Orczz puts a fantasy spin on tower defense, but is hamstrung by some strange design choices

Orczz is a tower defense-style game played out on a grid. You’ll be defending your kingdom from invading orcs (or “Orczz”) who will attack along one of five rows. You’ll place units in those rows to stop the orcs from moving all the way across the screen and into your base. If all this sounds eerily similar to a horticulture-meets-undead-themed game you’ve played before, well… it’s because they play very similarly.

You’ll place units, manage resources and hire soldiers to come join you in battle, although you never directly control anything. In typical tower defense fashion, you simply put down your units and then see how they do against the attacking hordes. As time goes by you’ll unlock better units, and you’ll have to manage which units to bring into what fight and where best to place them (weaker ranged guys behind good bodyguards, for example).

Orczz

In all this standard tower defense on a grid gameplay, however, there are two glaring issues that pretty much manage to suck the fun out of the game.

The first issue concerns money. Every time you kill an orc they drop some money and clicking on that money puts it into your bank. You’ll use that money every round to “hire” units to take into battle with you. Want archers? $300 please. Then they’ll be available to you for the entire fight. The problem, is if you miss those coins or don’t grab enough, then you’ll be hamstrung on what units you can buy for the next fight. Just unlock a cool new unit type but don’t have enough to bring them? Tough.

The problem with this design choice, besides the fact that it hinders trying out different combinations since you don’t want to waste money on a gamble, is that you could find your game backed into a corner. More than once I found myself in a spot where I could only bring the super generic knights with me cause I didn’t have enough money for anything else. There’s nothing worse than looking at interesting units that you can’t use because you didn’t click enough coins during the fight.

The other issue is even more perplexing. Like in most tower defense games the units need to “charge” between placements, so they get doled out over time. As each picture fills in you can place the unit. Typically, that should mean that I can lay down some generic knights while waiting for my super knight or archers to charge up. But in this game, placing any unit starts the charge over for all of them. So it’s a constant waiting game, and there’s little use to lay down fodder when doing so keeps you from bringing out anything more powerful in a timely manner.

Orczz

Orczz was clearly inspired by PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but the real issue is that while Orczz is a fun little game on every comparable level, PvZ is a better game. By all means, check out the demo for Orczz if you’re curious about tower defense with a fantasy theme, but be prepared for some quirks along the way.