Tower defense classic Defense Grid: The Awakening tried to fund its sequel, Defense Grid 2 via Kickstarter, but fell a bit short of its funding goal. Instead of giving up though, the creators over at Hidden Path decided to release a new piece of expansion content for their old game called Defense Grid: Containment. Your character, who has been fighting against the alien threat since The Awakening, is now a commander and is once again in charge of beating back the hordes using the might of various towers and strategy. Though the new content is certainly challenging and might be a great trip down memory lane for fans of the series, there isn’t a whole lot for newcomers to jump at.
Defense Grid is your basic tower-defense title, plain and simple. Waves of enemies appear on the screen attempting to steal your power cores, and you must set up towers to fight against them. The towers range from basic gun turrets, which fire quickly but do minimal damage, to high-damage lasers and long-range meteor turrets. Some turrets can slow creeps down, others increase your resource proliferation, but all will work towards your benefit. For those desperate situations you also have the ability to utilize a death-from-above satellite laser that recharges with each use, but does heavy damage to an area you select. You’ll be using everything you’ve got to fight the various enemies coming from the sky and on the ground; if they take all of the map’s power cores, you lose the game. DG has interesting mechanics; cores will slowly crawl their way back to the map’s center if the enemy holding it dies, and the laser gives some customization that was great back when the game originally dropped in 2008, but 4+ years later the title’s age is showing a bit.
This isn’t to say that Containment does anything wrong, mind you. Series veterans will appreciate the eight new levels (along with all their gameplay variations) and the challenge that comes with them. It’s pretty much hard from the get-go, and you’ll need to masterfully utilize each of the towers to win. But there just isn’t anything particularly wow-ing about the game anymore; the graphics look a bit outdated (particularly when you zoom in), and the story doesn’t offer much to pull outsiders in. Defense Grid: The Awakening has shown up on some indie bundle sites before; if you’ve picked it up and enjoyed it, the extra content will serve you well. But with the stand-alone game still $9.99, asking for the extra $5 might be a bit much for some folks.
Containment seems to be more of a love-letter to current fans than an appeal to new ones, and perhaps that’s just fine. At $4.99, the Containment will hopefully scare up enough cash from series-regulars to push development of Defense Grid 2, a game which will probably turn plenty of heads if it’s developed with the same heart as its predecessor.