed from The OfficePapers Please is a good example of this.

Verdict

Though a valiant effort, Cubicle Quest is a pass for me.

And so ends another episode of Adam Versus Steam Greenlight. I’m off for the next two weeks, though there might be a few guest posts to the Page of Reviews while I’m recharging the batteries and finishing up a few projects.

Have a great rest of the summer. Thank you, gentle reader, for continuing to read my ramblings and rants.

 

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Adam Versus Steam Greenlight Volume 6: Green Moon, Interference, and Creeper World 3

Welcome to Adam Versus Steam Greenlight volume 6. This is my mostly-monthly feature where I pull three random games out of my Steam Greenlight queue, and decide if I would pay cold hard cash for them were they to appear on Steam. This month I take a look at the point and click puzzle game Green Moon, a stealth platformer called Interference, and an RTS/Tower Defense game called Creeper World 3. Let’s do this thing.

Green Moon by Absolutist LTD

Release Date: Unknown

Here’s how Green Moon describes itself.

Prepare to go on a fantastic journey which will take you from damp prehistoric forests, to the sultry deserts of ancient Egypt, to dirty Wild West saloons, and luxurious medieval castles! Green Moon is a Hidden Object Adventure game like no other, combining science with magic and reality with mysticism. Travel to a unique world full of mystery and exciting opportunities as you learn ancient and timeless secrets!

Two exclamation points in three sentences might be over selling things. Also, I’m not sure if medieval castles were ever “luxurious,” at least not in Europe. I suppose the copy could be referring to luxurious castles of Byzantium. Nit picking aside, I’m also detecting quite a few generic video game buzzwords in this description. “Combining science with magic and reality with mysticism.” So we going to be learning alchemy from Henry VIII on a quest to save Kabbalah?

Let’s go to the video.

 

What’s more pathetic, the fact that this game sells “real fishing” as a trailer worthy feature, or that it is attempting to pass off point and click video game fishing as “real fishing.”

Verdict: Here I thought shamelessly ripping off Myst and The Journeyman Project went out of fashion 15 years ago. Pass.

Interference by Anthony Beyer

Release Date: Q4 2013 – Currently seeking $25,000 of crowd-sourced funding on Indiegogo

Interference shapes up like so,

Interference is a 2D stealth puzzle platformer set in a cyberpunk/technoir world.

- Join the Interferers, the underground organization that’s been labeled cyberterrorists by the totalitarian government.

- Venture into the guts of Arachnopolis, a high-tech labyrinthine city.

- Alter the city’s architecture in order to overcome challenges and progress through the game.

That’s not exactly breaking new grounds in terms of genre or setting. If there was some free running and a female protagonist in the mix, Interference would sound a lot like Mirror’s Edge. Though I will admit to some curiosity about the ability to change the city’s architecture.

Let’s see what the trailer has in store.

 

Okay, this looks objectively cool. The game play appears to be along the lines of Mark of the Ninja. Even though the visuals are a little minimalistic, they evoke a something of a Tron-like sensibility. Granted, the Daft Punk reminiscent music could also be putting me in a Tron mindset. As a show piece for the trailer, the shifting platforms look interesting enough. I would hope that the final product offers some more complex problem solving.

Verdict: I don’t know that Interference is poised to set a new gold standard in cyberpunk storytelling, but it gives every indication of being a fun and visually appealing game. Buy.

Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal by Knuckle Cracker

Release Date: Currently Available

Creeper World 3? I didn’t even know there was a Creeper World 1 and 2.

Creeper World 3 is what happens when cellular automata takes over a strategy simulation. Instead of discreet units that attack your base, a fluid-like substance spreads over the terraformable terrain. Your base, your weapons, your strategy… you must adapt them all.

Does this mean I am fighting the blob? It sounds like I am fighting the blob.

 

The concept does make Creeper World 3 stand apart from garden variety tower defence games. However, its claim to uniqueness suggests there won’t be a lot of variety in the game play i.e. stop the blob from overrunning your position, rinse, repeat. Even with user generated content, I don’t get the feeling that this is the sort of game that would hold my attention for more than a couple of hours. Nor is the promise of an internal scripting language a particular selling point for me, either. And unless the game editor has a great deal of depth, I don’t see how the user generated material will be anything more than variations on the pre-programmed themes.

Verdict: While there’s probably a market for this game, I’m almost certain I’m not within its target demographic. Pass.

One out of three, not the best month for Adam versus Steam Greenlight, but not the worst either. Perhaps, I’ll have better luck next time.


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Video Game Review – First Impressions of Interstellar Defense Troops

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/