*Ackbar voice* It’s a TRAP!
Neocore Games have made themselves two very well done action RPGs in the past couple of years. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing games are a deep and refreshing take on the dungeon crawling loot genre, and I enjoyed both extensively. Seen in the Van Helsing series were small side missions that would have him utilize towers and special traps to hold off hoards of evil armies, all the while being able to hack and slash them while still using traps to hold off other lanes from getting into the ink gates and coming into the real world. Well, Neocore’s newest game, Deathtrap, is basically taking those side quests and turning it into a full on game, and it works very, very well.
Players create a character using new classes that come with their very own abilities and strategies. Starting off, players will only have a few abilities to use and traps to try out, but after taking on a few maps, unlocking and upgrading both their character and the traps they use becomes as complex and satisfying as the character progression was in the Van Helsing games. Not only can the character level up, but the player will also gain trap points they can use to add special abilities and passive stats that can alter the course of a run. Unlocking new traps revolves around killing a certain amount of enemies with an attribute or affinity. Just playing through the game and experimenting will reward the player with new things to try out.
Price I’d pay: $19.99
Multiplayer: Online co-op and versus
On top of all that, players will obtain new armor and weapons through loot drops as well as buying them in the store, adding even more depth to the game play. The crafting system even makes a return, allowing full customization for characters. Needless to say, this game is rather large in what it offers.
The cycle of death.
During the battles, players can place certain traps in designated areas and plates on the map. Certain plates will allow for a set of traps while other will offer other options. Choosing between an acid geyser and a flamethrower trap all depends on the play style, what trap upgrades have been unlocked and what enemies will be coming through that lane. Since each trap type is strong against certain enemies, knowing what is coming and which traps do use is very important. Trap placement is governed by essence, the currency used to build and upgrade traps on the battlefield. Players earn essence through killing enemies, so the more baddies that die, the more traps players can set.
Each map has three difficulties and numerous modes and scenarios to try out, so replaying the same map can be beneficial for both unlocking new things as well as character progression. Along with the single player, there is also a four player co-op mode that allows friends to take on maps together, making it a bit easier while offering more strategy depending on what players choose to play. If players are looking for more of a competitive way to play, they can try out the versus mode, where one player defends the gates while the other controls the minions. Here, the attacker can possess minions and use their abilities, as well as drop stat boosting totems that can help out the hoard. It is an interesting change of pace that adds even more to the overall package.
It’s a dangerous world out there.
After a couple of hours playing, I eventually hit a slow point in the progression. The maps get more complicated and more deadly, and while I had the difficulty set to normal, I was still getting beaten down. I eventually had to go back and begin replaying levels so I could level up and obtain some new upgrades for my traps and character. The proverbial “brick wall” seems to always hit me in these tower defense games eventually, but because the RPG elements are so abundant and addictive, I didn’t mind too much.
The visuals fit right in with the Van Helsing universe. The gothic feel mixed with the Victorian atmosphere works, and while I loved the original soundtrack to both this game and Van Helsing, hearing the exact same song during the battles started to grind my nerves after about the 10th map.
Deathtrap has the workings of a tower defense game, with the complexity and depth of a hardcore RPG. Fans of the Van Helsing series will more than likely enjoy this, and players of games like Orcs Must Die and Dungeon Defenders will get a ton of enjoyment out of this package, along with action RPG fans of Torchlight and Diablo. It really hits that sweet spot. It may get difficult, but partying up with some friends and leveling up can combat that. For 20 bucks, you really can’t go wrong with Deathtrap. I highly recommend it.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.