Microsoft's booth had its fair share of unique game experiences, and one of them was a new twist in the tower defense genre: Robot Entertainment's Orcs Must Die!
The point of the game is to prevent a horde of Orcs from getting into an open rift located at the end of the stage. In order to stop them, players place various traps along the path between the main entrance and the open Rift such as tar pits and arrow-shooting walls. Besides the traps, the player can use a crossbow and a sword to help whittle down any remaining Orcs that have survived the traps. Killing Orcs rewards players with money to set up more traps for the next wave of Orcs. This mix of strategy and all-out combat makes the game stand out from other defense titles. Not to mention the game has a sense of humor and comic art design throughout the adventure.
On the show floor, I managed to play through one of the game’s stages. Visually, the games runs smoothly and has a mixed art style between comical and serious. While I am not a huge fan of tower defense titles, I did enjoy placing the traps in places that would help weaken the Orcs so I could finish them from a distance with my crossbow. At times, though, I could mix things up and run in sword-swinging while the Orcs were getting stuck in tar and getting shot with arrows. Thank goodness you cannot die from your own traps.
However, by the time the stage was completed, I felt the stage had lost its welcome and the hordes seemed very similar with just more Orcs rather than new types of Orcs. Also, I couldn’t find out how to upgrade any of the traps I had set down, which is a staple in tower defense genre. Based on what I played, this game aims to be more like an action based beat-em-up rather than a strategy filled tower defense. I only hope this becomes more balanced in later stages and includes new Orcs and traps. Then again, I did only play a single level early on, so the levels and enemies can only get more devious and innovative!
Orcs Must Die! is available right now on XBLA for 1200 MS Points and on PC platforms.
For more information, check out the game's official site.