Hydraulic Empire is a Tower Defense game with RPG elements focusing on strategy, interactions between mobs, and persistent upgrades. Hydraulic empire is a must have for any true Tower Defense fan, and for those that are not it is a gateway into the tower defense genre.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (47 reviews) - 59% of the 47 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jul 31, 2015

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About This Game

"Hydraulic Empire looks to be that entry into the genre that I have been waiting for." - indiegames.com

What is it?

Hydraulic Empire is a Tower Defense game with RPG elements focusing on strategy, interactions between mobs, and persistent upgrades. What we are doing with Hydraulic Empire is taking the best of what we have experience over the years, and then we are adding elements that are unique.

How much Content is there?

We have over 20 levels (21 at launch and we will continue to add more as time goes on), 10 mobs, 10 towers, a builder that levels as you play, and tons of mob interactions. All in all at launch there is about 15 hours of gameplay.

Whats Different about our TD?

Tower Defenses are not new, and they are not evolving much anymore. We aim to change that by adding in a variety of unique mob interactions. We are also adding in tons of RPG elements and we have a hero/builder that will allow you to take part in more of the battle.

Mob interactions are our major innovation. Where as they are not 100% new to the tower defense genre, they are typically simple or not very interesting. We have taken this to the next level, and centered our game squarely around them. Mob interactions will take place all over a level, and will change where and how you choose to build in a level. The interactions vary greatly based on which mob die in which order. This aspect of the game has given the game almost endless replay ability. Most of our mobs will interact with at least 2 or 3 other mobs. Some interactions open up new interactions, and others will lock out some interactions.

A Taste of the Story

"Peace had been a dream, and the light of its hope has been overshadowed by a new enemy. My own people have turned on me. For what reason, I do not yet know. But there is no option but to fight, if for nothing else but the undying dream of peace at least. I am the First Lieutenant General of the Great Mech Army, but you may call me the Keeper, for I protect the dreams of many. And I call to you for aid. The mobs close in, thirsty for the land we won through fearsome attrition. And I am the only one who now stands in their way."

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Atom Z3740D
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel Integrated HD4000
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 450 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Integrated Card
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 8.1 or above
    • Processor: Intel i5 2600k
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD 6850 or above
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 450 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Integrated Card
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mixed (47 reviews)
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41 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
34 of 38 people (89%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
22.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2015
Update: A developer responded to my review and updated the game based on the feedback. I have not had time to play through it again, but I appreciate their effort. If you read the original review below and are on the fence about Hydraulic Empire, you might consider giving it a chance. My intention was not to be the bad review that killed their business; I was genuinely frustrated at the time. I don't know if it's better, but they seem to be honestly trying, which is commendable. Original review follows:


Well, I just uninstalled this one, having decided it was no longer worth the effort. Another good example of a game with an interesting concept but poor execution. Also, a good example of why you should always check the global achievement stats: less than 1.5% of people who own this game even finished it.

I am starting to get the impression that most reviewers just sample games and base their reviews on a fun initial impression, imagining the possibilities - they do not complete the games and they do not have a complete picture of what they are talking about. Would you trust someone who read a book halfway through and just told you their general impressions? Many games just end up becoming repetitive and run out of ideas about halfway through. At that point you get the sense the developers are working to fill time and hard drive space. Guess which type of game Hydraulic Empire is.

That's right! Hydraulic Empire is a tower defense game but it's also a puzzle game in that many of the levels are only completeable if you build out a path the correct way. No amount of upgrading or leveling towers will save you if you have not made the path correctly. So although it may seem like you have a lot of options to play with, there is usually one strategy you must take to beat certain levels. By far the easier levels are those in which you don't have to think too much about your path building. Some may call it poor game design, others may call it having nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.

You can build upgrades for both your overall game and for individual towers - the difference being that the individual tower upgrades give higher stat bonuses, that is, they give not completely useless stat bonuses. This is all done on two grids (one for overall, one for towers) and so there are a limited number of slots for each upgrade. The overall upgrades are generally so weak that you would need to create 3 - 6 fully upgraded attack (or speed or range or whatever) upgrades to see a noticeable difference.

