Normally I’m not a big fan of tower defense style games, but Orcs Must Die! (Robot Entertainment) is a welcome exception. I’ve become a fairly jaded computer gamer over the years and it’s rare for me to find a game as addictive to play as OMD.
The premise of the game is that you are a War Mage, maybe the last one, defending a series of Rift Forts against invading hordes of orcs, kobolds, ogres, gnolls and other nasties. You have access to various weapons, but your primary line of defense is an arsenal of really cool traps. There’s a bit of story to the game, but really it’s just about defending ‘levels’ against waves of invaders.
The levels have a similar asthetic, but very different layouts which encourage the use of different types of traps. For example, one level was one big open space with a zig-zag walkway surrounded by pits of acid…perfect for a spring trap to throw those nasty orcs into the acid. Others have narrow passages, perfect for spike and arrow traps.
As the game progresses, the enemies become toughter (naturally) and the maps more complex, making defending them more challenging. You also gain access to new types of traps, and you earn ‘skulls’ which you can use to upgrade your traps. I’m not 100% certain how skulls are racked up, but I think it has to do with how many orcs are killed by your traps vs. killed by you directly.
The art style is cartoony, an appropriate choice for this type of game, and enough jokes and witty lines to make you occassionally LOL while you’re slaughtering hapless orcs.
Note: It was on sale yesterday on Steam for 75% off (basically $5.35 for the game and both DLC), but doesn’t appear to be so anymore. The game is still worth the full price IMO, but if money is tight, keep an eye out for it, it’ll probably go on sale again at some point.