Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Game Reviews: Giants and Dwarves TD

(Normally, I'd avoid more than one game review in a week, but eh, there's a lot coming, and these articles are easier to do quickly.)

Giants and Dwarves TD (real sensitive name choice there, guys) is close to being a Kingdom Rush clone, although to call it such is deriding the genuine creativity that went into it.

Granted, that creativity is basically just "throw in some Shadow of the Colossus and season to taste," but how many properties out there are basically mashup properties anyway? Lots.

There are huge enemies in Kingdom Rush, proportionately bigger than this fellow, who is the "basic" giant enemy (yes, he's entirely a generic foe) and in a completely different class from the non-giant enemies (almost derisively called "minions" in-game), but one of the key differences is that, with this game's side-scrolling format, rare in tower defense, that makes how your stuff interacts with the giant enemies different, which is generally somewhat lacking in Kingdom Rush. (For instance, the largest boss in Kingdom Rush's main influence on gameplay is that he blocks your ability to click on your towers, not only with his ability (which is annoying, but sort of tolerable-note that you can click, but you have to do it repeatedly before clearing off his effect, and the tower can't do anything until such time as you "fix" it), but with his height and girth (which is both annoying and quite intolerable).

Specifically: Your little dudes have to climb up the giants and attack them in the face. (And all things can only attack their faces.)

There's other neat touches, such as the basic "easy" spell you have is actually a gust of wind that physically lifts things (not giants) into the air; it's sadly not super-useful, but kind of neat nonetheless.

This is a game I really enjoy aspects of, and I really like, but there's a problem beyond some minor lack of polish:

It escalates a bit too quickly.

The first two screenshots are from the first stage, and this one is from the second. And the next screenshot is also from the second.

And the giants depicted within these two screenshots are different individuals.

That's right: The second stage has three giants. And it gets worse quickly.

This game is frickin' hard, with a much sharper and harsher difficulty curve than Kingdom Rush (which itself is notably nastier than Incursion), and that's a shame, because it's charming and has interesting ideas.

Even with advice I've seen, such as not investing anything in archery towers (which are fairly blatantly not that useful), I haven't beat the third stage, and I'm pretty sure that I only beat the second by luck the first time, because I'm having trouble replicating that success.

It really is a shame, because this game ought to be fun. If you can put up with the difficulty level, I could recommend it.

-Signing off.

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