So for about halfway through the game as you are collecting gems (cogs?) to be able to buy these upgrades you get the impression that the upgrades aren't really doing much, and by the end of the game you simply think about how much worse you would be losing had you not had a fully upgraded grid. This game plays that much with the margins of those power ups and will not let you expand once you fill up your grid that for some there will most likely be no way to complete the game. After playing through what I presumed was the last level on Normal difficulty something like 20 times, I decided I was one of those people because there are other things to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Oh you also have a robot guy with special abilities, who shoots at enemies, and can power up your towers. He too has a max level cap that seems frustratingly low (25) at the end of the game. Why not give the option for a player who is having difficulty completing the game grind his way through so he can feel like all those little doggie hoops he was jumping through were not for naught? No, the developers decided that the last hoop would be a ring of fire and no matter how many times you try to leap through it your fur and skin will become singed and burned off in small bits every time until you have neither hair nor patience left.
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23 of 32 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
81.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 7, 2015
Hydraulic Empire is a very exciting tower defense game with tons of cool features. It takes the standard tower defense genre and adds very interesting ideas into the mix.

You control the main hero of the game with the ability to build towers, auto attack enemies as well as use special abilities such as "Snipe" or "Acid Rain". Between these mentioned capabilities the user interaction within the gameplay is fantastic. On different levels you can choose to build elaborate mazes and focus on your towers handling the enemies or you can focus on your character and isolate deadly enemies with your special abilities.

In addition there are several persistent upgrade systems within Hydraulic Empire. You can upgrade your character using the talent tree in order to increase the damage of your abilities or your mana regeneration for example. Additionally you can use the factory to upgrade your favorite towers to make them even stronger with the ability to increase damage and attack speed as well as many other upgrades.

Hydraulic Empire very successfully adds a creative twist to the Tower Defense genre and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting Tower Defense game!
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14 of 19 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
16.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 7, 2015
The biggest complaint I have had with tower defense games in general is that once you place your towers all you really do is sit and watch, but with Hydraulic Empire you never stop issuing commands, whether it is actually building/upgrading towers, trying to have your hero use his abilities, or even just making sure he in a good position for attacking and building the next tower you already have planned out. I also LOVE that there are three ways to essentially level up your hero and towers. There is a talent tree, factory, and city. Not sure exactly how the city is going to work yet as it is still a WIP, but the telent tree is something I love! and the factory is something I have NEVER seen anything like in a tower defense or really almost any game of any genra before. you place machines to process the parts of your towers in the factory that then affect the tower's stats when you build them in a level. So I can process a gatling gun's parts to hit harder, have more range, armor pierce, or even cost less to build! You can upgrade as many towers as you want, but the factory has limited space so you can make your favorite tower really great or distribute the upgrades between several towers. More replayability than any tower defense I have ever seen before.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 12
I love Tower Defense games, I own and have played dozens of them on PC/XBLA/iPad etc.

I want to like this game but it is just not very good in its current state.

It lacks a lot of (basic) features

- Custom keybinds
- Full screen windowed
- Sound off by loss of focus
- 16:10 support

Then the HUD is just lackluster, the upgrade menu's provide little information. Yes you can figure it out easily but you shouldn't have too. It just shows how much polish (or lack thereoff) this game has gotten.

And on top of that I've had several times that the mission just restarted out of nowhere after alt tabbing.
Posted feedback on the forums but no reply still so I'm posting this review and I'm asking for a refund. Even with 75% discount I don't think this game deserves to be rewarded with my money.
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11 of 16 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
7.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 11, 2015
Early Access Review - Will update as more features are added.

An absolute must buy for TD fans.
Even if you not that in TD this is still worth a look.

