Sir Goblin returns to vanquish the evil Xitrof.
At the end of the first game, the evil Xitrof was vanquished and peace was returned to the land. But now Xitrof has returned in Fortix 2, from Nemesys on PC, and once more I am required to take up arms and draw lines across a map in order to reclaim the lands and teach Xitrof, once and for all, who is the boss in this Qix-style strategic-puzzle game.
The gameplay is identical to the first game, but for those who have only just discovered this title, here is a quick run down. The player is presented with a map upon which there may be a number of towers and a shield. The player may move freely along the border line of the map and will need to capture areas of the map by moving away from this border line (baseline), leaving a trail behind them. By joining this trail back to the baseline, the area contained within becomes captured and safe. Whilst away from the baseline, the player is vulnerable to dragons, monsters and projectiles from the towers. The map is completed once the player has captured all of the towers and the shield.
Things do get a little more complex as the game progresses, with bats that actually move along the baseline and can take a life from the player whilst they languish in what they think of as safety. Also, different types of dragons that actively chase the player once they leave the baseline, or towers that fire homing missiles, all represent a threat to the player, especially as these hazards need only touch an incomplete line to take a life and cast the player back to the baseline. Different terrains will also cause the player to take heed, as they alter the speed at which the player can move.
But it is not all doom and gloom for the hero. Catapults that are spread across the map can be captured to take out the pesky towers, and a selection of different power ups can be found that will speed the player up, add an extra life, or even stop the dragons in their tracks.
The game relies as much on strategic thinking as quick reflexes. Personally, I like to begin most maps by splitting them in two, drawing a line of thin and careful boxes straight through the middle. This tactic becomes more difficult as the game progresses and insurmountable walls start appearing, or magical orbs that actively prevent the capturing of certain areas turn up. Using the mouse as a control method also makes this tactic difficult, as the player will be required to draw very small boxes, very quickly and the mouse is just too imprecise. For this reason, I would recommend that everyone use the arrow keys on the keyboard for playing the game.
Fortix 2 has a generous number of levels, with different difficulty levels for each. Although the game can be completed in just a couple of hours on easy or normal, hitting the higher difficulties will really challenge even the most accomplished player and will see them entertained for many hours.
The simple to play/difficult to master nature of the first Fortix game was only let down, in my mind, by the simple lack of content. The game just didn’t last that long. This time around, the number of levels in the main game is more, but still feels lacking. However, Nemesys have extended the length of the game in a couple of interesting ways. Firstly, they have included the original maps from the first game for the player to enjoy. Whilst this may not be of much interest to veteran Fortix players, for newcomers this is a definite bonus. But the second addition is perhaps the most exciting – Enter the Zombies.
Why shouldn’t there be Zombies in Fortix 2? They seem to be in every other game out there. Zombie mode is a bit of a hidden gem in Fortix 2, as it can only be activated by harassing the little birdie on the main menu screen. Once this harassment has been accomplished, the player can play through the maps in Zombie mode with the objective of capturing the grave yard to complete each map. This task is hampered by the shambling undead that are spawned from the grave yard every so often and instantly make their way towards the hero. There is no safety to be found on the baseline in this mode, and once there are a few of these slow moving threats on the screen, things can get very tricky. The addition of Zombie mode almost doubles the amount of content in the game, making the purchase of Fortix 2 a very attractive prospect at just £5.99 on Steam.
Fortix 2 is a casual strategic puzzle game that is best played in short bursts rather than for extended gaming sessions, as the gameplay can get repetitive fairly quickly. That being said, the game is still incredibly enjoyable and the player will find themselves coming back time and again for “just one more level”. At a price of just £5.99 with a fair amount of content (and more coming in the form of DLC) I can highly recommend Fortix 2 as a game to play when you are short of time or need a break from more involved games.