Something a little different – Orcs Must Die!

As the Firelands grind continues on for all of us, be it mains or alts, heroic bosses or even heroic Rag you are probably looking for something else to sink your teeth into. Now with Skyrim fast approaching on 11-11-2011 all of your free time may soon become consumed entirely. If you should have some free time, and I hope that you do, I highly recommend Orcs Must Die! by Robot Entertainment is an absolutely fantastic choice that fits nicely into bite size chunks of time for your amusement.

I love tower defense type games as much as the next guy…well maybe a little more than the next guy but even I have hit somewhat of a saturation point with the fairly rote game mechanics at this point. You know what i mean, plant the towers down to create a maze of death and destruction and then sit and wait for the creep to come along and get blown up. It can be fun and great when you’re multitasking or if the difficulty ramps up at a pace that suits you. Sometimes though the sit and wait aspect of the game can get a little dull. A little game called Trenched came along and while it wasn’t the first to do it, it executed the mixture of third person shooter with tower defense into once well put together game. If you have an XBox and purchase XBLA titles with it, I would also recommend checking that game out.

Orcs Must Die! is one of the newest titles to use this genre fusion and it does so beautifully. It seems to fit better with my blog as it too, such as wow, uses the medieval fantasy style blended with amazing tongue in cheek humor that makes it both light-hearted and gruesome at the same time.

In Orcs Must Die! you play the last of the War Mages defending our world from a massive invasion of Orcs, Goblins, Ogres, Kobolds, and Demons. To do this you hold the line in an array of keeps and strongholds protecting the rifts that these creatures are attempting to pass through (read: end point in most tower defenses where you ‘lives left’ tick off if hit).  You have at your disposal an array of tools of all varieties to help you achieve this goal.

The myriad of ways you can approach each level with all sorts of trap and weapon types is what makes this game so fun in my opinion. You have multiple spells and weapons all with different main and secondary attacks that can drastically change the course of battle and are even required to take down some of the bigger foes in a pinch. Your trap selection is quite large and feels like you can always find a trap for the job. Do you want to slow the enemies down? Why not try a tar pit trap, a spring trap, or a push trap. Do you want to inflict pain? Try a poisoned spike trap, arrow wall trap, or sorcerous brimstone. There are heavy hitters such as grinders, wall blade traps, and the massive swinging mace. To round off your selection, though I have not named everything, you have access to paladins, archers, and even some very good looking decoys of your main man.

Laying down traps in real time and having the visual of all of the ‘squares’ affected by it reduces the stress of trying to manage them and engaging the monsters at the same time. I recorded a video of me taking on the Stairs of Doom level and have it embedded below, provided that it works. It wasn’t my best showing and was my second try for 5 skulls. You’ll see me come close to dying at least twice and partway in I started getting nervous about jumping the chasm. In my first clear of the level I got through with no monsters passing into the rift but died jumping across right at the end which deducted one skull. Please take a look and, despite my fledgling skill at the game, see if it looks good to you!

My strategy was to take the Steel weaver path which encourages you to let your traps and guardians do all the killing when possible. I tried to reserve my spell choices to freezing monsters especially the gnoll hunters whole beeline it straight for you or your archers/paladins.

The game has twenty-four levels that can be completed on normal difficulty, and then again on nightmare difficulty for an extra challenge. The length of each level ranges from 8 to 20 minutes so you’ll get quite a lot of game-time for your $15 in the end. I am quite happy with my purchase and while this may sound like an ad (and I apologize, I’m no game reviewer), I’m merely trying to show this small indie company some love as they have put out a truly awesome game.

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3 responses to “Something a little different – Orcs Must Die!

  1. “Now with Skyrim fast approaching on 11-11-2011 all of your free time may soon become consumed entirely.”

    While ever so tempted by this game (I’ve never tried an Elder Scrolls game and have been meaning to), I have way too many gaming commitments as is. I’m actually jumping ship on WoW for a while to play SW:TOR (Not due to any issue with WoW, I’m still enjoying it, I just loved the SW:TOR beta and want to give it a chance) and I need to squeeze in Skyward Sword in the time between when my WoW sub runs out (Around 12/10) and when SW:TOR comes out. A sad thing, too, as I’m more pumped by 4.3 than either of the prior two patches (Honestly, despite loving the initial XPac, the subsequent 4.1 and 4.2 patches have left me relatively underwhelmed).

  2. I can’t blame you really. Wanting to try something new and fresh, especially one that takes place in a very appealing universe, is pretty much human nature. I wish you the best on SW:TOR (i’ll be trying it as well of course) and WoW should you return.

    Not owning a Wii puts a cramp in my Skyward Sword anticipation however I have quite a lot of respect for the game and I’ve heard/read some very good things.

    Orcs Must Die! is a downloadable title (Steam, XBLA) and at its price really fits into my schedule accordingly. I don’t play it for massive chunks at a time but my overall time played is respectable for what I payed. I also really like the fellows that made it having met quite a few of them at PAX East 2011.

    To be honest I have never really gotten into the Elder Scrolls games myself but my GF loves them and has been encouraging me to try them out. I started Oblivion but, and its bad to say this, I was a bit turned off by its slightly dated graphics and gameplay quirks. I know its a fantastic game though and when it comes to Bethesda’s recent open world games (Fallout 3 as a good example) I played the ever loving heck out of them so I think I’m ready for that experience.

    I don’t mind playing less WoW and in fact I look forward to it. I raid and will continue to report on it (main and alts) but outside of those few nights I don’t really do much else in game these days.

    • “I wish you the best on SW:TOR (i’ll be trying it as well of course) and WoW should you return.”

      I’ll almost certainly return to WoW at some point, I just want to play with the shiny new toy while all my friends are giving it a go. I did one of the beta weekends maybe a month ago and while I enjoyed it, I’d say WoW doesn’t have far to go to be definitively better. Strictly speaking, as much fun as I had with SW:TOR, I can readily admit I wouldn’t bother if it weren’t for the Star Wars license. I think the only thing that could pull me permanently away from WoW would be if they inexplicably brought SWG back from the grave in its original form.

      My one big problem is that I feel too important in TOR way too early on (I got as far as level sixteen and NPCs spoke to me as if I was a god among men). An odd complaint to have, but playing WoW, I like the feeling of simply being a cog in the machine rather than the star of the production. I just feel it’s harder to immerse myself when I know everyone’s getting the same “OMG you are totally like teh one” storyline as opposed to everyone having a more realistic equal footing.

      “Not owning a Wii puts a cramp in my Skyward Sword anticipation however I have quite a lot of respect for the game and I’ve heard/read some very good things.”

      I started playing WoW when Wrath started and it’s taken up most of my gaming time. The only game I’ve actually finished since getting into it was Golden Sun DS, but Zelda’s my all time favorite series and I simply can’t not play one. While I’m hoping for plenty of gameplay, I’m really hoping I can find the time between family life, the Holiday season and the lull between my WoW sub lapsing and starting TOR to actually get through the whole thing. It’s going to be tough considering my wife has like eight billion TV shows she watches in a one TV household.

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