9.0 Editor's Choice & Game of the Month01/05/2009 by Michael Scarpelli, Pany Haritatos, Coby Utter, Russ Carroll | Source: GameTunnel
Defense Grid is pretty much the apex of the tower defense genre. There might be games out there that have more clever gameplay hooks or better storylines… but I wager you'll be exceedingly hard pressed to find a game that is the total package quite like Defense Grid.
The graphics are superb, detailed and smooth even at the closest levels of zoom and distinct even when zoomed out to the farthest point. The sound is top notch, with quality voice acting and music. Each level consists of several playable modes, and the Steam tie-in means that there are a ton of awards to attempt to unlock over time.
The Tower Defense play is for the most part traditional. There are levels where your enemies will follow a single trail, and your job is only to place turrets on the side of the action. There are also levels where enemies can follow a direct route that you must use your towers to shape into a more deadly gamut. The goal on each level is protect your energy spheres, which the alien forces are attempting to abscond with. The twist is that the spheres will return to their home much slower than enemies will move, so just because you save a sphere from one enemy doesn't mean it's safe, as something else might just pick up the energy hand-off an run with it.
Bunches of enemies, a healthy number of turrets, all with three levels of upgrade, varied terrain and superb presentation. I couldn't stop playing this one.
I really enjoy tower defense games, and I must admit I was really skeptical when I first fired up Defense Grid. What could it possibly offer that I couldn't get for free elsewhere in the plethora of Flash TD games out there?
Apparently, quite a lot. Defense Grid successfully combines almost all of my favorite TD features in one well rounded package, along with adding a few new fun additions, like some sexy 3D graphics and line-of-sight restrictions.
The game is fairly long. It took me a few days of solid gaming to get through the campaign, but once I started, I couldn't stop. The game is well polished, features excellent graphics, music and sound effects, and the gameplay is addictive. If you like TD games, Defense Grid is definitely worth a look.
It's hard to call Defense Grid a tower defense game because it so much better than everything you've likely come to expect from the genre. Defense Grid is superior to virtually every other tower defense game on the market and if you are not careful, all of your spare time will vaporize.
Across the board, Defense Grid does about everything correct. There are multiple tower types, with multiple upgrades available, and the resource management is always tight, forcing the player to think carefully about when and where to place new towers. Defense Grid is pretty difficult, but the challenge seems to scale well to your progress in the game. The enemies are numerous and varied, often times requiring a well planned defense up front and then on-the-fly building as the waves start to get to your cores.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Defense Grid does not revolutionize the tower defense genre, but is solid in every aspect with a few interesting twists. However, the presentation for Defense Grid is top-notch. It's in full 3D with tons of flashy effects, great looking models with smooth animations, and terrific level design. The sheer beauty of sitting back and watching all of the incoming enemies being torn apart by your meticulous defense system is terrific entertainment.
Defense Grid doesn't do anything new really. It is a tower defense game and it plays very much like most tower defense games. Sure it has its own unique twists on the formula, but at the end of the day it's a tower defense game.
For all that, it's one of the best tower defense games I've played. With gorgeous visuals, solid voice work and a story to move things along, the production values are high. So is the quality of the level design, which makes the entire package nearly impossible to put down. It feels like the tower defense game that Blizzard would make if they made one. I mean intentionally. It the perfection of so much in the genre that it really stands apart while being similar.
Defense Grid is so fun to play I just couldn't score it less than a 9. Though it really isn't innovative in anything beyond its presentation, I was absolutely riveted to it.