|System: Xbox 360, PC|
|Dev: Robot Entertainment|
|Pub: Microsoft Studios|
|Release: October 05, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Violence|
Part of that confidence comes from the game's variety of enemies, each of which poses a unique challenge. While regular orcs will simply charge in, allowing you to pick many of them off with the crossbow, crossbow orcs will attack you directly from a distance, forcing you to keep moving or pull back. Ogres take very little damage from traps and are immune to basic physics plates, able to stun you if they get too close, while gnoll hunters actively pursue you rather than the rift, poisoning you and moving in for the kill. There are flying enemies as well, some of which explode on the ground after being slain. Their deaths are satisfying, whether they're hurtled into a lava pit, impaled on spikes, gibbed by blade traps, or incinerated on a brimstone floor panel. (The gore can be switched off from the options menu if you're not into it.) The traps sound meaty, while the music fits the ambience, though it doesn't particularly stand out.
There's no multiplayer, but the game does have online leaderboards, which rank one by career kills as well as by score on each specific level. Furthermore, completing the game on War Mage difficulty unlocks "Nightmare," which offers confident players a stiffer challenge and extends the game's lifespan by at least a few more hours. That said, I can see this being the sort of game that feels worn out after a playthrough or two, though the ability to go back to earlier maps with the full spellbook unlocked is a delicious way to satisfy one's appetite for mayhem, allowing one to try out some new strategies.
In all, Orcs Must Die! is a well-crafted, polished endeavor with gameplay that is enjoyable right down to its core, a charming aesthetic, and almost the exact opposite of a plot. It's comedic-fantasy fare, light and fun, but complex. It would be nice if there was more content, since what's there can be digested in a matter of hours, but a game that leaves its player complaining that he wants more has done something very, very right.
CCC Contributing Writer