Tower Wars is a title that launched pretty successfully, and got the thumbs up from players and critics. Unfortunately, due to awful handling of multiplayer rankings and accounts, unwarranted bans and poor tutorial elements, this one started rolling down the ratings hill shortly after release, and has come to rest somewhere near the bottom.
Most of the problems of this game stem from handling of multiplayer, and while there are strong reasons not to buy it, there is also a fantastic hex-based strategic tower defence game here for the right players.
Tower Wars has a great art style and hero gimmicks, and the hex based placement atop towering maps works really well visually. The gameplay is also new and unique enough for the genre that it does stand out a little. Most importantly, the gameplay is genuinely fun and has some strategic elements, resource management, and more. There are plenty of things to think and worry about while playing each game.
* Detailed statistics, unit and damage reports at the end of the match help you understand how you're playing
* Two types of economy and battle mechanics mean that balancing elements of your battlefield is key, and changes from match to match
The vast majority of Tower Wars' problems stem from crappy handling of multiplayer. At the time of review, multiplayer is all but dead unless you play Ranked matches, and many players simply don't care about the ladder.
The landscape of multiplayer on the Ranked system is frankly a horrible mess. The nature of games means that your first few moves in a multiplayer game can determine whether you'll win or lose. In games like Starcraft, for example, you can make a decisive early move, but the seasoned enemy can overcome it with their skill. In Tower Wars this isn't the case, and you can sometimes tell you've lost a game after just a handful of moves.
Couple that with the fact that there are people abusing the ranking system by intentionally losing matches and reducing their ranking, just to play against easier opponents, for whatever reason, and you, as a new player, will encounter basically 2 types of matches:
* Your opponent is drastically better than you and will stomp you in the first few moves
* Your opponent is drastically better than you but is intentionally losing their ranking score, so will let you kill them within the first few moves
This makes the game all but pointless in multiplayer for most, and is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The only realistic approach, for many, is finding friends or groups who still play this game, but due to the problems mentioned above, those are now very rare.
As for single player, it has problems too:
* There's no compelling reason to keep playing single-player other than the gameplay. If you don't enjoy playing games for their own sake, there's no new units, new abilities or interesting changes to keep you playing other than a different map and a harder difficulty.
* The A.I. difficulty is extremely hard in the final single-player levels, and may be too much even for a committed player
Priced at just £5.59/7.99€/$7.99, Tower Wars clocks in at around 3-4 hours gameplay in the single-player campaign, and would be really good value for money if there were an active multiplayer. Unfortunately the public multiplayer is all but a waste of time unless you are a glutton for punishment, or you can find people to play with.
* There are some fantastic multiplayer guides and tutorials from the community which may make uneven multiplayer worth suffering through for some
* Tower Wars has Steam Workshop support
, but is almost empty and can be ignored, but does offer a couple extra maps for those inclined