March seems to be the month of unique innovation for XBLA games. Sine Mora (released March 21,2012) and now Defenders of Ardania are looking to re-inspire the genres they both represent. Deep Silver (Dead Island) and Most Wanted Entertainment team up to develop a unique twist to the saturated market of tower defense games.
Defending the home base isn’t the single priority of this tower defense game. The player also needs to attack the opposing base to achieve victory. This is a unique twist on the genre, as it hasn’t been done before. Unfortunately, there is a reason why it hasn’t been done before.
The graphical design is a bit different than other tower defense games on the platform. The over all art design is something you would expect in a RTS style game. Personally, the graphics in Defense Grid seem to be a bit sharper if a comparison is needed. There are a couple of noticeable frame rate issues in some of the early levels but they don’t impact the game play.
The sounds are something you would expect out of a fantasy style game as well, though the voice acting could use a little help. I enjoyed how the main information character sounds a bit like Deckard Cain (Diablo series). Some of the other voices tend to get annoying and tiresome.
As the story progresses in the levels things seem repetitive and the game play stagnates rather quickly. The beginning tutorial missions leaves out key pieces of information about the units. This makes stages later in the game a lot harder than they need to be. Also very disappointing, is that a single tactic has to be employed to beat some of the stages. As this tedium repeats, each stage begins to feel as if it’s dragging on longer and longer.
The multiplayer side of the game has been left unplayed because there seems to be a lack of players. I would have liked to have been able to try out my skills versus other human players, to see how the game stands up. According to the XBLA leaderboards, multiplayer games do happen, I’m just not there at the times when they do.
Overall, if you enjoy tower defense strategy games, it’s worth giving this one a try before making the plunge and spending 1200 Microsoft points, which is a bit steep. While the idea of an attacking tower defense game sounds good, poor execution leaves me wanting much more out of this title.