by Image & Form
Reviewed by Philip "Pocket
Squirrel" Wesley (Deluxe Version Review 12/07/2015)
Size: 49 BLOCKS on the eShop. (Verified
by our Download Guide)
Save: SD Card Backup/1 Slot
Works with: DSi Ware Software
ESRB Rated: E10
Rating Descriptions: Mild Cartoon Violence
View): Try it out if
you are a fan of Tower Defense,.
Disclosure: This game was
purchased by the reviewer.
rather enjoy Tower Defense style games and I became interested
in trying this one out after the release of SteamWorld Dig. I was not
sure if I would do a review of the game until SteamWorld Heist was
announced. So, I decided to do a review of this game and SteamWorld Dig
on the week of the release of SteamWorld Heist. Think of this as the
first bold entry in a SteamWorld Week!
Most of my experience with Tower Defense comes from games like
Defense of the Ancients and Plants VS Zombies. The world of SteamWorld
Dig is quite interesting enough that I had to leap backwards in time
and try out this particular chapter in the SteamWorld universe. It
feels like the more SteamPunk elements of the SteamWorld franchise are
not completely in place at the beginning of this particular game, but
the world building is solidly in place.
The basic idea of SteamWorld is that you control a Steam Powered
Robot Sheriff in a world where some minerals are food and water is the
most important resource. People exist, but all of the humans have
devolved a bit. In this game, you play a Sheriff who has to hire robots
to protect the Gold mines around Cowbot City. Yes, the game does have a
wild west theme to it and a little bit of robotic fun and frivolity.
The robots are using the Gold as food, but the humans want to steal it
for some weird reason.
Someone has to stop them from doing that and you are that someone!
So, is this introduction to the universe of SteamWorld any good?
Let us doff our fancy hats, which are surprisingly missing from this
game, and find out!
general design of the game is that you start with a set amount
of money that you use to set up robots in set positions of the map to
defend your goal. Each robot type has a different type of ability and
strength level. One tower is really powerful but damages other towers,
one tower slows enemies, and one tower requires manually selecting
enemies to fire upon. The other two towers are a standard one and one
that fires rapidly, but costs more. There are five tower types, six
enemy types, and about a handful of maps. The game is a little light on
content, so it makes up for that by having two difficulty levels for
fans of Tower Defense: Easy and Normal, which really should be marked
as Manageable and Ridiculous.
While the gameplay is simple to pick up, the actual game has
some dramatic difficulty spikes that make it a bit more rough to get
into. You keep losing until you figure out a decent placement that lets
you survive. Getting a perfect on some of the later maps is quite a
daunting task. Therefore, this game is not really for people who are
not familiar with Tower Defense. In comparison to a Field Runners or
Plants VS Zombies; SteamWorld Tower Defense is more for a person who is
already familiar with the gameplay of your average Tower Defense title
and is looking for a new challenge.
Liked: This game has some
teeth to it in the difficulty department and makes up for a lack of
variety by having an almost unfair difficulty level. It is a fun game
and well worth the price of admission if you are a veteran or fan of
the Tower Defense genre.
Hated: If you are new to
the Tower Defense genre, this is not a game that should be your first
introduction to the genre. It also lacks a lot of variety and balance
in comparison to other games in this genre. Which is a bit frustrating
because the game plays well and has a lot of potential that I feel is
not being tapped.
feels like there are only two songs in the entire game and,
while good, they can get a little distracting. The music feels like a
mix between machine sounds and a low "gutteral" Western Jazz fusion.
Sound effects are appropriate and can often give you hints about what
is happening off out of your zoomed in view. Generally, I recommend
turning the music OFF in some of the later levels, because you want to
be able to hear the sounds a bit more. There is a foghorn sound at the
beginning of each wave and you will be able to hear the difference in
some of the turrets.
However, you can not tell the differences between kinds of
enemies by their sounds. You would expect that an enemy carrying
dynamite might have a sizzle sound accompanying it's presence in the
play field. The Nuke Guy looks like he might make a muttering sound as
he moves, but he stays silent. Also, I think it would be a bit funnier
if the enemies made more noises when they died.
Liked: The music is
from Allister Brimble, who's done a "Western" game before on the
Spectrum and Commodore 64 called Wild West Seymour, and the music here
is pretty good. The sound effects are good, but the real issue with the
music and sound in this game is...
