|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: DoubleSix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 7, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
As much as fans of the crude, often blasphemous, and inanely genius animated series may wish to the contrary, South Park just doesn't have a great track record when it comes to video game tie-ins. Considering most of the titles have wound up being nothing more than bare-bones, sloppily-made affairs featuring the show's well-known cartoon characters slapped into them, it's natural for gamers to approach a South Park-themed tower defense game with mixed feelings of hope and dread. Surprisingly, low expectations aren't the only savior of South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!; it's actually a decent game.
Followers of the show will be pleased to find South Park's journey into tower defense territory isn't toned down that much from the cartoon, and much of the obligatory crass remarks and profanity that enthusiastic viewers have come to expect are found here fully intact and un-bleeped. Players who are easily offended will probably find themselves slackjawed by some of the more colorful comments spewed from the diminutive hero quartet, which include snippets like, "man, this is f*cking weak," "these guys are total p***ies," "suck my balls," and frequent gay remarks, among other choice phrases. Needless to say, this is definitely not a game to fire up around visiting relatives, your significant other, or gram and gramps, unless they're down for some crudity.
The game opens in the wintry mountaintops of Colorado, where an unknown evil force has decided to send an assortment of horrific, deadly monstrosities shambling towards South Park in an effort to erase the oddball run-down town off the planet. Cartman takes note of the strange invaders and decides to mount a resistance to save his hometown. Gathering his pals Stan, Kyle, and Kenny, Cartman and the group of foul-mouthed grade-schoolers cobble together a piecemeal defense and fortify key locations around the neighborhood. Armed with snowballs and the ability to erect an unusual assortment of towers to beef up your gimpy arsenal, you'll dig in for some classic tower defense gameplay with a few fresh twists.
At the start of each level, you'll spend the limited funds you have available to place defensive towers at important spots (as long as they're over a patch of snow) and construct maze-like snow walls to route enemy forces into your line of fire. The timer starts ticking immediately, so there's no dillydallying before foes start charging in. Slaughtering waves of invaders makes them drop coins that you can snatch up and spend on beefing up your fortifications. All of this falls under the standard tower defense rubric. Where LGTDP does things a little differently is you can move your characters around the field directly and engage in battle in real-time while everything else is going on around you.
In the campaign, you can only directly control one character at a time, but most levels require you to juggle between the four. Each has different special abilities that can be unleashed once they're fully charged. Cartman summons forth a cataclysmic fire that destroys all the enemies in sight, Kenny makes all the foes drop change without killing them, and Kyle and Stan have healing and speed boost powers. All of the kids can chuck snowballs and lay down towers, although they have different movement speeds to factor in. A tap of the RB cycles between them. Anyone you're not directly controlling will stay in place and fling snowballs at nearby enemies, which can be used strategically as well.
The aforementioned horrific, deadly monstrosities that come crawling, running, and slathering at your meager fortifications throughout the game are made up of a parade of humorous guest stars from the show. Early on you'll battle cows, dirty hippies that sing, chanting underwear gnomes, Christmas critters, and other smaller adversaries. Further along in the campaign you'll encounter tougher enemies, including zombies, homeless people, terrorists, old people, and Mongolians. There are a few other funny surprises as well.