Format: PC

Released: November 2015

Evil Defenders let’s you be the bad guy. Instead of being the knight in shining armour, you are the goblins, mages, ogres and demons doing your best to tower defence the good guys out of existence. It’s a refreshing take on a genre that is easily made but rarely satisfyingly pulled off.

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Each environment has hazards that can help or hinder you

Evil Defenders excels in a few key areas. Firstly – it looks beautiful. The hand drawn whimsical fairytale feel works perfectly here and the spells and effects work nicely. Secondly, each map is vastly different in look and feel. Tower layouts always change between levels but here each map has an environmental quirk that help or hinder you. Some have trap doors you can keep shut to stop more enemies attacking, others have a bog that you can pay to spew a poisonous gas at your opponents. They add a nice twist to the levels and some are quite key such as casting you tesla coil attack whilst the enemy is wading through the river so you can give more damage.

Of the towers themselves – there are only five – arrows, elemental magic, a bomber, troops and an enemy status effect caster. Along with four power ups to help you out, they form the building blocks of your assault, but the towers have a branching tree of upgrades you can buy in level from the coins gained killing enemies. Each tower has three initial levels and then can be upgraded into one of three higher levels to then be upgraded three times again. With each having different abilities, attack ranges and damage stats, the early stages are a genuinely fun as you use trial and error to see what works well and where.

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Each tower and ability can be upgraded in a variety of ways too adding an RPG-lite element to affairs

Each level initially contains 15 stars and each successful playthrough earns between 1 and 3 stars depending on how well you did. That unlocks the next difficulty level which increases the amount of waves, enemies and their stats. To combat the curve you can also upgrade your skills and towers too. You can go straight for causing more damage or spend time augmenting towers by adding freezes, stat reductions and time warps. By the time you’ve completed the 15 stars you then unlock a challenge level for that map which gives you 25 non stop waves and a limited starting budget.

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Here the snow blocks your new towers being built without a trusty price to be paid

Evil Defenders is not difficult by any stretch, although getting all the stars will take some time (I’m a good 17 hours in and not quite there just yet) but if you find yourself struggling, replaying old levels nets you more cash to spend on the upgrades tree. That way purists whom will see this as a nice lite game will enjoy the challenge, whilst newcomers and casual fans can still reach the end goal happily.

Positives

  • Intuitive controls make battles easy to understand and enjoy
  • A cute introduction to Tower Defence games
  • The upgrade system in and out of levels gives you choice and progression
  • Customising your upgrades to suit you works really well early on…

Negatives

  • …but there’s a tipping point towards the end where I am now too powerful
  • Some towers feel more worthwhile than others

Conclusion

It says a lot that I’ve spent almost as much time enjoying this as I have Defence Grid 2 so far. I go to that game for a head scratching challenge – I come to Evil Defenders to let off steam and wreck havoc with a smile. It’s charming look and feel wins you over and it’s upgrade tree keeps you coming back for more. It’s perfect for a quick round or two before taking on something more serious and challenging – but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself – especially when you are the baddie!

*For transparency – a review copy of Evil Defenders was provided by the developer. As clearly indicated in my about section, this will have no bearing on my overall review.

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