Hated: .... that
there is not very much of it. Seriously, the game needs more sound
effects from the enemies and more musical compositions.
play control on this game is almost entirely touch based. You
can tap and drag your cursor over money or to set up which enemies to
target. For example, if you have a "Sniper" unit that manually fires,
you might want to pinpoint the one enemy in a crowd of enemies that is
holding dynamite, thus taking out an entire line of the vile critters.
You can also drag the stylus across units and hit the R or L button to
quickly upgrade them. Generally, this game is about memorizing the
waves of the enemies and adapting your strategy to fit with those
waves. You can also move the screen with the Directional Pad OR by
holding down the Stylus and dragging to move the screen. In the heat of
combat, I did find myself accidentally placing units when I was trying
to move the screen. It would be nice to have an option to just have the
Directional Pad move the map, allowing me to just use the stylus to set
units. Maybe a "Grab Visible Money button" would be good too.
The game feels like it was made by an enthusiast of the Tower
Defense genre that felt that too many games are too lenient on the game
player. The issue with that design is that, often, you limit the appeal
of the game to your audience. Generally, the game feels like there are
a lot of good aesthetic design elements coupled with fairly basic
gameplay that feels incomplete.
Liked: I like the
look of the game and the challenge it provides, however...
Hated: ... this
game has some issues that make it feel like it should have spent a
little more time cooking. I feel like there must have been a lot of
great ideas on the cutting room floor of the garage (or office) where
this game was given life.
(Free Ideas For Game Designers! From a QA Drone.)
are a few things I would change about this game. In fact, I
think I will go ahead and number them from ONE to TEN, in an easy to
read list. Yes, this feature of our reviews is always a bit
presumptious, but it does help to frame our criticism. Also,
1. This game needs a main "character" to show up in the
cutscenes at the beginning and end of each level. The character could
be just talking to a speaker, but being able to pick a "character"
could give the game more of a
personal feel for the player. Maybe the character could look damaged
when you lose and triumphant when you win.
2. The game needs a few more maps and some of those maps could
have had things like walls that block turrets from seeing enemies, or
mud that slows down the humans. Maybe one level could have had fire
that slightly injures the humans, but makes them faster by negating the
effects of the Bartender robot.
3. You can see the rank of a unit by tapping it, but it would be
better to have a physical representation of the rank by changing the
color of the unit or making the unit more robust.
4. It would be really nice to have more music and sound effects.
I would like to hear what kind of enemies have entered the map before I
can see them. Also a music/sound slider where I could lower and raise
the volume of the individual audio sections.
5. The ability to lock map movement to just the Directional Pad
as a part of the options.
6. The game really needed to have two "menu" styles. One would
be "Story" mode and the other would be a "Challenge" mode. The reason
for dividing those would be for the next thing I would change about
7. If we kept Story apart from Challenge, the ability to carry
over the remaining money from previous levels in the Story mode would
be superb. Although they would have to lock your Story Playthrough to
one difficulty level through out. They could also make the game more
difficult to compensate.
8. This could also allow the Challenge mode to be more editable.
They could add another layer of difficulty and also allow the full
spectrum of units to be used in previously beaten levels, if you beat
them in perfect.
9. A little more animation and some kind of in-game
encyclopedia that listed the Damage Stats and HP for the units and
enemies would be good.
10. I would like to spend a little bit of that money that would
carry over in the "Story" mode on hats for the player character.
Those additions would have increased development times and costs,
but it would be a neat bit of polish to this game. It feels like a very
rough gem that has not been polished to a fine sheen before being
served as lunch.
(Recommended If You Like...)
you a fan of Tower Defense? Do you have about $5 and you want to
try something with a mean bit of challenge? Well, you will like
SteamWorld Dig for the difficulty and rough nature of it. I would be a
bit remise to call it the "Demon Souls of Tower Defense" because the
game is missing a bit of the balance that accompanies unforgiving
games. However, if you really want a bit more challenge and are willing
to sacrifice the cost of a good bagel and schmear for Breakfast, check
out SteamWorld Tower Defense.
I find this title to be a bit frustrating
because I see it as an unpolished game with a lot of fun potential that
seems to have been left on the cutting room floor. If there were ever
an "HD" or "Director's Cut" for SteamWorld Tower Defense, I feel that a
lot of the issues that hold it back could be overcome fairly easy. This
is a bit like a Geode in that there is a shiny, brilliant game hidden
in a plain rock. The problem is that no one has bothered to take a pick
axe to split that rock open and reveal the lovely gem formations
Play Control/Game Design: ***
Star Total: 45
Personal Opinion Merit: 19
Final Score: 64%
Letter Grade: C