One of the most popular forms of games at the moment, especially in browser-based gaming, are tower defense games. However, what the browser can’t bring, Robot Entertainment can and is with Orcs Must Die!, a action-strategy game that feels like a combination of tower defense, part Team Fortress, and part dungeon crawler.
The player hops in game as the War Mage, a master of magic, swords, and archery, with an affinity for killing Orcs. Taking control of him, the player is placed in various different environments in which hordes of Orcs attempt to push through the rifts that the War Mage defends. They’ll attempt to inflict damage to him along the way as well.
At the start of each level, the player is able to place down a variety of pieces like tar pits, spikes, and explosive barrels among others, that will slow the Orcs. Some will make it through the traps but they still must die, so you’ll have to take to shooting them in the face with arrows or chopping them with swords. The environment is also interactive, with plenty of pieces like chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and conveniently acid pits on ledges that will also be fully usable against the onslaught of uglies charging at you.
The demo was fast paced and just when you start to get overwhelmed, you get a break phase to lay any new traps and regain composure. The further you get in Orcs Must Die, you’ll run into more usable obstacles to lay, more varieties of Orcs, and more crazy levels to manage. It’s a game that feels like it’s light when you’re watching but has quite the depth once you’re at the helm. There was a group of kids playing while I was waiting to demo the game that were trying to beat one another’s score. The producer of the game informed me that one of the players had been there the day before and had now brought four friends to the booth to see who could set the highest score. If there was one thing that spoke to the excitement Orcs Must Die offers, it’s that. Grab Orcs Must Die on Xbox Live Arcade or Steam later this year.