Defense Grid DLC: You Monster Review (PC-Steam, XBLA)
Regarding spoilers: Unlike some Defense Grid expansions, You Monster has a significant storyline. Because a meaningful review must discuss at least the basic story tone and cover a few more noteworthy things these DLC stages do, the reader should keep this in mind. No specific story events will be mentioned, though certain stage stipulations will be.
One of the more distinct things about Defense Grid has been your AI partner. His enthusiasm and pronounced accent made him easy to relate to, and he helped fill in some of the slower gaps in the game’s flow of play. This makes You Monster especially interesting, since it seeks to contrast him with an almost exact opposite: GLaDOS from Portal. On the surface, most of your play across this DLC pack’s eight new stages will be the same as previous maps… it’s only when you get a bit further in that GLaDOS’ trademark attitude of detached, semi-polite cruelty mixed with lots of deadpan sarcasm starts to entertain the player.
Like every other Defense Grid map, the stages in You Monster require you to build a series of towers to keep the aliens away from your power cores. At first, all of this is handled exactly like it has been in previous stages; the first map is somewhat hard, but nothing too out of line. After that, GLaDOS becomes both a story element and a game mechanic as she starts changing the rules. Aliens might come from undisclosed entrances, and you may find yourself suddenly banned from using a certain tower type. In one of the more creative stages, you only get one tower type to build and the rest of your tower network is provided automatically; your challenge then becomes to use your sole tower type to maximize profit and herd the aliens to where you can do the most damage.
On one hand, this is You Monster’s greatest strength. Many of its stages use Portal’s art style to excellent effect, and GLaDOS’ fully voiced lines are simultaneously entertaining and enraging; exactly as she should be. Combined with the stages being outright devious and cruel, this is a convincing Portal experience in Defense Grid. At the same time, this is its most noteworthy problem. You have to go in knowing the game is going to mess with you, that it’s going to pull some nasty surprises that may require you to completely restart the stage with a whole new strategy, and there will be a lot of trial-and-error play. You Monster is for experienced Defense Grid players who are willing to put up with these frustrations, or are particularly interested in finding the solution to very hard challenges; those of you who enjoy ’no cores lost’ play-throughs could be busy for a very long time!
Your $5 USD/400 Microsoft points will net eight challenging Portal-themed maps to play on, with a GlaDOS-centric plot and all the hilarious voice work that implies. There are also several new challenge modes to go with them, so players will get plenty of content. If you’re willing to tolerate the higher difficulty and intentional use of cheap shots at the player via sudden rules changes, You Monster is actually pretty fun and makes a worthwhile expansion to Defense Grid!
For more reviews on this game and many others head to Game Rankings
Our Rating for Defense Grid DLC: You
Monster Review (PC-Steam, XBLA)
solid tower defense play with all the charm of Portal’s presentation, You
Monster is a strong addition to the game.