by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Tower Defence games are fairly popular. Games like Plants vs. Zombies have bought Tower Defence games into the mainstream. They are normally simple to play, easy to understand and can be played in short bursts. I do like tower defence games, but mostly as a mobile gaming fix. They are perfect games to play during my daily commutes. When the PC version of OTTTD (also known as Over the Top Tower Defence) turned up at our office, I was somewhat intrigued as to what made it Ďover the topí.
The gameplay is fairly standard for a tower defence game... you build a range of towers to stop the invading horde of enemies from reaching your base. Money is awarded for killing the enemies in which you can use to build further towers, upgrade existing towers or repair damaged ones. The towers unfortunately can only be built on pre-determined sites. There are four different tower types , although each tower can be upgraded to various other towers, so that during the latter levels you have access to twelve types. Each of the towers has varying ranges, firing speed and reload times.
Heroes donít wear capes
Along with the mix come the three hero characters that can also take the field. There are actually seven heroes to choose from, although some are locked at the start of the game. Each of the heroes offers variation in play styles. The Engineer, for instance, focuses on repairing and strengthening towers, whilst the Assault class is a grunt who does his best work up close, using his powerful weapons to dispose of encroaching enemies. The Rocketeer on the other hand is better suited to attacking from a distance with his bazooka and ability to rain down rockets on unsuspecting foes. Part of the fun with OTTTD is working out which of the hero characters suits your game style and was is required for each of the levels.
After completing each mission, points are awarded to each of the three competing heroes. Score enough points, and the character will level up, granting three skill points. These skill points can then be spent on improving the sixteen skills available to each of the heroes. Most of the abilities are locked until the pre-requisite skill has been activated. All of the characters can learn passive skills that can upgrade their health bar, enable firing from a greater range or even have a quicker reload, but each of the different classes have their own four unique abilities that can be used in-game. Of these four they can only select two to use prior to a mission.
I did find however that since new characters are added gradually, I was often deciding to play with those heroes who had levelled up and gained use of more of their special abilities. As they had been much improved, I was loathed to give up on them in favour of a new, as yet untried, hero. I did have to use a couple of them at some points during the latter stages of the game, as one of my first choice squad died in battle. This locks the character out for a period of time and I was forced to select another hero.
Colourful, funny, easy to play
After you get past the game with three stars on each level, there's not much else to do