It feels as though you cannot move at the moment for new tower defence games. They seem to be everywhere and on every platform. Although I enjoy a bit of tower defence, there really does seem to be very little innovation within the genre, with the majority of games offering the same style of gameplay.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. The massively popular Plants Vs Zombies offers a slightly simplistic, yet fast moving take on the genre. More recently Orcs Must Die! offered tower defence combined with third-person action, casting the player in the role of a warmage. Then there is the upcoming Defenders of Ardania, which is due early December, that challenges the player to both tower defence and offence.
Being developed by Most Wanted Entertainment, and to be published on iOS, PC, Xbox360 and PS3 by Paradox Interactive, Defenders of Ardania is set within the classic fantasy world of Paradox’s own Majesty series of games. On one side of the coin, everything seems very much “same old same old”. The player has a castle at one end of a winding path which is being attacked by a variety of different enemies. Along the path which the enemies must take to reach your castle are points where the player can build defensive towers of different types, with the idea being that the towers cut down these enemies before they reach the doors of the castle. All pretty standard.
But then there is the other side of the coin upon which the enemy has their own castle and the player can use their cash to send different troops along the path. The enemy also has access to their own defensive towers which can be built on any of the available building points on the given map. At this point things start getting slightly crazy.
Having to think about both the defense of the castle and attacking the enemy castle raises the strategy above that of the average tower defence game. Both the player and their enemy have access to different types of troops and towers. Some troops may move quickly, yet be weak and easily picked off. Others move more slowly, but are highly armoured. Yet more still have different powers that affect the gameplay. Towers have different ranges and areas of effect, but can only be built on building slots that are available to the player, and that haven’t already been built on by the enemy. Then there is a cap to the number of troops and towers that the player can have on the map at any one time, forcing the player to plan carefully, try to predict the enemies play and even demolish towers and move them as is needed.
This all sounds very interesting, something fresh and different. But there is a cherry on this particular cake – multiplayer. Although the AI certainly seems competent in the single player game, even somewhat devilish at times, playing against another real-life player raises the level of strategy to a whole other level. But it doesn’t stop at two players, Defenders of Ardania supports up to four players online, offering both competitive and co-operative gameplay.
Defenders of Ardania is not only set within the fantasy world of the Majesty games, but also brings with it some of the humour from those games. Even the ever sarcastic advisor reprises his role of offering guidance laced with dry wit.
Coming this December to PC, iOS, PS3 and Xbox360, Defenders of Ardania will be one to watch for all tower defence and RTS fans. The game will feature 24 different troop types, 24 different towers, magic spells, upgrades and interactive map objects, all wrapped up within an established fantasy world. Defenders of Ardania looks set to grab the tower defence genre by the shoulders and give it a damn good shake.