|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Fluffy Logic||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
If there has been one genre that has been making an aggressive comeback in recent memory, it is the tower defense genre. For those that need a refresher, this genre is a subset of Real-Time Strategy that involves a central landmark or item that must be protected from injury. Recent games like Ninjatown and PixelJunk Monsters have established this genre very nicely on both handheld and home consoles, and Savage Moon is yet another entertaining, if less cute, take on this increasingly popular genre.
The game's plot is very simple. You play as a member of Earth's armed forces, and you are called to various Imoons, which are lunar-like planets that are infested with bug-like aliens referred to as "Insectocytes." You will have to command a team of builders and drop ship operators and make various battle-ready structures in order to prevent these insect-like aliens from penetrating the each Imoon's base of operations. Although there is really not much here in terms of storyline, the game's premise reminded me a lot of cult-favorite Starship Troopers, which gave it a few bonus points.
The tactics in this title work in largely the same way as other tower defense titles. You will have a bird's eye view of the Imoon terrain, and you will be able to build various battle structures using a combination of cash you earned and a fixed number of structure drops. You begin with only a simple machine gun, but as you earn more money, you can research different structures, including specialized air cannons and block walls, which prevent the enemy from passing a certain area for awhile. All of the different structures you can unlock are able to be upgraded several times throughout the game, although, as you might expect, your upgrades and unlocked structures reset once you finish a level.
One of the most interesting facets of Savage Moon is that your foes are not just mindless drones. The Insectocytes are very smart and are not afraid to fight back against you by destroying the towers and blockades you spent so much time building. Luckily, you will be able to research a repair facility, but that still doesn't help the inner turmoil you feel when one of your towers (that you paid good money for!) comes crashing down.
Another cool facet that allows for a little bit more strategy is the presence of command bonuses, which allow you to beef up either your cashflow, structure defense, or firepower effectiveness. However, when you use one of these bonuses, the other command features will decrease. For instance, if you decide to temporarily increase the amount of money you get when you take down enemies, your weapons will be a little less effective and vulnerable to damage. This facet adds yet another level of tactics to an already-saturated game, and it gives enthusiastic players yet another element to play around with, which is definitely welcome in a genre burgeoning with new ideas.
One unique aspect of Savage Moon that sets it apart from other tower defense titles is it's layered playing field. Enemies can come from below the ground or up in the air, and you will have to actively look above and below to find out where the enemy is coming from. However, to make this process a little bit easier, you will have the ability to look "through" your different structures. By default, you have a pretty comprehensive top-down view of each area you are required to protect, but there are some things you just can't see from above, especially when you have enemies that come from underground! Luckily, Savage moon combats this by allowing you to select one of your own structures and pressing a button to see the landscape from that perspective.