I did a first impressions / early access review video.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=479836216

Hydraulic Empire is a fantastic TD game.
It uses some mechanics seen in other TD games. It also add some new mechanics and systems that make this an already really well round, fun and engaging TD.

+ Mob Interactions that I have not seen in previous TD's. It will keep you on your toes.
+ Great Map/Level design which makes you want to replay and try a diff set of towers/maze route.
+ RPG elements which reward replays of earlier missions without feeling like a grind.
+ Hero/Builder character keeps the gameplay engaging. No sit back and watch the towers kill mobs here.
+ Perk Tree for the Hero Builder.
+ A fresh unique take on persistent upgrades for towers.

- A little rough around the edges.
- Still more features to be added. (not neccisdarily a - but needs mentioning for those that want a complete game.
- A little tough to begin with.

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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
34.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 28, 2015
I've been playing Tower Defense Games for awhile and I agree with a couple reviews down there in saying that Hydraulic Empire brings a new style of TD. At the hard levels which I elected to play, it's absolutely critical that you micromanage your builder, towers, scrap, etc. For players that want the TD with RPG feel, this is it. There are skill trees for you builder, upgrades for towers, and just a unique way to build and maze.

One of the harder things in this game is that there's a good amount of problem solving. There are tool tips for the new items and towers you unlock but there are a good amount of features where clicking will help (leaving this vague so to keep the excitement haha).

Overall, my ratings look something like:
Design: 7/10
Gameplay: Moderate-Moderately Difficult

If you're looking for something new, definitely try this game out! You won't be disapponted!
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 8, 2015
One of the few early access games that are actually early access and still pretty deep in development. If this looks fun at all, I can tell you that it is even more fun than it looks by far.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
Recommended
29.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 26, 2015
Enjoying it's similarity to Kingdom Rush in the use of hero unit with special abilities and for the large mobs constantly attacking. My only confusion is with multiple units appearing in the same space (not riding but passing) making it difficult to identify and target individual units. However if you forced them to march in single file (like Super Monday Night Combat) then they couldn't overtake (or get overtaken) and get into a position to ride faster units and larger units.
I realize it's still a work in progress and appreciate the attention the developers are giving to fixing bugs that crash and balancing the game play. This game with provide you with fun casual play AND a real challenge if you want it to.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 9
It's pretty good for a tower defense game. Got some interesting tactics, and even some metagame that can help support your chosen playstyle, though not a game-breaker if you chose wrong, which is nice.

My biggest comlpaint is that it has performance issues, probably a leak, because restarting the game fixes it. After playing for a while straight, the game starts lagging badly and becomes not fun. Hope they fix that one.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2015
The sound effects and music glitch, high scores are not saved.
Feels unfinished like a beta version.

Graphics are fine, music is great.
Looks like it has all it needs to be a great addition to the genre
but the above mentioned breaks it for me.
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Recently Posted
SickR[A]men
10.5 hrs
Posted: August 25
Competent but Underpolished

Hydraulic Empire is a good tower defense game, and it's also a big mess.

It's hard to get beyond the first bad impression. The presentation is terrible. Lack of Menus, Lack of tutorials, Royalty free Elevator Music, Poor Graphics, everything has "Mobile port" written all over.

And that said, if you manage to get beyond your initial reaction and start playing, you will notice it's actually a very competent hex tile based tower defense game.

The gameplay is spot on. There is no major innovation in the system and the stages and enemies are just varied enough, but the mechanics are solid and the challenge level is just about right.

Be warned that there is a serious difficulty spike for the last few missions, but it's not impossible. To be frank I found the balance perfect. You will not succeed if you try the same things over and over again and just sit back and grind, like a lot of other tower defense game out there.
Hydraulic Empire encourages trying different tactics out after you fail.

But you must get past your first impression. Boy this game is shoddy! The controls can get fiddly when the map is cluttered, and so can finding your hero be. There are even some upgrade menus that are never explained, you just find them by clicking around random stuff and wonder what in the hell you've just opened and what it does.

