You think Tower Defense games are all about building? You thought wrong. Sanctum is not your average Tower Defense title. When the havoc starts, you get to join the fray! As one of the world’s first First Person Shooter - Tower Defense games, Sanctum has taken the best of both worlds to deliver an epic, one-of-a-kind experience.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (14 reviews) - 71% of the 14 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (2,396 reviews) - 90% of the 2,396 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 15, 2011

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Buy Sanctum: Collection

Includes 4 items: Sanctum, Sanctum: Map Pack 1, Sanctum: Map Pack 2, Sanctum: Official Soundtrack


About This Game

You think Tower Defense games are all about building? You thought wrong. Sanctum is not your average Tower Defense title. When the havoc starts, you get to join the fray! As one of the world’s first First Person Shooter - Tower Defense games, Sanctum has taken the best of both worlds to deliver an epic, one-of-a-kind experience.

Key Features:

  • Don’t just build towers. Build mazes!
  • Your way or the highway? The Customization System lets you have it all!
  • 4-player co-op support; why double the trouble when you can quadruple it?
  • 87 Achievements
  • Hidden Secrets & Easter Eggs. Have meta with your metal!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP (SP3)
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz Dual Core Processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Free Space
    • Video Card: Shader Model 3, 256 MB VRAM
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible, 16-bit
    • OS: Windows Vista, 7 or 8
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz Quad Core Processor
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Free Space
    • Video Card: Shader Model 3, 512 MB VRAM
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible, 16-bit
    • OS: OS X 10.6.3
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz Dual Core Processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Free Space
    • Video Card: Open GL 3.3, Shader Model 3, 256 MB VRAM
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (14 reviews)
Very Positive (2,396 reviews)
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1,594 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
15.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
I can recommend this game, but just barely. If you have time to play either Sanctum or Sanctum 2, please opt for the second in the series. The real issue with the original Sanctum, in my view, is just that there are just too many variables. Sanctum is the free jazz of FPS tower defense, for my music fans out there. In the second game, your weapon stays the same, you can drop around 15 towers per map, and each tower can be upgraded 3 times. In Sanctum, you can upgrade your weapon up to 5 times, you can upgrade towers up to 5 times, and you can drop as many towers as you can afford. Secondly, the waves you fight each time you play a map are random. This led both me and my partner to fail maps repeatedly without really getting a feel for what our issues were. We completed all main game and DLC maps on normal, but had an extremely difficult time with a few on hard. An important aspect of any game is the sense of feedback the player is given. I feel that almost all of the changes made in the second game were positive. However, FPS tower defense is a unique and awesome genre, and the importance placed both on towers and the player's ability to place shots makes this series more engaging than typical tower defense.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 5
I have bought and played about 10 tower defense games on Steam that were on sale or discounted. This, by far, is the best one. It is multiple and can still make me want to pull my hair out.

I like the feel when my sniper rifle drops one of those dumb bat monsters from the sky. (9/10)
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3 of 27 people (11%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
eh. just get the second one.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
141 of 143 people (99%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
84.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2014
Personal rating: 8/10
DLC: Worth it. New, more challenging maps. A nice addition to a short core game.

What is Sanctum?
Sanctum is a completely different take on the "Tower Defense" genre, it mixes up First Person Shooter elements in it and it does it well.

About the gameplay:
Here's the catch: If you have your mind set on "I'll only upgrade Towers!" or "I'll just shoot everything!", you're in for an embarrassing defeat. You cannot take everything head on here, you need to balance resources to deal with everything coming towards you: enemies that comes in large quantities, tough ones and tricky ones.

Do you want to do the heavy lifting and shoot most of what's coming or use your towers while you kill whatever is left by the end? Or maybe you want to do both of these things? No problem, all three options are possible in this game.

One of Sanctum's most known aspects is the maze building, you've got room and resources to create your personal enemy slaughtering course, it's far from putting one block here and another over there. If you want to survive the toughest levels of Sanctum you'll need to smart up and create mazes that will force enemies to walk as much as they can.

Something that should be noted:
Unlike Sanctum 2, there is absolutely no grinding in Sanctum 1. You start with everything the game gives you and after a short, optional, Tutorial you're free to do whatever you feel like in the first map. Play and learn, no hand holding here aside from the absolutely necessary.

