Ever wanted to play a game where you pretend to be a sys admin while under the guise of a tower-defense (TD) game? The answer to this is of course, no. Regardless, System Protocol One exists and it succeeds in being a unique and interesting TD game, while delivering a theme that those of the IT world will be able to enjoy.
The gameplay is simple enough, drop programs (towers) onto a grid, viruses (creeps) will run through the grid and your programs will attack the viruses hopefully killing them before they reach the exit. Standard towers and creeps with their strengths and weaknesses that you'll have to be constantly aware of. Creep waves and maze-building; all the standard TD boxes ticked.
System Protocol One's twist on the genre is that the maps are actually 3D objects that will require you to spin around on the different axises (axii, axisii?) so that you can fully understand the map. The simple levels will have you on a flat playing field. But quickly you'll start encountering cubes, tubes, and ribbons. Building a maze on a 3D object is a great mental exercise that will force you to think in directions you normally would not have to worry about in a TD.
Another genius gameplay feature that I haven't seen done elsewhere is how the game allows you to speed up the waves. Most TDs just give you a 'go faster' button which let you skip the downtime. In System Protocol One, the 'go faster' will actually advance the next wave onto the board, regardless of how far you are into the previous wave. So now you have 2 waves running through the level at the same time. Think you can handle 3 waves at the same time? Then push that advance wave button again.
And what's best is that the game encourages this. The game looks you square in the face and goes "I bet you a score multiplier that your maze won't take another wave". Clicking the advance button will greatly increase your score. And the earlier you do it, the bigger the reward. They've taken the fast-forward button and turned it into a critical risk-reward system that will be the difference between a leaderboard-topping score and a mediocre one. This feature alone makes System Protocol One stand up amongst the crowd.
Seriously, this game should be in every TD-lover's collection.
Well, the graphics and music might be a deterent for some people. The graphics are (purposely but nevertheless) simple and the 8-bit tunes - while catchy - become quickly repetitive. And I'm not really sure how the computer-programming backdrop for the game would appeal to non-developers. This is a theme that you're going to love or hate, which is a shame as some people will be missing out on some gold gameplay because of this.
So, System Protocol One. I cannot recommend this enough. It's strange how this title seemed to slip through the cracks unnoticed by the world at large. So please, get a copy of the game, turn up the chiptunes, start plonking down those pieces, and then hit that advance wave button. Go on. I'm sure your maze can handle it.