by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Neocore games made a living developing the Van Helsing games over the last few years, but here the company is diving headfirst into the tower defence / action RPG genre. Lining up alongside titles like Orcs Must Die, Dungeon Defenders and Sanctum, Deathtrap is a top down game where you are defending your base from waves of encroaching enemies with towers and abilities alike.
Your portal is the most important part of each map. The enemies want to attack it, and it’s up to you to stop that from happening. Blue lines on the ground indicate which direction your foes will be taking from the spawn point. Along these paths are certain locations where you can build traps in the path of the monsters, and other locations along the sides of the maps where more standard towers can be built.
Different types of locations can have different kinds of traps built on them. For example, a fiery tile can have either a Lava Grill or an Incinerator placed on them (these names are fairly self-explanatory I think). Reanimator pits have a chance to raise minions that die on the tile to fight for your side. With spear traps, the clue is in the name, but a personal favourite of mine was the Whirlblade Column. This is built in the middle of a path, and looks fairly innocuous until something approaches, at which point blades spring from every crevice and start spinning round. Not many enemies can get past that unscathed.
Towers are built to attack enemies from afar, with standard tower defence types such as shock towers and the like. Everything you build can be upgraded up to 9 times, buffing statistics like range, damage, recharge time and so on. These nine upgrades have three separate trees with three upgrades each. However you use the same resource to purchase upgrades and towers/ traps, so you will need to work out the best way to use the limited amount you get from killing monsters and finishing each wave.
But the towers and traps you build won’t be enough to defeat the hordes on their own. Thankfully you control a powerful sorceress. You click around to move her about the level in order to purchase structures, but she can also get involved in combat. Left and right click will send out various attacks, such as a freezing projectile which stops single enemies in their tracks, or an intense beam of energy which deals high amounts of damage.
It’s a perfect name for the game, but it also left me wondering how there hasn’t been a game called this before. Neocore has gotten lucky with that one, and the developer will be hoping to strike lucky again when Deathtrap eventually hits Steam.