The latest in a stellar lineup of games from the crew at Robot Entertainment, Orc Must Die! attempts to bring a new style of gameplay and dynamics to a marketplace filled with titles attempting to reinvent their respective genres. How does Orcs Must Die! fare? Read on to find out the fine details of this “Tower Defense / Real Time Strategy / Action RPG” hybrid.
Lets start off with a quick history lesson for those of you not familiar with Robot Entertainment. They are a publishing company that was created by the founders of Ensemble Studios after being shut down by Microsoft. You might remember them from the extremely popular Age of Empires series, yea that was all them. An interesting side note is that although Robot has been primarily responsible for publishing recently, they are actually the developer for this title, and in addition Microsoft Studios is the publisher this time around! Funny how things come full circle, anyways, I mention this backstory because you can really feel that familiar style in the way this game is visually presented.
The basic premis of this title is to protect the “Rift” from invasion by the Orcs. Simple right? Well, not exactly. You take the helm and control a War Mage whose sole duty is to prevent any Orc escaping your traps and entering the rift. Each level you are allowed to let a certain number of Orcs pass before you have to start over. You are faced with an increasing number of waves per level, as well as varied layouts, which can make keeping all the areas under control VERY stressful. Once you are able to clear the level however, it is extremely satisfying.
In order to keep the Orcs at bay, you are supplies with various goodies. Each level you clear unlocks another new toy to add to your arsenal, although you are forced to choose which play things to bring into each new match. If at first you don’t succeed, grab a different set of weapons and try again! Starting out you only have a few tools to use: Crossbow, Bladestaff, Poison Spike Trap, Tar Trap, and Arrow Wall. Each level you start with some initial funds which you spend to set up your traps. All of your handheld weapons are free, but do consume magic to be used. Once your traps are set, you choose to unleash the Horde and it is time to sit back and see how you fare.
As I mentioned, the Crossbow and Bladestaff are free of charge and you can use them continuously throughout each level. This adds a whole different level of engagement as you are not only watching your traps going off, but actually fully enveloped in combat. In nearly every case your traps alone will not be enough to fend off the Horde, you will be personally responsible for adding to the death toll. I love this aspect of the game. If you are running short on money to place traps, you can choose to go toe-to-toe with the Orcs and take them out directly, although this increases the
difficulty exponentially. If you are looking to challenge yourself, this is an excellent way to do it.
There are a ton of unlocks, and they take place each time you clear a level. In addition to unlocking new traps and weapons, after you complete a level you will also be awarded Skulls. 1-5 Skulls are rewarded depending on how well you fared. You can then use the skulls to further upgrade your arsenal, increasing the power and devastation each one is capable of. If you find yourself not being able to clear 5 skulls on each level, don’t fear, you can go back and replay the level later on down the road. New unlockables you have acquired will be available to use when replaying previous levels. This makes getting the full 5 skulls much more attainable, although some are still incredibly difficult.
All these elements come together very well and form a very full and complete game. If you are looking for something a bit different, and have an affinity for killing Orcs, this is a must have title. You will have hours of Orc gibletizing fun ahead of
- Gameplay = 4.5/5 Very fun title. If killing Orc sounds like a good time, believe me it is, this title is right on par. Figuring out the puzzels and the most efficient way to dispatch of the Orcs adds a awesome challenge to the title as well.
- Audio/Visual = 4.5/5 The background music is nice, although somewhat repetitive, it helps set the mood and the sense of urgency during battle. The victory music is my favorite, I wish they played it as the background music during the main game. The graphic are nice, and have a very familiar feel. They colors are crisp and the animation style is great!
- Value = 4.5/5 1200 MPS or $14.99 on Steam, this is a great title for the money. There is a lot of good gameplay here, and it is sure to keep you entertained for a long time.
- Overall = 4.5/5 Excellent game. The crew at Robot did an excellent job putting this all together, a great success.