Defenders of Ardania

If you like tower defense games, Defenders of Ardania is a good game with great ideas. It still has room for improvement and has a few issues.

By RON, Posted 19 Mar 2012

So you take a Tower Defense game, and add an option to not only build towers; but also send your own waves of creatures back towards the enemy. Throw in a few god type abilities like lightning and healing. Add in some multiplayer modes. Then wrap it all up in the lore from the Majesty series of games from Paradox Interactive. That’s what you get with Defenders of Ardania. Defenders of Ardania (DoA) is the latest release from Paradox Interactive, developed by Most Wanted Entertainment. The only other game of note they have done was a RTS game called JTF (Joint Task Force) that was a PC only game. DoA has obviously been a big project for them as not only has it been released on the PC but also for Xbox 360, PS3 and even iPad.

The whole deal of being able to send units back the other direction is a unique aspect, which I haven’t experienced in any game of this genre. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has done it with the amount of tower defense games out there. Some of the new features help make what has traditionally been a single player genre a much more competitive type of game. Tower Defense games have primarily been a single player experience, where you usually compete for the highest scores and leaderboards etc. But with this feature of sending creatures alongside building towers; the game allows for a more competitive aspect within the gameplay. You can’t directly control the creatures, but you do have the ability to set "Flags" to encourage creatures to go after certain targets or move in certain directions. It is very similar to the flag mechanics used in Majesty 2.

Defenders of Ardania, Review

Content wise, DoA is decent value at the launch price of $15. There is a good length Campaign mode. There is a Skirmish mode which has 3 different variations. "Normal" is played as the normal campaign levels, and then, "Survival" which is waves in classic TD fashion; where you don’t send any creatures and focus on only biulding towers. Finally  "Limited Resources", where you’re given a set amount of supplies and you survive as long as you hold the enemy waves. There is of course a variety of options for Multiplayer as well. You can play both Ranked and Non-Ranked matches on all the maps from the campaign. One note,  the game’s DRM is handled by Steamworks, even if you buy the game on another digital service you will need a Steam account to actually play it.

The gameplay is actually quite challenging and has some unique elements. One is how towers are handled in the game. In most TD games you just build towers wherever you want (with some restrictions) and then over the course of the game you generally dont move just continue to upgrade them and keep building. Whereas in DoA there is a mechanism of "Pushing" your towers forward. Say you are limited to 10 towers on a particualr map. Over the course of the game you will be putting towers up near your base at the beginning of the game which expands the areas you can then build in (You can build a tower within 4 spaces of either your main base or another tower). So as you can imagine you keep pretty busy on DoA in comparison to other TD games. You are constantly having to move towers forward and upgrade them. You are also having to constantly queue up units to send towards your enemy. Unlike the usual TD games you don’t get to relax placing a perfect build and wait for attackers. This game requires your constant input.

Check our video review on Defenders of Ardania, also by Gregory Curtis.

That however, brings up one criticism. You’ll be required to spend a significant amount of time sending units out, which might turn out a little tiresome. In addition the UI element for sending units is very annoying in how it basically covers half your screen everytime you bring it up. There is no feature to automate or say mass queue waves of units like you would in a RTS game. You are able to send a set amount of units during a wave, and must wait till units die before you can send more. Each time one dies, you can send another. So you’ll find yourself constantly sending units, manually; one after another while it goes on and on. An automated queue feature of sending units would’ve been a great addition. If you are playing the PC version, you’ll also notice some of the UI elements were clearly built for the console versions and ported to the PC. They work all right, but are just very clunky and not as smooth as you’d like. There are also some strange slowdowns from time to time which are a bit upsetting for a tower defense game.

Despite these setbacks, DoA has some decent production values. It comes with nice sound effects with worthy voiceovers, easy navigation menus, and nice crisp graphics. Not to mention a good variety of towers and creatures, about 24 of each. There are also 3 playable races, which offer arrays of units and towers during the game. Not to mention the variety to the maps.

The production values are good, and the multiplayer head to head is much more compelling than usual tower defense games. However if tower defense isn’t your type of game, DoA won’t help to change your mind. But if you do like this genre, Defenders of Ardania is a good game with great ideas. It still has room for improvement and has a few issues. In the end though how can you lose with a game that has flying dwarves? Exactly!

Gregory Curtis,

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Most Wanted Entertainment
Developer(s): Paradox Interactive
Genres: Tower Defense
Themes: Strategy
Release Date: 2012-03-14

View All

Popular Articles