Defense Technica (PC) Review

defensetechnica
What we liked:
+ A few interesting in-game mechanics
+ Deep upgrade tree for towers
What we didn't like:
- Steep difficulty curve
- Ambiguous, uninteresting enemy designs
- Unbalanced tower strengths
Good
DEVELOPER: KUNO INTERACTIVE   |   PUBLISHER: Devolver Digital   |   RELEASE: 10/24/2013

Review
Get off my property, aliens!

Tower Defense.

The mere utterance of those two words and just about every PC gamer would know just exactly what they’re in for. The sheer over-saturation of the genre in the last few years is almost staggering, and while there are a few ways that Defense Technica tries to separate itself from its competition, it isn’t quite enough. At the end of the day, all we’re really left with is yet another solid tower defense game that is entirely forgettable.

This is your battlefield. It’s your job to turn this barren land into a fortress of doom.


Even though there is something akin to a “story” here, it’s not worth mentioning, as after reading through it the first time when I loaded up the title, I couldn’t skip it fast enough when it kept appearing before me whenever I started the game.

I ponder the reason why the developers even bother to blanket over such unnecessary bits of exposition in a game where there are no real characters to speak of, as only the objective of “don’t let your base fall” supersedes everything else?

Graphically speaking, there is nothing really big to complain about nor is there anything to compliment as they more or less do their job of conveying what I was looking at. However, I found the design of the enemies to be uninteresting and lacking anything that really made them feel threatening in anyway.

That was also a problem from the game play standpoint, as the towers had strengths against certain types like biological and light, but just by looking at them, I had a hard time knowing just what type they were.

Not making it clear just what type of an enemy is coming in the next wave is like telling someone to play chess and not teaching them what any of the pieces are capable of.

How can I devise a strategy for something I don’t understand? Even though I was able to learn through grueling trial and error, it didn’t feel rewarding, but instead unfair more often than not.

Also, there was a problem with some towers just being so much easier to use and overall, being much more effective than others as I ended up mass producing those towers with excellent results, which taught me more or less not to use the other towers at all.

This is my maze of RATATATATATATATATATATATATA. Welcome.


That is actually quite a shame, as there is a rather deep upgrade tree for the various towers at one’s disposal. From the standard machine gun turrets to close range stabbers, they can be upgraded using points that are earned by finishing stages.

The upgrades would often have the typical effect of a greater range or more damage but sometimes, it would completely change the function of the tower making it an entirely new beast.

Since I was able to reset the upgrade points in between missions, I had a good time trying out new towers to see just exactly how they could be useful. Honestly, I would have preferred a nice little test level or even a short video clip of the towers in action built into the interface, but I made do with what I got.

Even with the upgraded towers, I found myself struggling after the first few laughably easy stages, which did little to prepare for the onslaught to come.

The enemy waves would often spawn from more than four locations with a mixture of types all weak and strong to different towers and given very limited resources, I found myself barely scraping by or even outright failing multiple times in some stages.

Considering I’m a veteran in the tower defense genre, this surprised me and not in that “oh, this is challenging!” kind of way. When something is difficult but fun, I’d have no issue diving right back in no matter how many times I failed.

While playing Defense Technica, I felt with each failure that I just simply wanted to stop playing the game. The reason for that was because to better myself, I would have to understand the mistakes I made and must correct, but I felt time and time again the way the game was designed, I was left using the same strategy that I knew worked over and over just in different locations.

Given that during the actual game play the only consistent thing to do outside of building towers is picking up resources dropped from enemies, which felt like annoying busy work more so than anything else, I wasn’t particularly engrossed in the experience.

This is the upgrade screen. Prepare to spend a lot of time pondering here.


Luckily, the title manages to add a bit of life into the experience with the inclusion of weather effects that impact the way the towers behave, and a few nice moving stages as the battlefield shifts form in between waves, but they are not implemented into the core game play enough to make a lasting impression.

Containing twenty two stages in the single player campaign, the length of the title is slightly increased by the inclusion of the leader boards, but includes no multiplayer modes.

Defense Technica is not a bad game. In fact, it’s fairly well made and entirely playable. However, there just wasn’t enough here to hold my interest for too long as knowing there are simply too many exceptional tower defense games available on PC that I could play instead.

Fun Tidbit: Even though this seems as in some way connected to Defense Grid, the two games have no direct relations to each other.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Screenshots

Jae Lee

Jae Lee

Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.

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