Defense Technica

Interesting title, but may prove a bit frustrating for some

By PKKHaseo, Posted 25 Oct 2013

Defense Technica is a new sci-fi themed tower defense game developed by Kuno Interactive, a multi-platform indie developer based in Seoul, and published by Devolver Digital. It’s a total overhaul of a mobile game and, while it brings some innovation to the genre, it still has some moments that will simply make you cringe and rage.

Defense Technica, Review, Tower Defense

The game takes place a thousand years into the future, where advancements in technology have allowed us to travel far and beyond our solar system. There, as expected, we found life and with it more advanced alien civilizations. But what started as a pleasant relationship with the newly met alien species, quickly turned to bloodshed, with the Hergus suddenly invading and almost wiping out humanity. Now, on the brink of extinction, humanity has mustered all its remaining resources into a secret project called Noah with hopes that this will stop the onslaught. It is your duty to protect this project, humanity’s last hope.

The thing that will catch your eye when you first play the game is the design of both towers and the Hergus. The Hergus use a large variety of unit types, each with its unique design that successfully portrays them as a vicious warmongering species. The units are divided into four categories: mechanical, biological, air and bosses, with each being divided further into light and heavy units. Mechanical units have hard sharp edges, pointy tips and come equipped with huge cannons, while most of the biological ones come equipped with razor blades embedded into their arms. And in case that wasn’t enough, some units will also come equipped with a portable shield generator. The design manages to give the Hergus a certain ferociousness that suits the story perfectly.

Defense Technica, Review, Tower Defense

The towers’ design is really unique and one of the best I’ve seen in a tower defense game. The game features 8 starting tower (including the barricades), but for each tower there are several upgrades outside the stages, that once unlocked can be used inside the stages. As expected, some will be more effective against some units, and less against others, so you’ll has to combine and adapt to whatever the game decides to throw at you.

The variety of towers is off the charts and Defense Technica does a great job at providing you lots of possible strategies. If you like stabbing your foes to death, you can do that with the appropriately named Stabber which can be further upgraded to have tentacle blades for even more stabbing action. If you’re more of a pyromaniac like me and want to see the enemies burnt alive, the old faithful flamethrower won’t disappoint and with a certain upgrade you’ll be able to literally rain fire on the Hergus. This is just a small taste of all the things the towers can do. If there’s a certain type of tower you like, the game has you covered. Another neat thing is that with every upgrade the tower changes appearance, making it easy to distinguish between them.

The level design is by far the thing that adds the most to the game’s difficulty. A lot the stages have more than 3-4 spawns for the enemies and some of them give you several cores to protect. Enemies come in waves, each stage having a certain number of them and, with each passing wave, the enemies upscale in HP. So the game isn’t just throwing stronger and stronger units at you, but also buffing the weaker ones as the waves draw to an end.  The game does give you the possibility of building a maze so you can guide the enemy where you want, but building the maze wrong can easily overwhelm your towers. This quickly turns into mayhem and eventually you lose. Because of that, you’ll find yourself replaying the stages quite a few times.

Defense Technica, Review, Tower Defense

Other features that ramp up the difficulty quite a bit are the dynamic stages and the weather effects. Dynamic stages will change layout after a certain number of waves, adding both new spawning points for the enemy and rendering your old mazes obsolete. The weather effects, just like in real life, affect each tower differently, so for instance rain will make flamethrowers less effective.

The upgrade system is by far the most annoying thing in the game. Depending on your performance you get rated, 3 stars being awarded for maximum performance. Depending on the number of stars you get, you are awarded medals that you use to upgrade your towers, each upgrade requiring 10 medals. In order to get three stars you need to finish the stage without having used any special abilities and with your cores never getting hit. 

Because of this, getting a perfect score is really difficult and at the same time you get awarded absolutely nothing for losing. So you’ll find yourself replaying the old stages a lot to earn the three stars for the extra medals, so you can further upgrade your towers in order to advance past the stage you got stuck on. This would be fine since it makes it quite challenging to get your towers upgraded and hence progressing, but considering most stages take upwards to 15 minutes to complete even whilst being sped up, it comes through as being overly and unnecessarily grindy and tedious. You will waste a lot of time failing to get that desired three star rating and having to restart over and over again.

Defense Technica, Review, Tower Defense

Another problem with the game is its narrow camera. As you progress, stages get larger and larger, and given the hectic nature of the game caused by enemies spawning all over the place, it becomes really confusing, really fast and it makes keeping an eye on the enemy really hard. It would have been really helpful if you could have zoomed out a lot more than the game lets you or if the game had provided a minimap so you would know where the enemies are at any given time.

If you are looking for a difficult tower defense with a beautiful science fiction theme to it, interesting tower and units design, you’ll clearly love the game and sink hours in it trying to get three stars at the highest difficulty. But if you hate grindy games that will frustrate you quite a few times this is clearly not made for you. The game is available right now on Steam for $15 (or $12 until the 31st of October).

Cirstoiu Alexandru, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Devolver Digital
Developer(s): Kuno Interactive
Genres: Tower Defense
Themes: Sci-fi
Release Date: 2013-10-24

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