Over the years, tower defence games have become very much the Marmite of the gaming world. This is down to a number of key factors, the main one being that Flash game developers have simply shoved the original concept into a corner and proceeded to beat it until its black and blue. Where developers have attempted to innovate on the tower building concept, there's plenty of fun to be hard, but having to first sift through all the generic crap becomes mighty tedious over time.
Fortunately, we've done the sifting so you don't have to, and come up with the goods. Revenge of the Titans lays on the polish, coats it with a huge dollop of customization, and files it off with some seriously hectic gameplay. The game's open-endedness can act as a sort of double-edged sword at times, but if you're grown tired of the same old tower defence games, this is definitely something new and fresh.
Playing with liquid nitrogen is fun!
The Titans are attacking! A band of nasty dark aliens with bright, menacing eyes are coming from all sides, and your own defence is to erect blaster towers and support units to keep them at bay. However, you begin with just the simple buildings, and must gradually work your way through all the latest technologies to keep the more aggressive enemies at bay later on.
This may sound similiar to your standard tower defence title, but Revenge of the Titans has an ace up its sleeve. Rather than acquiring set towers after each level, you are instead brought to a buy screen, on which every single tower, power-up and upgrade is presented. You can then proceed to buy them in whichever order you choose, with certain purchases unlocking other areas of the shop.
What this means is that you can choose to tackle the game in whatever way you see fit. Buy up all the blasters and heavy-duty weaponry early on, and you can go for a more offensive stance against the aliens. Focus more on upgrading your technology and specific buildings, and you can try for the more tactical approach. There are no limits and nothing to tell you that you're playing it right or wrong - it's all about experimenting and working out the best strategy for you.
It's not all about destroying the enemy, however. There are crystals scattered about the place on each level, and you'll need to plonk down refineries to gather up the resources. As you progress through levels, these will need to be upgraded and provided with support buildings to allow you more cash during levels. Finding the balance between blasters and grafters is the key to success.
The customization, then, is fantastic, with so many different paths to choose from. Unfortunately, there's also a dangerous flipside to this. Once you've chosen your weapons, there's no way to go back other than to start all over again from the very beginning of the game. This means that, if you end up choosing a completely awful set of upgrades and weapons that aren't able to beat the incoming enemy, you may find that you'll need to restart the entire game.
Go on, admit it - they're pretty cute, right?
For example, later enemies will be armoured and require you have special upgraded blasters to beat them. However, you're only told a level in advance about these, and the guns needed to defeat armour require two upgrades to get to them. If you haven't already at least unlocked the first upgrade, you're well and truly buggered.
Keep a good spread of everything going, however, and you shouldn't run in to too many problems, allowing you to focus on the finer points of play. Revenge of the Titans is fast, frantic and always keeping you on your toes. The campaign is a real treat, with so much style and presentation pumped into the visuals, the music, the menus - every aspect has been tended to well.
This is especially prominent where personality is concerned. A very British general mumbles his way through explanations of each new threat, while your researches go wild when explaining freshly unlocked weaponry. It all works swimmingly to give the game a lovely feel and makes us want to push on forward with our troops.
Elsewhere, there is lots to be getting on with. Apart from the meaty campaign, you've got a survival mode that pits you against the incoming hordes with set time limits and online scoreboards, while endless mode asks you to keep the aliens back for as long as humanly possible. These modes won't grab your attention as much as the campaign, but they are definitely welcome additions.
Ranks and medals also help to give the impression that you're making great progress, and add to the previously gushed over presentation. Everything points to this being much, much more than just your average Flash-based tower defence title.
Connecting buildings together allows for more efficient blasting
If we have one gripe, it would be the variety in enemies. Pretty much every enemy looks the same - black blob, glowing eyes, gnashing teeth - and it can something feel a little like you're simply holding back the same hordes over and over again. The enemy roster definitely needs some fresh blood and some interesting surprises, rather than the same colour palette repeatedly.
REVENGE OF THE TITANS VERDICT
Revenge of the Titans is what you get when you inject some real indie love into a tired genre - style, innovation, experimentation and instant playability. Some may find themselves frustrated with a customization approach that leaves room for epic failures, but most will find the open-ended nature of it all quite refreshing.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Choosing the perfect combination of upgrades and utterly destroying an alien horde with them.