Tower Defense, because calling it "Resource Management" sounds like a boring discipline
Balancing resources here can be tough, they are rather scarce early on and woe betide the unprepared. Do you upgrade your towers or your guns? A difficult choice that can be the difference between victory or defeat.

Towers and Weapons can be upgraded up to Level 6, and while they seem extremely cheap at first don't go thinking you can leave a bunch of Level 1 towers scattered and expect them to do heavy damage; enemies gets progressively stronger and soon you'll realize even your Level 3 towers are hardly doing any significant damage. And the same will apply to your guns if you ignore them.

Upgrades will considerably power up your towers and guns, however they'll also become incredibly expensive and on shorter Campaign maps (with 20 or less waves), chances are, you won't be having lots of Level 6 towers even by the end of the map unless you focus more on them.

Sanctum: Not an easy game
If you are looking for a difficult game, Sanctum may be your cup of tea. The game is ruthless, but hardly unfair. It punishes poor planning and poor shooting accuracy and you'll probably be frustrated once you see that your carefully planned maze and towers did not work, but amazed when you beat that tough wave with your wits.

The greatest challenge at the start is to understand how to balance your resources between weapons and towers, and until you find your own balance point, you'll be hitting that "Load Checkpoint" button quite often.

The game is merciless and will not shy away from dropping tough enemies, although not without warning: the game provides a list for a number of incoming waves and what will be there.

However Sanctum fail in one crucial point: there is no indication on how resilient the enemies will be. In one wave you may face a single, but extremely resistant, enemy and at the other wave the same type of enemy in larger numbers, however with much less HP. This can and will catch you off guard and is one of the very few times the game will play "dirty".

For those wishing an even greater challenge there is the Insane difficulty with VERY resistant enemies and a core as fragile as cracked glass.

Sanctum, where the simplest level can take 1 hour to complete.
Every level can be VERY long. Even the first one can take anywhere between 30 minutes (if you are insanely fast) to 1 hours and a half and can last even longer. But don't worry: the Campaign has checkpoints between waves which you can also use to correct a mistake as long your have enough resources. It may sound cheap, but picking the "Load Checkpoint" will be something you'll do often here unless you feel there is no hope and click on the "Restart Level".

The multiplayer option ramps this up by letting you set the game to 30 waves on any map, which easily means games going past 1 hour.

Multiplayer Mayhem (Single if you must)
The multiplayer in Sanctum is a bit different. Instead of a normal game with fixed waves every game on every map will have random enemies waves coming for you and your friends, that's right, no game will be quite the same and sometimes you'll be forced to change your tactics since the game can be downright mean sending airborne enemies and another wave of tricky enemies right away.

You can also change how long the game will last: from 10 to 20 or even 30 waves, or an endless Survival mode, with increasingly stronger enemies, but with MUCH more resources than the normal, single player only, Campaign. This means more towers, faster weapon upgrades and more towers.

Don't have friends that play Sanctum? Friends can't play right now? No problem. You can Host a game like this and play by yourself if you wish to, or leave open to friends (or other people) so they can join during it.

You can also opt to play with people from the world but be warned: the Sanctum multiplayer is fairly dead and even on weekends it may be hard to get a lasting game with someone.

Multiplayer has a few problems, though. Once you finish a map you are forced to create a new game and invite your friends again which doesn't sound bad, but gets annoying if you play with 2 or more people. It may be also a pet peeve mine, but you don't get levels achievements even if you do complete them with 30 waves setting, however you do keep progress from others like "Kill 4000 Runners"

Music for your ears
Sanctum also has an amazing soundtrack, much more relaxing and soothing than what you'd expect for a game about killing hordes of enemies while hearing the heroine laughing and screaming in glee.

For some the music will feel strangely out of place and annoying, for others it will be a contribution to immerse the player.

Final notes
The game came out in 2011, and even on 2014 it remains one of the most pleasant, satisfactory games to play.

Unfortunately Sanctum is often underrated and overlooked by people, sometimes because of its graphics and sometimes because it is a game that takes time to learn and it won't be afraid to slap you in the face quite often while you learn it.

