Tower Defense games are not a genre I tend to enjoy. I find the casual approach to RTS rather tedious and usually incredibly limited in gameplay. The Keeper Of 4 Elements is one such game that tries to bring the tower defense genre to Playstation 4, albeit with very poor results. The title is developed by an indie developer called A-Steroids.
The game revolves around one mode which involves players making their way through an increasingly difficult selection of levels. Players have set paths that they must fill with 1 of 4 different towers to choose from, the choice comes down to earth, water, fire and air. All of them have their own individual effects on enemies, such as the earth attack having splash damage and water slowing enemies down. It’s a shame that the game lacks any other modes than this, the main set of levels are really all there is to do. This greatly reduces the replayability of the game with the challenge of improving upon scores being the only reason to replay any levels.
The enemies abilities and power varies between type, with some offering healing to units around them, while others have more health or inflict more damage. Between the special enemies there are typical cannon fodder enemies that often fill the screen. Each level increases in difficulty, increases definitely being an understatement. I played the game on easy and still found myself having to replay past levels so I could unlock new skills in the games unlock system.
Each round starts off with a small wave of enemies. The waves then start to increase as a level progresses. The monsters that spawn in will try to navigate their way towards your base, upon which they will reduce your health. The enemies amount of damage to your health will vary depending on how difficult they are to kill. I find this incredibly flawed though. There is no way to target individual enemies meaning there is no way of stopping specific enemies from reaching your base. This is especially annoying considering there is an enemy type that heals itself and the surrounding units. This means you aren’t able to effectively target an enemy that essentially ends up near unkillable. Players are able to start the next wave of enemies before the current wave is over, this gives players a monetary bonus that can be spent on upgrading towers in-game.
This is prevalent throughout the entire game; everything feels incredibly unbalanced and seems to lack any sense of consistent strategic gameplay. Tower placement doesn’t seem to make much of a difference and even though the different types of enemies do have varying damage effects, they aren’t that dissimilar from one another. This pretty much leaves success during a level down to pure luck in where towers are placed and how effectively players are able to kill the healing units.
The Keeper of 4 Elements doesn’t look particularly great either. Assets are basic and the design feels passable overall. It looks closer to a mobile game than anything on a console, so it’s no surprise that the title can be played via flash player. The same could be said for the sound design; it’s incredibly basic, and never surpasses expectations.
The Keeper of 4 Elements feels like a passion project. It’s clearly had a lot of work put into it, but unfortunately, the inexperience of the development team shines through. Game design feels unbalanced and art style is uninspired. Considering there are countless better tower defense games available in the palm of your hand (your mobile phone), it’s really hard to recommend The Keeper of 4 Elements to anyone.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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