If you can live with these issues, and know your way around TD games, you won't be dissapointed.

Oh, by the way, I cannot quit the game, only way is to shut it via target manager every time...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Red Eye Ragnarok
0.1 hrs
Posted: August 19
I picked the game up with a heavy discount, so it was at the price of a bag of crisps.

I'd rather have the bag of crisps than this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ApplePen
22.8 hrs
Posted: July 8
A good strategy tower defense game. With variety of weapon/tower to choose

PROS
-decent graphic
-simple UI
-short instruction but helpful

CONS
-text font too small if playing in windowed at 1080p desktop
-lacking level of upgrades. Up to level 3 per upgrade

Buy it on steam sale to save your money. Recommended game but might not worth your money at full price
Helpful? Yes No Funny
RakWar
40.7 hrs
Posted: July 3
Game is very unbalanced, Easiest mode is extremely difficult (either that or the mode settings are not working). Been playing TD's for many years and this is the toughest easiest mode i have encountered overall. Works find in full screen..saw one reviewer beatching that it did not. Can't close dialogue boxes untill you do EXACTLY what they want. Annoying music has no seperate volume control. Can;t say about bugs or crashes as i am still only 8 campaigns into it

I would wait to buy it till they give it some more polish
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Isher
2.4 hrs
Posted: February 28
I have to keep this relevant, constructive, and polite...

Umm...

Relevant! Do not buy this game!
Constructive... I'll save you money, and time, by telling you not to buy this game!
Polite... I won't... say... what I REALLY think about this game!

Please don't buy it!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
zastroph
0.6 hrs
Posted: February 26
Idiot developpers, place stupid text boxes on the screen with no way to close them and not way to contine past this point of the game with out closing them! The main problem here, seems to be that the game is inside a window, and there is no option to go to full screen, so you are stuck with where ever these text boxes open, even if that means that they open right over the top of the area of the screen that you need to interact with. In other words, it tells you to build a tower, but this is impossible because their stupid text box is blocking you from building the tower!

Stupid garbage game!

Why is it stupid garbage?

Because on the very first map, simply because, none of the enemy got to the target, but I was still defeated!

There is no point in playing garbage that you can not win!
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SWCarter
10.3 hrs
Posted: February 4
Hydraulic Empire is a tower defense game with enough new wrinkles to it to make it worthwhile to play, especially at its low price.

There are a dozen towers in the game, including a mud slinger (to slow down enemies), a bomber, a tesla tower, a gattling gun, a netter (to knock down flying enemies), and more. However, you can only take five of these towers with you into a level.

The enemies are fun. They're robots, and while most just simply try to make their way to the exit, others spawn more robots, or repair destroyed robots (so they get back up and start heading for the exit again), or carry smaller robots on their back, or disable your towers, or more.

There are 21 levels. Each level is made up of a hex grid, with start and end points, and possibly some rally points that the enemies also have to visit. Enemies travel on and you build on the hexes, and since enemies can't travel through most of your towers, you can create a circuitous path for them to follow. If you've played Defense Grid (which I'd recommend over this), then it's the same sort of idea.

Each time you complete a level (even if you lose), you earn cogs, which you can use to upgrade your towers. You can grind cogs if you want, or try out extra difficulty settings for extra cogs, but it's not really necessary. I completed the campaign only repeating a few levels.

You can upgrade your towers, both inside and outside the levels. The outside upgrading is sort of confusing, and it isn't explained well in the tutorial. On the "factory" screen (where you upgrade individual towers), you get 14 hexes. On one hex you have to place a tower, but then around it you can place upgrades. That means you can't upgrade all of the towers. You can only pick out like four and give them 2-3 upgrades each.

You build towers using your Keeper. You have to move your Keeper to the hex where you want to build a tower, which can get tricky because your Keeper can also damage enemies and improve the capabilities of nearby towers, so there are usually 2-3 places where you'd like him to be at once. Along with cogs, after each level your Keeper also earns some experience, which leads to levels and upgrade points. So you can improve your Keeper as well as the towers.