Sanctum is a game created with care and you can notice it as you play. Coffee Stain Studios did a good job with this game and it is worth your money and time. Even if you are not a fan of Tower Defense or First Person Shooter genres, give Sanctum a try at least in the demo, you may be surprised.
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68 of 75 people (91%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
Honestly one of the best tower defense games I've ever played. Being forced to pick a limited set of towers and weapons to use for each level adds a nice extra level of challenge in both solo and co-op play as knowing which towers to bring into play, when to bring them out and where to place them is easily the key.

By far this game is better co-op.
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65 of 71 people (92%) found this review helpful
171.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 9, 2014
If you are reading this review right now, and consider buying the game, do it. It's that simple, the game is totally worth the money. First of all, it's a First Person Shooter Tower Defense game. It's rules are simple:

- Choose your personal Towers and Weapons.
- Build blocks to create a maze as big as possible.
- Build towers using resources that you gain for completing waves.
- Upgrade your gear and towers.
- Defend the core at all cost.

Sanctum has this good feeling of progression. Each new wave provides another, a more difficult challenge. And the player must keep up. By upgrading the towers and weapons. Which by the way, come in a surprisingly pleasant number. There are a lot of different towers to choose from. Some are used to deal damage to the creatures on the ground, and some to those airborn. So it's a good idea to buy them both, and experiment with their placement. Another very nice addition, are the "Support Towers". They can manipulate your enemies in various ways. The "Slow Field" for example, slows every creature that steps on the ground where it's placed. There also towers that amplify both yours and your tower's attacks, make your enemies more susceptible to damage, and so on. Speaking of enemies, each type of creature has it's own good looking alien body. That comes with a certain, sometimes hidden, area called the "Weakspot". Each alien has it's own unique abilities, like "Charging", "Soaking", "Dodging", well, you get the point. They not only behave differently, but also look so. Very cool and fantastic-looking models.

Your towers are the main source of firepower in Sanctum. But the player is as important. You get to choose from 6 unique weapons like the "Sniper", "Freeze",and "Tesla" guns. Which come in very handy when dealing with certain enemies. Especially those that somehow survived your defenses. You can create some really awesome guns and towers combinations if you think about it. You could, for example, use your "Freeze" gun to temporarily stun all the enemies in a certain radius. And then blow them all away with a charged "REX". It's really awesome come to think about it.

Another thing worth mentioning is the variety of maps (16 if have the DLCs) and game mods (like Bounty, Stamina, Pre-Build, and Standart). Which add a certain feeling of freedom. And the maps are pretty awesome. They look vibrant and alive, full of fauna and flora. Which is so strange looking that it makes you love it. Giant spores, glowing trees, multiple Suns, huge flowers, and mineral-rich caves. But the best thing about the maps, are the Easter Eggs. There are so many secret spots to find. So well-hidden and camouflaged, that you'll spend some time looking for them, and when you'll finally find them, they'll put a smile on that face.

And now, my favorite subject, the Music. I never thought I'd enjoy Sanctum's music so much as I do. Every map has 2 pieces of music attached to it. The first one plays in the "Building" phase. Usually a rather slow and tuneful loop, which I always like. And the second piece plays while the "Action" phase is in progress. A very pulsing, rhythmic and dynamic song, that I just love. Just listen to THIS or THIS. Please do, they might seem simple and plain, but they feel so complex and sparkling. 16 different maps, 2 songs for each... You do the math. All the credit goes to Coffee Stain Studios, and more specificaly to the genius Gustaf Tivander.

The last but not least, the best feature of this game is the Cooperative play. You and up to three of your friends get to build, upgrade and defend together. It's fun and effective, it grants even more creativity and firepower. Letting you get the most of this game. Which I strongly recommend if you're looking for either a good Co-op, or Tower Defense.

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45 of 48 people (94%) found this review helpful
81.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 18, 2013
Short version: A big surprise. If you like tower defense at all and don't mind FPS, give it a shot. A great blend of strategy + action.

Long version: Sanctum is great for TD fans that either like or don't mind some FPS action in their games. The two aspects blend together very well; on lower difficulties, one can pretty easily focus on one over the other and do fine, while on higher difficulties both are needed pretty equally. Additionally, there are towers that help your shots and a gun that helps your towers, ensuring that the two aren't just separate parts of the same game but actually integrated together.

