I’ll have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of tower defense games.
The first problem is that you have to trust that your towers will get the job done. If you don’t have the cash to make them strong enough to kill your enemies, all you can do is watch helplessly as they invade the castle/treasure/McGuffin you’re supposed to be protecting.
In the worst cases, your towers will only attack the first monster to come along, distracting it from weaker baddies that they could easily kill. This can lead to a chain reaction of your towers failing to finish off a bad guy before reaching your towers, then failing to beat the next enemies that it otherwise would have been able to kill.
To ensure you don’t get into this situation, you have to spend your cash wisely. However, this can be trial and error – horrible in games where there are dozens of waves to get past.
The second problem is the game’s creator will know his game inside out and will know exactly what you have to do to get past each level.
In hard games, this can lead to some levels seeming impossible, even with a strategy guide.
In some cases, the creator may not have play tested his game properly, in which case you’re in for a world of hurt.
The third problem is there’s only so far you can take a defense game in terms of creativity.
The setting may be different but the different tower powers will be the same: a basic attack unit; a weaker rapid-fire unit; a stronger, slower unit; an anti-air unit; a poison/energy drain unit; a status boost unit; and a freeze/slow unit.
If you can think of any other variants on these I’d be interested to hear them.
But the issue remains; with so many elements in common between these games, what can you do to make yours different from the crowd?
One way would be to add a funny story.
Enter Defend Your Honor.
The simplistic graphics belie the silliness of this game’s plot. You have been tasked by the walrus king to find his beloved statue and you meet several friends along the way.
The action is interspersed with relatively amusing cutscenes.
First a look at the towers – which in this game are replaced by people. You meet various characters throughout the course of your adventure, all of whom have their uses.
The mage: He is the player character and is the weakest of the attack units.
The brawler: Uses a pick axe to chip away large chunks of health – cannot attack flying units.
The rogue: A troll ninja. Unusual. But also the strongest character with the longest range.
The bard: Slows enemies down with lullabies (or bad music).
Cleric: Boosts the strength and speed of nearby units.
Let battle commence!
The upgrade system in this game is two-fold and quite clever. As in all tower defense games, you can make your attackers stronger during the course of each of the 15 levels, using cash you make from killing enemies. After every wave you complete, you get interest on your cash.
But any money left over after the level can be spent in a shop to buy new units, allowing you to use up to five of each type of tower.
This leads to careful management of funds as you try to finish each level with the most money possible.
Until you realise you can do each level over, turning the game into a grind.
A fun grind, mind you.
As you buy all of the troops available, it soon becomes apparent that the most vital thing to consider is where you will place them. Each battle can be won or lost within the first few seconds if you place them badly.
But there’s no real penalty. The main aim of this game is to have fun. And it achieves that.
The gameplay is fairly basic but it’s perfectly functional, and you want to keep playing so you can see the next cutscene and reach the end.
More tower defense games should have fun storylines.
Now, let’s see if someone can come up with a new innovation to breathe some life into this tired genre.
Try it now: Defend Your Honor