Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: Defense Grid, The Awakening

Defense Grid: The Awakening is a member of the Desktop Tower Defense genre. When I first stumbled upon the flash based members of this genre, I spent almost a week playing it. The "just one more try" part of it was incredibly addictive, and the puzzle based yet strategy-oriented approach tickled the part of me that always wanted to excel at Real Time Strategy games but couldn't ever find the time (or perhaps the innate ability) to get good at.

Defense Grid is a variant of those flash based games, but with fun PC graphics and 20-levels. If I were asked to pay the retail $19.99 price for it, I wouldn't have considered it, but Steam ran a $5 special and at that price, I thought what the heck.

To my surprise, the game wasn't just a rip-off of the free games, but actually had some meat on its bones. For instance, the levels are quite well thought out, and some of the new monsters are fresh and new (one of them breaks apart into smaller monsters, which is something quite horrifying the first time you encounter it). There are also a couple of new towers that I enjoy, such as the command tower, which enables faster recovery of resources as well as sighting of stealthed monsters. On top of that, each level is individually designed, and has its own quirks. In particular, the game gives you interest on resources you don't spend, and in some levels that makes a difference!

In standard difficulty, the game is playable straight through without any particular hassle. In the challenge modes, however, you have to exploit at least one or two quirks of the more challenging maps. (I will admit to needing to look on YouTube for levels 18 and 20 in challenge mode. In addition, some levels of additional challenges, such as having a fixed number of resources, or only a certain number of towers.

All in all, I ended up spending way more time on this game than I should have. Recommended if you can get it discounted at $10 or less, but I wouldn't pay full price for it unless you're addicted to this genre (as it seems I am).
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