by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Tower defense done differently
It’s not often that a software developer turns its eyes on gaming but PC benchmark software creators Futuremark did just that. Admittedly, their benchmarking software 3DMark has produced some amazing graphic demos in the past so the leap to gaming wasn’t as big as one might thing. Future Mark Games Studio’s first effort – Shattered Horizon - was well received by gamers and praised for innovating the First Person Shooter genre by adding ‘weightlessness’ as a gameplay mechanic.
Enter Unstoppable Gorg, a tower defense eager to be different and perfectly suited for a touch-screen tablet, though playable on PC as well. Are you a bit confused? I know I was. During our Gamescom interview, my first question to Futuremark was “How did you go from 3D benchmarking software, to a hardcore First Person Shooter, to a casual tower defense game?” Their answer was simply “We like to look at existing genres and see how we can change and innovate them. For Unstoppable Gorg for instance, that meant removing the standard grid you see in any tower defense game and replacing it with a different mechanic as well as allowing players more flexibility in their placement of towers.”
Bring ‘m on!
At that point, a tablet was shoved in my direction so that I could see these innovations for myself. A good thing, because I was getting confused again. Playing the game made everything clear. Unstoppable Gorg takes place in Earth’s orbit. Mankind has set up a base in space and from there orchestrates the defense against wave upon wave of Gorg attempting to invade the planet. The map that I played showed Earth’s defensive station in the dead center with several neon-colored flight paths to guide Gorg vessels to their destination, or rather, their impending doom if I had anything to say about it. Around the station, two wide circles with a number of dots connected to them represented the locations where I could place my defenses. Initially, this felt more restrictive instead of more flexible, until I figured out that you can rotate the circles. You can’t rotate them 360 degrees but it’s enough to move your defenses to where they are needed most. If this sounds too easy, it’s not as the distance between the dots is fixed and you can’t just pile up all your defenses in the same place.
As wave upon wave of Gorg threw themselves at my defenses, it struck me that Unstoppable Gorg could be quite the hit on Facebook. While the game is slated for a PC, iOS and Xbox release, Facebook is being considered but they still need to work out a viable business model. I’m sure that of the game is a hit, it will make it though, it’s easy enough to see micro-payments for special towers or additional positions for defenses make this a viable Facebook offering.
Unstoppable Gorg keeps the ideas and goals of traditional tower defense games alive, but adds unusual gameplay mechanics that make it feel different. With its charming 1950’s “The Aliens Are Coming” theme, it ends up sitting somewhere between a hardcore and a casual game. As such I’m sure it will do well on touch screen devices and that it will find its way to mouse-obsessed players such as myself as well.