As a tower defense fan, but not necessarily a person who goes out of their way looking for a specific game, I was rather surprised when I stumbled across DG2. Having said that, I'm glad I have. This review is taking a look at the game as it is, since I hadn't heard of Defense Grid until now and I have spent approximately 40 minutes in game at the time of writing.
Here are a few things I picked up on which I are of reasonable quality for tower defense games:
- Pathing. Yes I know that most tower defense games include pathing for strategy but this always ticks a huge box for me. Something else which was a pleasant surprise was that one of the beta levels initially started with a smaller map and it grew. I'm not sure whether or not this is new but it certainly changed the way I could think (as the initial area was tiny).
- Towers. Look, with tower defense games you're always going to be seeing the same things, but that's okay. There's always going to be how each game balances towers in terms of cost and effectiveness. I like the towers presented in DG2, however I do believe they seem a little bit stale in regards to how similar they all appear.
- Buff towers (I already forgot what they're called so I'm going to call them this). I'm sure most/all tower defense games have a tower that perform some sort of powerup to towers around it, but the way DG2 does this actually adds yet more strategy. The way DG2 does it, is that your buff tower is the cheapest tower you can build. Why might you ask? Well that's because initially it acts as an obstructor, something that can help you build your path. After you have enough resource for the tower you want to powerup, you place it on top of the buff tower and you can pay an extra 200 resource to improve the tower that's on top. Personally speaking, it's a nice touch and allows you to build more natural paths, rather than a cluster of towers next to eachother.
- Health (Cores). Nice touch with how the enemies have to take all your cores, however the fact they also have to walk back makes this relatively easy (at least on story/open/normal. I haven't had time to look at other modes yet which I'm sure are going to be a blast. Then again this is probably just me nitpicking at stuff I haven't had a proper look at), but I digress. I like how different enemies can carry a certain amount of cores (although so far without paying too much attention only the big guys carry more than 1). I certainly think this is an interesting thing and hopefully there's the possibility of an enemy that can carry a lot of cores!
- Enemies. I thought the enemies at the start were fairly standard (fast enemies, grouped enemies, large/slow/painintheass), however upon right clicking upon one (that's how you view their stats) I noticed the abstract text went more into detail about their movement, with one type of enemy being slower around corners. I found this interesting because again it makes you think about optimal pathing.
So my conclusion is this. It's a great game for what's already available and it has the potential to be something amazing for the tower defense genre. Whilst graphics aren't necessarily important for tower defense games, DG2 looks pretty, although I do wish it had anti-aliasing support. For a beta it works well, and if you go in expecting something more polished than a beta release, then you'll be disappointed, however if you can look past that and see the potential then this one is certainly a keeper and one you'll enjoy when the full release comes around.