Tower Defence games are an interesting breed as they are often games that present ideas and then through grinding or breaking the system, you can often overcome the gameplay loop. There are some great TD games out there but absolutely loads of basic TD games that are easily manipulated or broken.
Enter 2112TD Tower Defense. This first was released on mobile and was ported to Steam this week. It is a traditional tower defence game that doesn’t want to innovate the genre or change anything up. Instead, it wants to make every decision you make count and in doing so it becomes one of the most enjoyable TD experiences I’ve had for a few years. All of this comes wrapped up in a retro late 90’s Command and Conquer aesthetic that really gels with this universe spanning zombie alien invasion. It’s great when a retro gameplay loop and style collide so well.
You only have four tower types in 2112TD but each has its strength and weakness. Fire towers can burn and sort out small clumps of enemies. Mortars cover large distances. Guns are your basic towers but very versatile. The plasma towers are more elemental and slower but deal decent damage to the bigger enemies. Each of these four towers then split into two ultimate forms, each one bringing a unique advantage such as an EMP pulse to stun enemies or radiation poisoning. This takes cash which is generated by killing enemies. All good fun.
What 2112TD gets right that so many other games gets wrong is the impact of the player. You only have a few spaces to place towers and if you aren’t efficient you’ll lose quickly. You also need to be actively using your power ups too. The ship you are protecting each round from enemies can have a gun turret equipped or its shield upgraded each level. You can also ask for an airstrike or more crucially a drone to fly from turret to turret to guard against hostile enemies and spam a missile strike on them. This is often the turning of the tide in battles on hard mode because the towers alone aren’t enough to save you. The bosses also have a habit of smashing up your towers too and so being able to shield them where you can is key to not being decimated late game.
This all works beautifully and keeps you engaged as a tactician. Upgrades drip feed through a round so every choice matters and maps have multiple routes for enemies to swing in from. None of this is new but 2112TD balances that difficulty curve and challenge beautifully. One other neat addition I enjoyed tinkering with is a barricade wall. As most levels have three or four enemy entrance points you can choose when to raise a wall to stem the enemy flow. This can help you sort out enemies arriving in a more staggered approach or if you time it with an airstrike or drone attack – you can make a deadly takedown of several enemies together. Simple – but it makes a real difference. Once campaign is completed you’ll gain access to survival mode too which pumps everything to the max and shows you just how far you can push a battle and set up. As you progress through the game you also level up with XP that converts to upgrade coins for your towers and power ups. These are crucial for your progression too and also allow you to go back and retry older missions for a higher score too.
I have little negative to say about 2112TD – it just all works excellently. There is something to be said in today’s gaming market that a game releases feeling well balanced, with challenge and doesn’t feel like it’s trying to diddle the player out of something when its ported from mobile. This is how easy to pick up TD games should be made. Enjoyable.
Review copy provided by developer. 2112TD Tower Defense is out now on Steam.
2112TD Tower Defense
A heart return to the basics of tower defence games reaps rewards for 2112TD. Recommended.
Genuine strategy prevails - you can't just grind to win.
Multiple enemy routes means you are always on your toes.
Excellent retro aesthetic matches the gameplay mood.
Great amount of content for the price.
Doesn't do anything new (and that's ok as it does everything well).
Higher Plain Games is part of the Higher Plain Network. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. There are additional perks for supporting me, such as behind-the-scenes content and downloads. You can also share the website or use the affiliate buy now links on reviews. Buying credit from CD Keys using my affiliate link means I get a couple of pence per sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. Thank you.