ORCS MUST DIE
Gnolls are speedy, durable, and
generally a pain in the ass.
HANDS-ON The best defense: a good offense—and walls that shoot arrows
I never feel powerful in tower defense games. Even when I create some murderous bottleneck, or I get synergy going between a freeze
turret and a mortar, or plant a smart
Potato Bomb—at best, I feel like a really
skilled car wash operator.
There’s room for tea-sipping. And as an
ever-twitching FPS gamer with Red Bull
for blood, I don’t like feeling passive, or
locked into the rails of a machine that’s
already in motion. If tower defense games
are a car wash, playing
Orcs Must Die is like
wading into that suds-
and-water tunnel your-
self—wrapped in a scuba
suit, spraying a hose,
slinging soap, lunging
with the sponge. You’re
inside the machinery,
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directly involved in the process of subtracting what shouldn’t be there (orcs).
Your character is your agent for all
this—the War Mage: a brash, magical,
crossbow-wielding guardian that could be
Bruce Campbell’s cousin. You play
behind his back, at a ground-level perspective. The War Mage can make headshots. He can sprint and jump. During
I feel like I’ve
left an oven on
too long, except
the oven is dragons.
my hands-on, I grab a single orc in the air
with my Wind Belt, suspending him in
midair before air-blasting him across the
room into an acid pit. As I’m taking my
time with this mortal volleyball, spinning
blades I installed down the hall are
crashing out, thinning the horde.
OMD is an action game that takes place
inside a horde-mode defense game. You’re
a warrior-engineer, coping with the well-armed conga line of orcs by killing them
directly, and by lining the surfaces of the
dungeon you’re defending with traps.
Mostly, it’s an endless cycle of panic and
relief (like any good tower defense game).
As waves get bigger, enemies inevitably
slip through and you’ve got to apprehend
the runoff with your weapons and spells.
Naturally, your approach depends on
the layout of the level. Early stages
usually have a single, narrow path that
the orcs advance on to help you focus on
learning the trap mechanics. But in a late-game dungeon, I have to deal with two
OC TOBER 2011
OC TOBER 2011