|System: PC, Xbox 360*|
|Dev: Paradox Interactive|
|Pub: Paradox Interactive|
|Release: March 14, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language|
While the basics of Defenders of Ardania are fairly fun, the single-player campaign tends to boil down to using the same troop tactic on every map. Send out a wave of slow soldiers, then time swarmers, fliers, and runners so that the entire gang gets to the enemy's castle at the same time. Once that gang is dead, rinse and repeat. This minimizes casualties from enemy towers and allows the player to do maximum damage to the enemy castle. Later maps in the single-player campaign involve a certain amount of strategic tower placement, offensive and defensive spell-casting, and enemy tower removal, but the basic strategic approach still stands, making the whole thing rather samey.
Unlike the single-player mode, multiplayer games give players access to all towers and troops from the outset. In this mode, the game plays like an extremely limited real-time strategy game match. Victory is determined by speed and efficiency in setting up towers, deploying troops, and managing upgrades. The problem here is that it would be more interesting and strategically deep to play an actual RTS rather than this tower attack/defense hybrid. With the limited size of the battlefield, small number of towers allowed, and oversized interface that gets in the way of seeing what's going on, Defenders of Ardania doesn't seem to hold long-term multiplayer appeal.
Ultimately, Defenders of Ardania is a reasonably fun little time-waster, but it lacks staying power. There's not enough strategic depth involved to keep players interested in the long term, and the interface issues become more frustrating over time. In putting this particular twist on the tower defense formula, Paradox has created a hybrid that lacks some of the important aspects of tower defense (especially the ability to study the map and set up a defense before the enemy waves come out) without providing deep enough offensive gameplay for RTS fans. It's an interesting experiment, but in the end I think we'd rather see a new Majesty game.
Date: March 28, 2012