Defense Grid: The Awakening is a highly acclaimed tower defense game that has just landed on the Xbox Live Arcade. The game is similar to the many other tower games with a few differences. Its set in a space type of setting where you have to defend your “power cores”. The maps come in both fixed routes and open maps which allow the player to strategically create paths by placing towers. Also when placing towers you need to take line of sight into account. If there are structures in the level, the towers will not be able to shoot through them. Some of the maps you will find yourself strictly defending your power cores while some find you needing to recover your cores from the enemies and then defend them. As you kill enemies you harvest them for your resources in order to build or upgrade towers.
The game features 24 maps, 12 different towers, 15 types of enemies and over a 100 challenge modes. All of this gives the hardcore tower defense gamer many hours of gameplay. All towers have two levels of powerful upgrades available. Towers have to be placed at certain deployment points, which for some might be annoying but really adds to the games difficulty as you need to plan your towers wisely as you only have a limited number of spaces to place towers. As with any tower defense game enemies have different speeds, different armor levels and also might be immune to certain tower types.
Graphically the game looks nice. The different enemies have some decent detail to them and each look real unique. The levels also have some detail with various space type equipment and different surface textures. The graphics really just fall into the middle of the pack, nothing horrible but nothing groundbreaking either. Audio is fairly decent with the addition of custom soundtracks, each tower has its own sound and the enemies will create different explosions.
Controls are very good. It’s always hard to take games that for years have been played with a mouse and adapt them to consoles. The left stick moves your courser and view around the screen, the right stick is the different zoom levels, a button is the action button, when hovering over an enemy B brings up the enemies stats, and the bumper buttons can speed up time to move the waves along quicker. The biggest control downfall is the lack of camera rotation, it wouldn’t have been a big addition but would make the game more interesting at times.
Overall Tower Defense: The Awakening is a decent game. It has plenty of levels which offer some very challenging games and lots of hours of fun. Graphically it holds up to todays standards, but doesn’t break any new grounds. Controls which are always the number one game killer are very tight and fluid. It would have been nice to see the game have a rotatable camera and even a level creator. For 800 this is a perfectly priced game and should be a buy for any tower defense fans.
A copy of Defense Grid: The Awakening for Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review.