If only all wars were settled with 3v3 co-operative action!
Tower Wars manages to capture a particular essence of tower defence games that others in the genre so often fail to achieve – glorious, hectic panic. There’s never a moment in this game, even from the initial whistle blow, in which you’re not scrambling around trying to send off more troops, upgrade some towers, or hire more people for your mines.
And here’s the rub; the thing that makes Tower Wars really work: you’re doing all of this against fellow humans.
AI-controlled opponents are all well and good, but of course, they can’t experience and induce all of that panic. And in a genre all about tension, this can take the wind out of a game’s sails a little. After just one of Tower Wars’ 3v3 online matches, you’ll find it hard to go back to battling wits against a robot. The crux of Tower Wars is as follows: You’re looking to place down offensive towers along a path such that enemies coming from the opposing castle will walk past them and subsequently receive many arrows and cannon balls to the face, killing them before they reach your castle. However, at the same time you are also sending out your own soldiers to rush across the battlefield and destroy your opponent’s castle. Think of it as tower basketball, with both players needing a solid balance of both offensive and defensive strategies.
The grid-based map allows for herding the enemy along whatever path you choose. By placing towers in such a way that you create a long and winding path to your castle, the enemy will have to walk past many, many more towers, and you’ll have a far better chance of destroying them before they make it. Imagine a cross between Defense Grid and Rock of Ages, and you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect. Simply plonking down towers and sending out grunts isn’t enough however, and if you don’t upgrade everything possible then you’ll end up rather dead rather quickly. Towers and warriors can be upgraded using money and action points – the former of which comes from mines, while the latter are amassed by proactively from sending troops out.
In other words, you need to constantly have men slaving away in your mines and soldiers rushing out to their doom, and that’s on top of watching how the enemy is strategizing and making sure they don’t break through your defenses while your back is turned.This is what sets Tower Wars apart from other TD games – its passion for total mayhem. There’s never a dull moment and your mind has to be totally focused on the job at all times. If you let just one area of play slip, then everything else will go down the drain, no matter how much effort you’re putting into it.
Fortunately, there’s a lovely matchmaking system in place that pits you against online players that are around the same skill as you. It works incredibly well too, as I found all of my matches were relatively well paired while still forcing me to really work for the win. Online matches can be played 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3, although the latter two are where the game really shines. Players work together to build towers and send out units, and each has their own separate upgrade trees, meaning that if just one player isn’t being speedy and strategic enough, the whole team will go down. Working together to make sure this doesn’t happen is great fun, and piecing together tactics, such as having one player send out healer units while another sends out an army of brutes, is the key to victory.
While the multiplayer is fantastic fun, it’s a shame that it’s the only real content in the game. There’s a single player tower defence only option too, but it’s pretty rubbish and not worth bothering with. It feels like much of the effort to innovate was funnelled into the game’s banner feature, and topped off with someone else’s generic engine for the genre. Hopefully developer SuperVillain Games will rectify this and add more content, as right now it’s rather light and lacking.
And yet, here we are whole-heartedly recommending Tower Wars. That’s the power of online co-op multiplayer; especially a multiplayer mode whose action, concept, and execution is so wonderful. Grab a couple of friends, get this game downloaded, and lose many consecutive evenings to defending – and destroying – some towers!