Despite its innovative take on the otherwise dead Tower Defense genre, or its unique concept, Aegis of Earth will most likely go unrecognized for its feats. I’ve always been a fan of the genre, ever since I had first discovered online flash games, and it’s certainly a bold move to publish such a niche title – to cater to such a niche demographic – when the gaming industry is so head over heels for realism and “immersion”. Not many developers will tread over such dangerous waters, but it’s refreshing to see Aegis of Earth bring back one of the more underappreciated video game genres with its own little twist.
And so came the “Silent Apocalypse” — a catastrophe which would nearly leave humanity in ruins if not for the emergence of a new mineral called Altenite. Through said mineral, and over time, humanity would rise from its ashes and forge new weaponry and craft civilizations that could withstand even the towering creatures that now threaten the remnants of the human race. You are a commander, sent to the obscure city of Kimberley to lead one of the finer team of officers in order to preserve its people and maybe even become the world’s saving grace.
The story in Aegis of Earth mainly serves as a device to deliver character interactions. Not much goes on in terms of story, usually remaining stagnant throughout chapters, and any real development is marked with the arrival of a new crew member from which you may allocate to your team. Rather, the ‘plot’ is more of a roadblock in the fantastic gameplay. Not scarcely enough was I tasked in developing new weaponry from which I had already accrued the necessary materials for beforehand, only to have to subject myself to yet another sequence of the game’s VN dialogue boxes. On that note, however, the characters in Aegis of Earth were one of the many driving factors in my remaining interest and really brought whatever story there was to life. They’re not the most well-written, rounded characters, oftentimes one-note with small quirks to offer this sort of faux-depth, but it was delightful to indulge in their interactions and banter from time to time. I suppose it’s a better alternative to having no interesting characters, no substantial story, and addicting gameplay, and it certainly served as a nice break whenever I found the gameplay too monotonous or when I wanted to unlock the next new unit to add to my ranks.
What Aegis of Earth does excel in is the implementation of its concept. While most Tower Defense games would have you stare at a static screen whilst enemies would walk in front of your tower and you would have to fend them off, Aegis of Earth features a rotating “tower” system. The city functions in 4 zones, each having a set number of slots of which to allocate buildings that would serve as facilities, homes, or weaponry. While it would initially seem a bit demanding to just plan ahead for upcoming encounters, unable to move units while taking into account all of the city’s necessities during your planning phase, when combat scenarios are initiated, the city is able to rotate about its zones and allows you to move units into desired locations. While the game remains a bit on the easy side on its Normal difficulty, I was no stranger to tense situations. There were some times when I would find myself unable to cover one of the city’s blind spots because that specific section was either quarantined, or I lacked the funds or electricity to support that area with units; and so I would have to prioritize what would cause the least amount of damage, would decrease fatalities, and think if I could move and pair my units in such a way that would allow me to avoid all of those headaches. I’ve never really had to strategize in Tower Defense games, and for one that gives off an impression of “another one of those anime games”, I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself actually putting thought into my actions and crew assignments. It’s certainly no Ninja Gaiden Black, but the developers were intuitive enough to make sure the game wasn’t just another mobile game on a console and that it required a degree of proper planning and preparation.
There’s not much to say about Aegis of Earth in terms of its soundtrack. There’s the typical militaristic drumrolls that accompany most if not all of the story’s downtime and a slew of forgettable tunes. It’s not the genre you think of when you think “amazing OSTs”, but it gets the job done. In terms of aesthetics, while featuring some newer, innovative concepts, aside from the character portraits, Aegis of Earth is no looker. The graphics while looking over the city are comparable to early PS3 titles, especially seeing as the environments surrounding the cities are rather bland in their texture work and colors look a tad faded. As for the character designs, the officers, most likely in attempt to make them seem even more eccentric and emphasize their personalities, while well-drawn, can come about a bit over designed. There’s a lot going on in most of their uniforms that doesn’t at all seem ‘uniform’.
It’s sad to see Aegis of Earth off. Call it pessimism, but it’s blatant that the game won’t see the time of day it deserves — if not for its graphics, then for its genre. I enjoyed the game, and as much as I would like to recommend it to everyone, it’s not a genre or niche that appeals to everyone. If you’re at all a fan of Tower Defense games, pick it up. It’s a fun time and offers a neat twist in its gameplay that only makes it all the more endearing.
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