Even aside from FPS tactics, there's a fair amount more strategy than in most TD games, as the player must build a map for the enemies to travel on and building good maps can be necessary for survival. Building a map that makes enemies take longer to travel necessarily means less space for defensive towers, balancing the game with a choice of longer path or more firepower. And of course, correct positioning of towers for the most effective use of each one is as important as always in a TD game. Even the size of certain towers can be a strategic point for ensuring the player can move around flexibly.

One can bring 3 different guns and up to 6 different towers to maps, ensuring many different ways to play the game, although the total number of guns and towers may be a bit low to take full advantage of that.

If there's one problem I have with the game it's that some of the map designs come off as very lazy, but you'll largely forget about that when constructing a maze. I haven't played much multiplayer or survival mode myself, but in later waves of longer games, guns can also come to be seemingly ineffectual, as damage doesn't scale at all with the growing power of enemies. Sanctum does what it does near perfectly and there are very few changes I would consider making to improve it.
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34 of 35 people (97%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
37.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2014
It was the first time I played a "Hybrid" FPS/TD game and I have to say that I loved it.

+ Very decent graphics.
+ Every Turret and Weapon has upgrades.
+ You can build mazes to make the enemy take longer routes.
+ Full of "SECRETS" to discover (sometimes more than one per map).
+ All enemy have a "weakspot" ( this makes some turrets stronger for each kind of monster, also makes you aim at specific parts of the monsters).
+ Very challenging. Try the insane dificulty :O

- Sometimes it gets boring when maps take +45minutes to beat all waves or you have a nice Turret and maze combination built to do most of your work.
- Multiplayer has almost no players. (Never seen more than 7 players online).
- There is a buggy achievement. (Takes forever to get it, even though it's one of the easiest)
- You will probably need some guides to find all the secrets because they are extremely hard to find on your own. ( I used guides for most of them :$).

It gave me some good hours of fun and I can't wait to start playing Sanctum 2.

Remember this is just my opinion, some of my (+) can be a (-) to you and viceversa. It depends from player to player.
Also I'm sorry for my English. (I'm Portuguese).
Hope my review was helpful to you! :D
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31 of 39 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2015
Sanctum is a Tower Defense game which allows for a first person shooter perspective. Released in 2011, graphically it doesn't look bad at all. The object of the game is to lay blocks and outfit them with varying weaponry to direct the path of your enemy waves, lay down suppressive fire and take out as many enemies as possible, and have a varied amount of weapons as each wave has different enemies who have resistences to certain types of damage. Once you have done this, you go into initiate a wave, use your own personal first person shooter weapons and assist the towers with defeating waves before they reach your core. At the end of each wave you are given a number of resources which can be spent on upgrades both to the towers as well as your personal weapons.

I've played several tower defense games, but this one let's you get down in there and add a personal touch to defense, by combining the FPS experience with more traditional tower defense features. While I enjoyed Sanctum, I look forward to seeing what happens next in the series and how they upgrade our experience to another level. Sanctum features single player mode, a variety of different levels each with their own geography and challenges, as well as multiplayer mode. I recommend going through the tutorial phase, so you really get an understanding of what the weapons and enemies are capable of before diving right into the main game.
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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
28.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
There is not a dull moment in Sanctum, as whenever you aren't building something you're shooting enemies. A great balance between you and your turrets is maintained.
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Recently Posted
Егор Просвинин
1.3 hrs
Posted: October 22
not working on my MacBook Air
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.7 hrs
Posted: October 18
WARNING: Game goes from 0 to 60 after level 1.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Barrfind V.
0.7 hrs
Posted: September 28
Sanctum is a First Person Shooter Tower Defense game where you take the role as Skye. Elite soldier sent out to protect her hometown, Elysion One from hordes of mysterious alien creatures.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
84.0 hrs
Posted: September 27
Nice and original, love it!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.9 hrs
Posted: September 26
This game is the most AWESOME game ever! I never really had a favorite game before ones I really like, but this one is now in the top spot of games EVER! its so cool nd keeps the mind thinking for a long time, you get the action and the thinking all in one!

14/10 would lose my mind over a game again.
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KingJay l T R I G G E R E D
0.3 hrs
Posted: September 18
has a feel of overwatch
Helpful? Yes No Funny
21.4 hrs
Posted: September 17
Amazing game. Fun and the soundtrack is the most relaxing thing ever made.
Helpful? Yes No Funny