One thing I always appreciate in gaming is when a game commits totally to a theme. It works it into every aspect of the game and is proud to have done so. This is what Crypto: Against All Odds does so well. It’s a tower/lane defence game that does everything possible to make it feel like you are enacting a server attack on cryptocurrency. It’s good fun too once its gets going.
Crypto is a tower defence game in the same vein as Plants Vs Zombies. Everything comes at you in lanes and you place things in the lane to defend against them. In Crypto, you have six lanes to defend but before you can do anything you must place down mines to mine the currency you can then use to spend on attacks and defences. The mines come from a coin currency that you pick up by killing larger enemies, the currency used to build your towers comes from your mines. They all take up slots in your lanes though so early on in each level you’ll need to juggle placing mines, waiting for currency and wondering if you place down some less powerful towers first or hold on for better more expensive towers if you can.
Towers and abilities range a lot and new ones are unlocked almost every level for the first 20 missions. Some shoot down lanes, some shoot across three, some can shoot behind or to their sides, some have damage areas like bombs and some hug enemies and detonate on them. Half the towers also shut down and hide when enemies get close and every tower has a shooting range so all of this needs to get taken into account. Usually levels are won if you survive all the waves or lost if three enemies breach all the towers and hit the firewall behind you. Where and what you place towers is key to all this and you’ll need to also mine new spots to place towers on at the same time.
This sounds very hectic and it is… after the first ten levels. The game spends a third of its time building you up really slowly and then it starts to unleash some decent difficulty spikes that will force you to change tried and tested tactics. It will only give you certain towers for a level and if you aren’t use to using them, it takes a few goes to get it right. I personally enjoyed the challenge, especially from around level 18 onwards. Crypto introduces backdoors which means enemies spawn right up against your towers and start either smashing them up or floating through them as they hide. It kept me on my toes but you have to slog through a few early levels that feel too slow and tutorial focused without really giving you any trouble.
Outside of the main need to survive, each level can give you two additional stars for added challenges. There is also an endless wave styled game which hands you your arse quite quickly as it goes at breakneck speed. Levels are initiated through crypto forums and you chat with other server admins. I liked the idea more than the execution as it went over my head but I did like that each tower was named after a real currency and you could read a little bio about it too. Graphically and thematically, the game is a treat. It just takes a bit of time to get going. One extra oddity the game has are a couple of arcade inspired bonus levels. One is a breakout/arkanoid clone (controller didn’t work with it though so I had to jump to the mouse) for example. It gives a nice change of pace although they didn’t feel in keeping with the rest of the game.
If you are looking for techie version of Plants Vs Zombies, Crypto Against All Odds is your choice. I found the game to be fun to dive into and whilst things start slow, you often find yourself quickly overwhelmed and so you’ll be on your toes through its campaign missions.
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