Yes, I know it’s spelt the American way with an ‘S’ instead of a ‘C’, but if you’re an alien then it really makes little difference. And speaking of aliens, it looks like our cosmic cousins are once again hell bent on destroying everything Human, in this particular case it’s our colonies on distant and seemingly boring looking planets. Why the Human race would want to go to all that trouble to inhabit a large group of dead, floating, lumps of rock is completely beyond me, but then it wouldn’t make much of a game, would it?
Colony Defense is, for all intents and purposes, a tower defence game. Albeit a tower defence game with very pretty graphics, but the same old blag, nonetheless. Don’t get me wrong, I like tower defence games as much as the next person, so much so, that I am willing to ignore the incorrect spelling, despite Word telling me otherwise with nasty looking red squiggles under the word ‘defense’. The game itself plays very well, if you are familiar with this type of game then you can pretty much dive in and get going, otherwise, you will need a brief update.
Tower defence is a genre of games where you build/upgrade a defensive structure of various units to stop the onslaught of the baddies that, usually, follow a uniform route to the area that you are trying to defend. In a nutshell, Colony Defense from Mana Bomb Game Studios is a very polished work of art in the tower defence league.
Developed by a couple of blokes from America land, it gives us, the game playing public, a different view on this well worn type of game. For a start, instead of the usual top-down, 2D approach, Mana Bomb have instead gone for a Google Earth, 3D planet look, where you can rotate the planet and place your turrets down in the line of approaching enemy. The graphically represented world looks very nice indeed, as well as the units that both you and the aliens possess.
This new look on the genre is interesting to say the least but is, unfortunately, not without its problems. For a start, all thirty five of the planets look the same, the only difference is a colour change. Another problem is the route that the aliens take to your colony. They are beamed down by a drop ship of some kind and start to follow a path towards your poor peeps who are hiding with the saucepan over their heads. However, I found that it’s not that easy to see which route the aliens will take, you can use up all your initial resources safeguarding a crossroads only to find that the blighter’s have taken an alternative route to get the hapless colonials.
This is where the wonderful 3D world is a bit of a menace. After several attempts at a level you begin to get the flavour, but you only have a few seconds to get the lay of the land before the aliens start their run. It works, don’t get me wrong. It kept me trying the levels over and over again, but it can also become a big turn-off. While the graphics may look nice, the sound is particularly dull, not exactly a space opera, but I suppose it’s a case of what do you expect for this kind of game? It works and does the job.
The units you have available are pretty good at clearing the aliens off the face of universe. You start with a standard laser turret, a bounce laser (that can hop from one alien to another) and the old faithful flame-thrower (which works remarkably well in space). All the units can be upgraded to a faster rate of fire and an increased range by accumulating credits from blowing the aliens to bits. But if you plant too many of the same kind of unit the aliens build up a resistance to it and you are advised to remove one and plant something else in its place. Complete the level, or planet, and you earn Talent points (complete a planet without the loss of any colonists and you receive a bonus talent point and the blankety-blank cheque book and pen!) which can be exchanged for a huge number of benefits from decreased price of units, increased damage of units, air damage upgrade and IOC damage upgrade – which stands for the Ion Orbital Cannon, a weapon that takes time to charge but can unleash fire and brimstone on the unsuspecting invading horde, which is great fun and brought a, somewhat evil, smile to my face a good number of times.
Colony Defense works well as the only 360° tower defence game I’m currently aware of. I have a few gripes, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. It just means that you can probably find something that suits you better, and is a little less frustrating, online for free. This game isn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, it’s fun and different – in terms of the 3D globe gamezone – but I’m hard pressed to think of a really good reason why to purchase it. The best bet would be to get hold of a demo, if you like it, then fair enough. But keep your pennies for something more worthwhile and look out for the free tower defence games on that Internet thingy. I have to admit though that the tower defence genre is looking a little threadbare nowadays.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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