Things You Might Like
- Classic Tower Defense with a twist
- Enjoyable Combat
- Unique Art Direction
- A Sophomoric Hero
Things You Might Not Like
- Occasional glitches
- A Sophomoric Hero
Orcs Must Die! is a great twist on the Tower Defense genre. With a low price and high replay value, this one’s worth the price of admission.
4 out of 5 Orcs Must’ve Died
Ah, Tower Defense. It’s a genre that we should all know well. It’s been popular on mobile devices for years now, and has had a solid following on other platforms as well. However, it does remain a very niche genre. There are several games that have helped to define this genre, (Plants vs Zombies!) and Orcs Must Die! might be the next to enrich the genre’s lineage.
Right away, Orcs Must Die! makes it quite clear that you are not in for a serious game. The elderly War Mage narrating your story gets the ball rolling and your character goes over the top from there. Don’t plan on feeling like you’re defending Helm’s Deep, though there are some tense moments. While the over 24 towers/castles have a great atmosphere, the quips and buffoonery from the main character reinforce the levity.
As a War Mage, you have a plethora of perilous punishments at your disposal for the orcs who would invade your homeland via rifts in these towers. The basic weapon is a magic crossbow, which does exactly what you’d think a crossbow should. The “magic” aspect comes into play with an alternate attack that temporarily stun enemies.Upgrades allow for great damage and new weapons or traps are afforded you after every map you complete. These traps all cost money, which you get from, you guessed it, killing more orcs. Seems like a pretty self-perpetuating economy. In addition to new traps, you can also upgrade the traps via skulls you unlock based on your performance. These can drive down costs or drive up damage. So far all of this is pretty standard Tower Defense stuff, sans the crossbow. Where Orcs Must Die! really differs from classic tower defense genre is that you actively patrol the map to take down foes and plant new traps. Make no mistake, your traps alone will not save you from the horde.
As far as playability goes, Orcs Must Die! feels very competent . Your traps/spells are mapped to your number bar and combat doesn’t seem clunky or heavy. In fact, sometimes it can feel a little too light. Given that most of your weapons are ranged, that’s not too bad. However, if you decide you wield a sword to face the oncoming storm, your blows don’t feel as they they have the proper weight to them. They’re almost floaty in a way. However, combat is only half of the equation here.
Setting traps is the cornerstone of the game. You start off simple with sticky traps to slow down enemies and spiked traps to take a few of them out. However, the game expands rapidly and gives you with a rather solid arsenal. Some of the more entertaining traps include wall-mounted arrow traps reminiscent of Indiana Jones as well as some catapults in the floor which are helpful for launching orcs into pools of what I can only assume is acid.
Keeping with the light-hearted theme, Orcs Must Die! dishes up a stylized cartoony art-design that really works for the game. It’s simple without looking too much like World of Warcraft and it also doesn’t go in for the ultra-realism look, which would be detrimental to the overall feel. The enemies don’t have a great amount of diversity in their design, but given the genre and the overall feel of the game, it’s not really disappointing. In keeping with the enemy diversity, the voice acting is rather repetitive. The orcs have a handful of phrases they repeat and your hero responds in kind. There is a sentence or two of exposition at the beginning of each map, as the War Mage talks to himself about the world or recent events, but not a whole lot beyond that a few a cutscenes. This is where there’s some room for improvement. The hero’s dialog often comes across as pretty simple. I’m not asking for a grand story here, but the little quips he spits out are often recycled and can get a little irritating. There are laughs to be had, but be prepared to cringe a little, too.
All in all, Orcs Must Die! is a fun game. It’s entertaining and has a bit of charm to it. The pricing is right and you’ll not find yourself wishing you had gotten that deck of Pokemon cards instead. Or maybe you will, I don’t know. Someone has to catch ‘em all, right? Anyway, go grab the demo for Orcs Must Die! and see what you think. Don’t be surprised if the demo leaves you wanting more.
Someone has to kill those orcs! Head over to Steam and get Orcs Must Die! now!