Maze Defense is an unpolished tower defense game you probably should avoid

Ahh, tower defense. It’s a tried and true genre that lets you interact with the game to set up your defences and then hit a switch to see what happens. You watch your towers go to work trying to stop bad guys from getting through, and when it’s over you repeat the process. When created well they can be very compelling, but when done poorly they’re just boring. Sadly, Maze Defense is the latter.

I’ve lost track of the amount of hours I’ve spent playing Fieldrunners on my iPod or PixelJunk Monsters on the PS3. I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time placing defenses and watching waves of enemies crash against them. I get enthralled by the call and response idea of the game; I set something up and you try and get through. So it was kind of a bummer to be so bored by Maze Defense.

Maze Defense

There is at least one that Maze Defense does really well. It introduces an interesting aspect where you can attack your friends bases to see what kind of fight they can put up. You can earn the ability to do this through “attack cards” that you can earn instead of upgrade money during the single-player portion. You can forgo the money needed to upgrade yourself for a round and gain a card you can use to attack one of your friends that are also playing the game.

The details of this are never really explained though. One time I went for the attack card but couldn’t attack my friends because they were all a lower level than me. While I guess I can keep that card for later it would’ve been nice to not have wasted it now. Since you’re only able to play a limited amount of times per day against the AI, wasting a round like that kind of sucks. Though that lack of disclosure doesn’t really surprise me as we move into what the game is doing wrong.

I’m not 100 percent sure this game is really “finished.” Every button I touch prompts a loading screen of some kind, which, while short, is constantly disconcerting. The user interface (UI) looks like it’s just using the Facebook style-set and feels rough around the edges. The UI that is in there is poorly constructed. I was confused about how to upgrade and pick different towers, and the “game speed” slider bar actually appears right over one of the enemy entrances on the battlefield, blocking the view.

Maze Defense

And then there’s the link that Maze Defense posts on your wall to tell people you’re playing. You know the one your friends can click to join in? Yeah, that doesn’t work. It’s symptomatic of a larger issue. The game just feels unpolished and unfinished. I woudn’t go out of my way to knock a game that has less than stellar sound, but Maze Defense doesn’t have any. I at least need to hear some guns firing.

One of the other issues I had was the size of the enemies, which are tiny. They’re so small I can’t even really tell you what they were. I think they’re bugs. Not that it matters, since it’s all abstract enough that I have no real sense of reason or place. Not that a tower defense game needs a deep plot, but without one you at least need interesting towers and enemies. Maze Defense has neither. This makes it hard to care about what’s going on.

The real problem here is that with other significantly better options like Warzone or Backyard Monsters already available, why would you choose to play Maze Defense over them? You wouldn’t and shouldn’t. It’s an unpolished, unfinished game in an overly crowded field. It’s a basic tower defense game with one new wrinkle, and put up against other similar games it just doesn’t measure up.