Defense Grid: The Awakening is a highly advanced tower defense game with stunning graphics. I purchased it through Steam during the boxing day sales for $14.95 US, but it usually retails for $19.95 US.
The basic premise of any tower defense game is to prevent waves of units from getting from point A to point B. You do this but creatively constructing mazes of towers, which slowly eliminate the units. Eliminating units provides resources which allows you to build more towers. The units will follow the path you create through your maze, but if you block them they either attack or simply walk through the towers. There are usually multiple tower types which perform different functions. Strategic placement of the towers is essential to achieving victory.
In Defense Grid there are ten tower types, each of which can be upgraded 3 times:
- Gun: good bang for your buck
- Inferno: AoE type damage, but ultimately weak versus single units
- Temporal: slows down the speed of the units
- Concussion: another AoE weapon which can fire in all directions at once
- Meteor: a long-range slow firing high damage tower that comes with a price tag
- Laser: high damage to single targets, but expensive
- Cannon: long-range heavy damage, but can't attack up close
- Tesla: causes more damage the longer it charges
- Missile: an anti-air missile weapon (yes they have flying units)
- Command: a tower that increases revenue per monster killed and reveals stealth within its radius
The game has excellent replayability with almost all missions supporting multiple challenge modes, which include:
- Story (need to complete this one first)
- Story Challenge
- Resource Limit (e.g. you only have 20k of spending)
- Tower Limit (e.g. you can only build 20 towers)
- Grinder (they just keep coming till something gives)
- Practice (you can't lose!)
Every time you complete a mission the game gives you rank in comparison to all other players in the world. This provides for another element of challenge to the game. I usually end up around the 2000 mark, but every so often I break the sub 100s.
Defense Grid was created by Mark Terrano, the lead designer of Age of Empires II, and for $20 makes for one hell of an awesome little game. Perfect for filling the gaps between MMOs and general time wasting. The Steam metascore for Defense Grid was 81 /100, but I'd happily give it 88. Definitely worth the price.