Orcs Must Die! is the latest release from Robot Entertainment, a fledgling studio whose only previous game was Age of Empires Online, a free-to-play RTS. Orcs Must Die! sets itself firmly as a member of the Tower Defence genre, where you control an apprentice wizard tasked with defending rifts from an increasingly large horde of marauding orcs. Using swords, crossbows and a variety of traps and magic, your objective is to simply kill as many orcs as possible, without letting any escape. With the recent glut of Tower Defence games being released, does Orcs Must Die! do anything to set itself apart from the pack, or does it get lost in the horde?
Boredom Must Die! - Considering the amount of Orcs that you kill through the course of Orcs Must Die!, I’m pretty sure that this game amounts to genocide. There are so many orcs to kill, and so many ways to kill them (each one more satisfying than the last) that you will constantly be thinking up new ways to create carnage. With a huge supply of levels, and the completion of each one awarding you a new form of trap (which can all be upgraded), you’re constantly on your toes in each new level as you try to figure out every bottleneck, every blind corner, and every bottomless pit in order to maximize your killing. Those sensitive to cruelty should never even set eyes on this game.
Seriousness Must Die! - The protagonist, whilst mute for the majority of the game, does come up with some quips and wisecracks that will put a smile on your face as you brutally slay thousands of oncoming orcs. I guess in his situation, faced with endless numbers of foes, that it’s a bit of a laugh or cry situation, right? I’m certainly glad he chose the former option, as his one-liners, observations and little jigs at the end of each level certainly made me feel less guilty for the pain I had inflicted over the previous few minutes.
WHAT THE ORC IS THIS?
Narrative Must Die! - With a B-movie-esque title such as Orcs Must Die!, narrative and character development don’t really seem to be of the highest priority, and if you come into the game expecting reasons why the orcs must die or what it is exactly that you’re defending, you are going to be disappointed. Your nameless protagonist is there solely to kill orcs, set traps, and do an amusing little dance once each level is complete. You don’t even meet any other characters, aside from an aged wizard who pops his clogs during the prologue.
Variety Must Die! - In my positives above, I mentioned how you are constantly rewarded with new traps in your quest for orc extermination. Even with all these new toys to play with, I found myself quickly becoming bored with the game, as there never seemed to be anything new to do with them. Although the levels are laid out slightly differently each time, the objectives remain exactly the same, and it’s not like there’s much depth to the narrative to encourage you to push through the static gameplay.
Orcs Must Die! is not a bad game, and I hope that the review I have written explains that. The main problem I found with it is that throughout my time with the game, I never had as much fun as I felt I should be having. The protagonist is amusing, killing orcs in multiple ways is always fun, yet there was always a sense that there should be something more to the experience, almost as if the game as it was was a little flat and one-note. I guess tower defence games only really have one objective to them, and that is ‘kill as many attackers as you can as quickly as possible’, but Orcs Must Die! seemed to do this in a very mundane way. As I said previously, it’s not a bad game, and those who enjoy tower-defence will find some enjoyment from it, but I can’t really say I enjoyed it.
How is the PS Vita launch going to be?
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