I enjoy all types of tower defence games (defence as I am in the UK thank you). Ezaron Defense is a simple, classic 3D tower defence game that you could mark out as a nice introduction to the genre. Its simplicity is also what stops it from being a great game though as many of its ideas are undermined by level design and lack of implementation.
Over the 20 levels, you have access to 4 towers. Archers, Cannons, Magic and Electricity. These four towers can be upgraded three times, with the third option giving you access to an A/B final form. To upgrade the towers, you collect coins from the enemies you slay in each wave. Upgrades are also locked off with research crystals. The levels are ranked in 1-3 stars if you complete them you earn these research crystals. These can be used to beef up your towers and unlock that final third tier of ultimate towers. They can also be used to purchase and upgrade some area attacks or temporary tower buffs. In order to use those attacks, you need mana which regenerates over time and that can be upgraded too.
This is all well and good but the difficulty curve is somewhat flattened by a much-vaunted side game that isn’t a game at all. Between levels, you can visit your city where you can buy and upgrade facilities. You do this with yet another currency – tools. These are earned every time you play. Each building bought and upgraded also gives you a research crystal too. Oh and final upgrades for towers cost another currency that seems to have a mind of its own. Thankfully, you can upgrade the regen of that too.
If this sounds a bit messy, it is. The game has billed itself as a city builder mini-game but there is no game here at all. It is entirely tower defence and tower defence alone. All the city does is provide you with more crystals to upgrade your towers, attacks and base stats. It is also highly cheesable. That means a few replays of earlier levels will give you enough crystals to blast through the majority of the game. Annoyingly Ezaron Defense forced me into this tactic on level 13 of 20 where I experienced a huge difficulty spike. As upgrades are permanent, I may have gone down a sub-optimal route but when there are only four towers and I’d fully upgraded them all, I had few other choices available to me.
Ezaron Defense does itself no favours only giving itself four towers too. With limited towers and limited placements, your options are… guess what… limited. I was spamming my abilities a lot to survive some waves but aside from that – and level 13 – the game was a breeze. I did like the fact that levels were larger than a single screen but I didn’t enjoy the zoom and camera options. I often found it clunky to zip around quickly and the panning of the audio is all over the place meaning you can’t rely on it to know where the next wave is coming from. Towers helpfully have options to help decide what they focus on but I wasn’t sure that anything much changed. When selecting the closest to the goal, it seemed to take it by direct line rather than where they were on the path. This made little sense to me and buggered me up a few times.
There are some nice ideas, poorly explored. Ezaron Defense plays fine and there is a 6-10 hour campaign depending on your skill level. Just don’t expect any innovation and treat it like a simple introduction to the genre and you won’t be too upset when you feel you’ve outgrown it.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Rough around the edges and not exploring all the ideas it brings to the table - Ezaron Defense is just ok.
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