by Ryan Cope
previewed on PC
Just Another Tower
Typical Tower Defence games growing tiresome? Bored of your basic RTS? Want something new with a magical kick that still involves zombies? Well we might just have something for you. Tower Defence games can be thoroughly addictive to some. At times you can even forget your own name as you get so engrossed with growing an ever fearsome force to protect whatever sacred object/place/person the game has entrusted you with. But for some, the task of holding back swarms of enemies is not enough, there needs to be more of a strategic drive Ė Defenders of Ardania will give you just that.
A World Of Magical Wonder
For those familiar with the Majesty series (the Fantasy Kingdom Sim) then the name Ardania will ring a bell. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Ardania is the land in which the Majesty series takes place and is also the setting for Defenders of Ardania. Ardania is a land filled with forests, green fields, jungles, deserts as well as mountains and is inhabited by humans, elves, zombies and other vicious creatures.
In Defenders of Ardania, players will take control of one of three factions in order to defend their keep/base. The Civilised Races consist of humans, elves and dwarves; while the Underworld faction controls swarms of the undead. Lastly there is the Monster faction, but little is known about it other than that the players will control...monsters.
The Two Towers
Defenders of Ardania is not your average Tower Defence game. It keeps all the normal functions a fan would expect but adds in a light RTS quality. The twist in the gameplay is that players will not only be on the defensive, but they can also go on the offensive in order to destroy an enemyís towers and keep. Other games have provided a similar feature, but not to the extent where a player can switch between sides during a match. Players must balance defence, offense, production and upgrades all at the same time, making this a much more challenging and stimulating game than others in the genre.
An average level will consist of two teams facing off against each other with the goal to destroy the otherís keep/base. Both bases are placed at the far end of a map that comes layered with a grid. The grid shows the path that each teamís units must walk through in order to reach the other end of the map. Pllayers can place their defences to hold off the enemy along the grid. Each environment is interactive and has aspects that can affect the gameplay. For example, in one level there are two mine entrances that can be used to send troops through to bypass areas of defence. Players can choose to use this to their advantage or destroy them in order to prevent the enemy using them to their advantage.
Power To The Tower
Each tower has its own purpose. Some are used to slow enemies down, like placing a wall in their path that they need to destroy before continuing. Others will give players protection over their own towers and troops. Most will be equipped with catapults, basilisks and other sorts of war weapons that can be used to destroy enemy troops as they pass by. In total, there are 24 unique towers that can be upgraded to increase their effectiveness.
Aside from building towers to defend against attacking soldiers, players can also send out troops of their own from their keep. The variation of 24 units vary in size, strength, speed and abilities; but each one serves a different purpose and it is their overall job to destroy the enemyís towers and keep. If your troops come into contact with the enemy they do not fight each other, rather just walk on by. Players must use a mixture of strategies, mainly juggling troops to attack towers while building their own towers to defend against the enemy barrage. As the level progresses flying units will be added into the fray, making a wise strategy a necessity to deal with the added difficulty this element brings.
In addition to units and towers, players will have command of powerful magic spells to throw into the mix. After all, what would a magical game be without a bit of magic? Spells can be used offensively or defensively and can be upgraded via research. There are a variety of spells available such as lightning bolts that can easily strike down enemy units or towers. Using a spell near or on your own units or towers will have no effect since there is no friendly fire. Players must be on the lookout though, as enemies will have their own set of spells too.
Wait For Them To Come To Us
As with most Tower Defence games and RTSí, there is a lot of emphasis on the multiplayer. There are three game modes where player have the choice to control defensive, offensive or both. With two to four players in one game there is the choice to face off against each other or an AI enemy. As if Defenders of Ardania wasnít shaking up the typical Tower Defence game enough, by adding multiplayer to it the possibilities are huge and should keep players entertained for hours. Overall, by combining Tower Defence with RTS, Defenders of Ardania looks to be one interesting take on the strategy game genre.