Pretty good game, I must say! Well done in almost all respects, and a more “exciting” take on the standard tower defense genre. I think the whole freeform placement plus having to actually defend from ATTACKS makes things more interesting, though in later levels the freeform placement wasn’t quite so freeform, as I basically tried to cram my building into as compact a space as possible.
The tech tree idea was really neat, though hard to know what you want and need unless you’ve already played the game. For example, I wanted my lasers really quickly but realized later that it was an endgame weapon. Also I didn’t realize until later how vital the support structures were–they’re even better than the support structures in element TD! You basically want to have 4 each of scanner, cooldown, and battery on every turret you ever have. And maybe reactors too if you can handle it.
Things I didn’t like…the later levels were too big and the placement strategy basically boiled down to “create a very concentrated array of firepower right beside your base”. The crystals were placed right in harms way a lot of the time too, so that was kind of…odd. That combined with the fact that even the ones which were a little ways out of harms way would still get targeted eventually. So I had to do stupid things like build some refineries and harvest for awhile, then sell right before they die. Or, right as the level is ending and no more enemies are spawning, quickly spam refineries next to the now-safe crystals while the last few enemies are still walking to the base.
I might have liked it more if the enemies stayed on set paths towards your base. I’m not sure. Basically the way that the enemies evolve into smarter beings makes it so that the enemies will attack your structures no matter what in the later levels, so it forces you into a strategy of killing all of them before they make it to your structures. Which emphasizes RANGE (hence why scanners are so important). If they instead just traveled on roads and didn’t attack, then it would be more like a traditional turret defense. Hm…I guess the way they did it was fine then.
I actually got to Titan before I decided I’d restart–this time on my desktop computer, and this time armed with a better understanding of the game. I cleared the first 2 or 3 worlds without taking a single hit, and mining all crystals (i think?). This actually made the enemies much harder, as there is dynamic difficulty scaling in the game. Not quite sure how I feel about that…but I guess it ended up being about the same, so I guess they must have done it at least somewhat right. I did find that I accrued instant-use powerup items like no other–by the end of the game I had well over 20 of each, and for a minute I thought that i might try to take down the ultratitan with smartbombs alone xD.
Other things I didn’t like…it’s hard to really keep track of money, because it’s not very transparent how much money you’re losing by building a structure (since you get some back if it survives). Also, second time around I tried to go for recyclers (formerly known as silos) but I don’t really know that they were worth it…they’re really expensive to research, and then they’re kind of expensive to build more than one or two, so I was never sure whether it was worth it, besides on the very last level when there’s a huge stash of crystals (but that’s the last level anyways).
I also didn’t bother with the barricades. Maybe that was a mistake? I didn’t like the idea of making things that are destined to get destroyed. I like to have my things be perfect xD.
The little dudes was an interesting concept, except for the fact that sometimes the AI didn’t do the right thing–it would have the little dudes chase after some random enemy when they needed to be in another place to deal with impending enemy little dudes. Oh well–it wasn’t actually that bad at all.
Didn’t invest in mines either. I found it kind of offsetting that especially towards the last 2 planets, it doesn’t seem like you’re really able to research that much–you have to hoard your money to set up your initial defense (4 scanners, 4 cooldown towers, 4 batteries, 4 blast cannons, some reactors, and reloaders). I read on the creator’s blog that they were considering just making it so that you always pick one research that you get for free every level. That’s an interesting idea that I think I agree with, but would require a whole doover of the tech tree…
Anyways, make that another game checked off my list…whoohoo! I haven’t played games quickly to completion like this in AGES. Next up is VVVVVV!