|System: DSi (DSiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BiP Media||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: BiP Media||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 2, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
For anyone like myself who got a DSi the day it came out, you know that good DSiWare has been slow to materialize. Early on we were even inundated with a variety of themed clocks and calculators rather than new games. However, over the past few months DSiWare has begun to improve dramatically, with a new game or two becoming available for download every week. This week's release marks the first tower defense title on DSiWare, and despite its eight hundred point price tag, Viking Invasion is well worth a download.
The game's story takes place in the year 840 in Norway and revolves around Olaf, the leader of an incredibly inept faction of Vikings. Olaf's wife Olga is angry at Olaf because he hasn't been accomplishing very much and starts deriding Olaf until he agrees to go on a pillaging and plundering spree. Before every level in the game, you're treated to a brief dialogue segment between Olaf and his followers that are often humorous, although they will likely be more appealing to younger players. The choice to tell the story from the perspective of the Vikings seems like an odd decision, since you are actually fighting against them, but it works and is probably more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
If you've never played a tower defense game before, the concept is pretty basic. Players need to strategically place turrets on a map so that they are able to take down waves of invading foes before they reach their goal. This concept makes even more sense in the context of Viking Invasion, as the Vikings are always attacking from the water and are thereby forced to follow the path of the rivers.
The campaign starts off fairly simplistically, easing the player into the experience. Here you'll have access to only two basic types of towers, one with a larger range that fires arrows and one that fires more damaging cannon balls but needs to be placed closer to the water to be able to hit enemies. These turrets can be placed anywhere on the map as long as there's an empty hexagon in which to build it. Taking out enemies is fairly easy in the early levels because the maps are kind of claustrophobic and your foes are rather weak. This is great for newcomers to the tower defense genre, but, luckily, there's still a challenge to be had for more experienced players as well.
With each level the enemies you face will get increasingly more difficult to take out. Instead of just basic Viking drakkars (boats) and a few falcons, you'll be facing off against dragons, sea serpents, and all manner of supernatural/mythological creatures. Each enemy has its own sets of weaknesses that can be exploited to make them easier to defeat. Before each wave begins, the game will display what types and how many enemies will be attacking and you can tap on them to see what their individual strengths and weaknesses are to determine what types of towers would be more useful to build. There are even some boss enemies that will actually aid you in your defenses if you manage to take them out as well.
Taking out a boss enemy will earn you a gem, which can be used to purchase the ability to build new types of turrets or for adding improvements to the ones you can already construct. There are six turrets in total including the archers, cannons, machine guns (cannon ball variety), sorcerers, monoliths, and windmills. Each turret type also includes two upgrades that can be purchased that can help with things like damage, range, type of damage, etc. This adds a good amount of variety and strategy, since you can use different types of turrets together in order to make them more effective. A couple examples of this include using a windmill to slow down enemies so that cannons can do more damage to them and having monoliths near any other type of turret can boost its range, damage, and how much money is earned from it.
With each kill, a turret earns experience and the player gets gold to spend on more turrets or improvements. Whenever you have enough money in hand and a turret has enough experience, it'll begin to flash, indicating that it can be upgraded. This is a nice touch that helps the player know at a glance what their options are. Still, even with this indicator it can be hard to make time in the heat of a fast-paced battle to upgrade your turrets. Luckily, the game does a few things to help you out in this regard.