Sanctum 2 brings first-person shooter action and tower defense together again.

First-person shooters are cool. Tower defense games are cool. It only makes sense, then, that putting them together will result in coolness squared, which is what Coffee Stain Studio is aiming for with Sanctum 2.

Like its predecessor, Sanctum 2 will require players to build defensive towers to fend off wave after wave of invading aliens, but unlike most tower defense games you’ll have to do more than maintain the lines if you want to survive: Once the shooting begins, you’ll leap into the action to take care of things personally, wielding a wide array of weapons against the enemy forces from a first-person perspective.

Sanctum 2 will see three new characters join Skye Autumn, the hero of the original game, in fending off the aliens, each with unique weapons and abilities. Haigen Hawkens is a shotgun-packing engineer who’s best when he’s up close and personal, Sweet Autumn is a demolitions specialist with an affinity for big explosions and SiMo is a synthetic marksman who deals massive damage at long range. Players can make their stand as any of the four characters, or join together for intense cooperative multiplayer action.

The tower defenses feature updated versions of several Sanctum favorites including the Lightning and Gatling towers, along with a pile of new ideas like the Focus Laser, the Amp Spire and the Cannon Tower. The tower upgrade system has been changed as well to allow resources to be “pooled,” so players who don’t have sufficient resources to fully upgrade a tower may take advantage of a partial upgrade instead.

Sanctum 2

Enemies, meanwhile, will present more of a threat to the player than in the first game. Passive enemies will continue to charge toward the base core at any cost, but aggressive enemies will react to attacks and may go after the player instead if they’re angered. Sanctum 2 will also boast a plot that unfolds through a series of comic-book-style strips featuring all the main characters.

Sanctum 2 promises a wide range of other new features and improvements, including better transitions between maps, an overhauled Survival mode, more versatile weapons and vastly upgraded sound and music. The gameplay trailer and screen shots revealed last week look great, too. The game is expected to be released this spring – and I think it’s definitely one that’s worth keeping an eye on.