Distressingly, tower defense games seem to be experiencing stagnation. Arguably, the genre’s last requisite effort was 2014’s Defense Grid 2. While the title didn’t deliver much in the way of innovation, it did give players a multitude of methods to deal with a relentless procession of invaders. Beyond nine varieties of offensive turrets, players could mount weaponry on elevated platforms, enhance the range of each tower, and even provided options to disrupt shields and cloaking, increase damage, or to boost your score. Coupled with a competent narrative, Defense Grid 2 succeeded by providing players with a gratifying amount of autonomy.
Although the recent release of Defense Task Force doesn’t outshine Hidden Path Entertainment’s effort, but it does give gamers a contenting arsenal of upgradeable weapons. And while there’s not a lot of deviation from tower defense canon, those who have mined enjoyment from existing TD title should enjoy Task Force’s campaign.
Set across five different regions, with four stages in each area, Defense Task Force fundamentals with be familiar to tower defense devotees. Here, players strive to keep a cavalcade of Kraken from attacked your energy harvesting facility. Instead of directly fighting the creatures, you play as a commander, determining where to build ten different types of turrets, which attack enemies automatically.
When it comes to establishing a strategy, Defense Task Force provides a generous amount of independence. Towers can be programmed to target strong, leading, trailing, or random foes, and while leaving disregarding the setting can help you bypass early levels, as the level of challenge ramps up, you’ll likely need to issue orders. Interestingly, tower placement is determined by a blueprint that’s preselected at the start of each round. Initially, you’ll have a trio of different plans that determine where you can play towers, and therefore influence the route the Kraken will use. But bank away some energy, the game’s currency, and you’ll be able to purchase and use new blueprints that offer more spots to build your network of turrets.
Progress across Defense Task Force rewards players with residual energy which can be used to unlock tower upgrades. Initially, you’ll have to buy upgrades which do things like augment damage and reduce the reload time for your towers. But invest enough, and you’ll gradually unlock new tiers of towers, and like Defense Grid 2, once turrets have been upgraded for the third time, you can purchase boosts. Naturally, you can augment your harvesting facility to do things like give you a larger amount of energy at the start of the round, or even improve the strength of its own defense system.
Just don’t expect to spend too much time on shopping sprees. Task Force limits growth by the amount of energy collected after each round but also through your level of experience. Growth across rounds is tracked by a military ranking system, and you’ll need to reach a certain classification before some upgrades can be purchased. Coupled with the rapid increase of Kraken formidability, that means you’ll likely be doing some grinding, replaying levels to earn enough energy to level the playing field against enemies. And while the amount of replay isn’t a deal killer, it can be a drag when you want to advance and see the next setting or enemy type the game has in store for you. On the upside, replay isn’t completely dull, since you’ll have to accommodate for the procedurally generated parade of enemies.
Built on the Unity Engine, Defense Task Force might give your GPU and PC fans a rigorous workout, but the end results are eye-pleasing. Utilizing a mouse-and-keyboard combo, it’s never heard to glean a productive perspective on the action, and a few mouse-clicks and slow or speed the action. While the game’s user interface is largely intuitive, there are still a few confusing elements, such as the appearance of an upgrade button when you haven’t bought the augmentation yet. Towers and creatures are competently rendered and animated, and while backdrops are unadorned enough to not induce visual overload, the game’s sporadic use of garish colors needs renovation. The title’s soundtrack conveys an indispensable sense of urgency, while sound effects help to signal the effectiveness of your array of towers.
Although Defense Task Force offers a scant amount of innovation, it’s a fundamentally enjoyable tower defense game. The necessity for grinding pushes the game just below the genre’s exemplary efforts, making it a sensible second-string pick-up for those engrossed by building sentry systems. With a bit of tuning, the title could be a top-tier contender, and one of the few recent tower defense games worth investing time into.
Defense Task Force was played on PC with review code provided by the publisher.
Developer: ChillX Ltd
Publisher: ChillX Ltd
Release date: June 19th, 2018
Price: $24.99 via Steam, currently $19.99 through July 5th