The only problem I had with the game is that it stopped recording my progress. It unlocked new levels properly, so I was able to complete the campaign, but it stopped saving my scores, which means it currently doesn't think I've completed most of the levels (and the levels where it did record a score, it recorded the wrong score). So it's not giving me credit for completing the campaign, which is annoying.

But overall, Hydraulic Empire is fun enough. I got it for $2, and it was more than worthwhile at that price.
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Rhev
0.9 hrs
Posted: February 3
There really needs to be a 'meh' option for games like this.

Look, this game is good. It's not great, but it's good. It handles everything you want in a tower defense well. I played for about an hour so far and I just came across with a great feeling of 'it's all right' at the end of it. All the classic tower tropes you'd expect are there. Starting chain gun tower (arrow tower) that can hit land or air and fires fast but weak attacks. The next upgrade is your bomb tower which has land only but does splash damage. Then you get the flak cannon, which fires fast, but can only attack air....

Gee I wonder what is coming next, maybe a slow firing single target tower? YEUP, called that one before I saw it.

Ok, so the towers are uninspired, but they work. How about the special abilities your commander can use? Lets see... acid rain in a hex for DoT damage, a bomb for AE damage, a slow, a sniper shot.... *YAWN* Again, they work for the game, but... just... meh.

Well maybe this fancy upgrade system....

Pretty underwhelming, what you'd expect, increase damage, range, or speed of towers. Upgrade your commander abilities. I feel like I've done this before.

Now the graphics... well... they aren't bad, but they just feel... very... dated. They would have been mind blowing ten years ago, and they look fine for 2016, but that's it, just fine.

Now the one thing I did have a problem with was the sound. The sound REALLY begins to grate on your nerves very quickly. The sound of my minigun towers seemed to drill into my very brain and cause my spine to itch. I couldn't turn the sound down quickly enough after only a few minutes of playing. The music is also pretty lack luster.

Look, overall, if you want a tower defense game to play, and this is on sale, go ahead and grab it. It's not BAD.... it's just not really that good either. It's a standard TD, executed well, that unfortunately feels like it's about 7-10 years too late to the party.
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Snow
1.2 hrs
Posted: February 2
This game is a joke. And not funy one at all. Here are some "awesome peerks"

1.Ubgrades. Sounds fun at first but is a 1% of damage even worth mentioning? Sure global ubgrades affect all towers but 1%? Seriously? If you go into details you will see "uber skills" wich gives you below 1% improvement. Great. After such ovepowered ubgrade i feel like ive done some progress. Althou the only one visible progress is to loose the currency for ubgrades.


2. Range. Range is a cool factor in Tower defence games. You can plan according to range to cover proper area. So do you want to know the range of your towe BEFORE you place it? Or the effect of ubgrade? Nah. Who cares. Why bother with showing the covering field of fire before placing it? You need to place it blindly nad hope you did the right thing. Besides, if you mess up you still can restart and place the tower on different place. Same goes for the rest of ubgrades. You see the result only AFTER you bought the ubgrade. Really great. Awesome stuff.

3. Level completions. If you want to play game and see your progress on different difficulties, this game is not for you. Why? Example: i've started the very first map (it was on normal). Ok. My progres wass displayes. I repeated it in easy, just to have it completed. And guess what. After completed on easy game says not completed. Nah. Who cares about progress record right? But wait there is even better. There is a map i did not even started. And i already got some points earned in it.

After fiev minutes of play i must say that this game is garbage. Dont bother at all unless you dont mind such factor as:
*pasive ubgrades that do almost nothing
*no info about ubgrades effect/ tower range BEFORE you actually build it.
*messed up game progress record
*probably much more *unique perks* that are as great as previous ones.

If you want spend 2,5 euro (the promotional price), better toss it from the window. The gain will be the same, but you will save yourself the disapointment.
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