Creating a worthwhile tower defense game on the PC is a challenge. You are competing with an enormous library of fun and free titles as well as the major players of the genre. See the problem with putting a Tower Defense game out on the PC is that Warcraft 3 exists and sadly there are very few games that I have had to pay for that match the kind of features and fun you get from a custom Tower Defense game in Warcraft 3. So the question is, is Sol Survivor one of those outstanding titles?
The answer is yes and no, Sol Survivor is an enjoyable addition to the tower defense genre but it really doesn’t push it in a new direction and it certainly doesn’t outdo the best that are already out there. It’s a title that tried a lot of interesting things but fell short on most of them.
Graphically the game has a classic sci-fi look to it; it’s a mix of classic titles that for the price of admission are great. There are also certain special effects like the orbital laser that are eye popping for the player. However because of the art direction that they took there isn’t a whole lot of standout pieces that help push the games visual fidelity. Both towers and enemies are rather standard looking and the destruction of any unit is basically the same animation.
The dialog that was given between mission between you and your commanding officer was humorous for a time. It was essentially him berating you because he believed that you were nothing more than a buffoon and even after you saved this factory or colony he would say something along the lines of good job…. but you’re still incompetent. This however got repetitive after the eighth mission he was still telling me I was an idiot.
On a gameplay front again the game is good and it tried some interesting things but it fell short of being really great. The addition of orbital attacks like firebombing; gas, and lasers added another depth to the experience but on a whole the game was overly simplistic.
The game follows the tower defense formula pretty much to a tee, it adds additional lanes that you must protect and of course the geography becomes more complicated, but in the end it’s what your’e use to. My issue with this is that I play a lot of classic tower defense games that have defined and redefined the genre for free. Wintermaul Wars has frankly a lot more depth and original gameplay ideas to it and it’s played with up to eight players. Line Tower Wars is another amazing tower defense game where you control when enemies go after another player and try to kill them off with more powerful units.
There was also a rather surprisingly short list of towers to build and none of the special waves required a lot of effort. I was finding by the time I had completed the first chunk of the game I had a strategy of towers that couldn’t be beat and I really could go on autopilot a few waves into a round. The end game towers also lacked one of the key elements of a tower defense game. Of course I am speaking of the unspoken rule that the last tower you unlock has to be so epic in power that to build it takes a colossal amount of resources, but ruins lives once it’s built.
In essence the real problem with Sol Survivor is that it’s coming from the console. On consoles, tower defense games are still a new genre, so not only does a developer have to cater to a pretty fresh batch of gamers who have never tried the genre before, but they also have to make a tower defense game that plays well with a controller. Sadly the end result is that when its put up against the tower defense titles on the PC it really can’t compete. This is exacerbated when a lot of the best tower defense games are free browser based titles. This however doesn’t mean that Sol Survivor is a bad title; it has potential to grow into a much better franchise if the developer is so inclined. So if you’re looking for a bite size barrel of fun on steam, you’ll get some real fun out of this one.
Review copy provided by publisher.