Whilst it pains me to write Defense and not Defence due to the USA/UK spelling differences, I’ll let it slide. Unholy Alliance: Tower Defense is one of the best balanced tower defence games I’ve played in a good while. It is a love letter to the genre from developers who get what the strategy and fun is about it. It also throws in a few good twists too.
In Unholy Alliance Tower Defense you’ll be facing off against humans and aliens, whom are led by an alien god called Ratesh. Each faction can only be killed by certain towers and since all the levels have multiple routes, you’ll need to think tactically about your placements. Two towers hurt humans, two hurt aliens, one fire tower hurts both. You can place towers down almost anywhere alongside paths which gives you lots of freedom to experiment but the way waves switch about what faction comes from where, you’ll have those options funnelled down somewhat.
Alongside the five towers you’ll have six powerups running on cooldown meters to manage. These can be used together in an aggressive manner to either boost tower stats, freeze and nuke enemies or set off mines to co-ordination. One of these is a decoy which became my go to. You can place it on the path and block enemies who have to take it down to progress. This bunches up enemies and then makes the freeze/nuke combo potent. It also takes the heat away from your extractors you must protect each level. Not every enemy has to reach them to attack them. Snipers and rocket launchers can fire from afar and this means you’ll need to react accordingly to throw them off the scent. You can also sell the decoys for extra cash which is really helpful early in the game before you unlock gold mines later in the experience. Aliens have bespoke nuances too such as a dash when first hit or multiplying the longer than stay alive.
All this comes together beautifully in a very well balanced game. You have 20 levels with 3 difficulty levels and 2 challenge modes each. A star is awarded for each pass and those stars unlock tower, power up and extractor upgrades. Towers becomes more powerful with larger radius of attacks and quicker reloads, powerups are more powerful with shorter cooldowns and the extractor gains HP and a blast radius attack too. It’s just really thoughtfully done. You can’t over power everything by cheesing the game and you aren’t hemmed in with a stingy budget either. This is my kind of tower defence game.
There was just one blight that annoyed me for the final third of the game – slow down. As the game gets busier and Ratesh joins the party with an ‘eye of Sauron’ style attack that enrages enemies to make them more powerful, the game slows to a crawl. It is as if the game can’t handle everything that’s going on and enemy and tower attacks go about 50% slower, sometimes feeling like more. The game didn’t crash but it did feel strange and my cursor was moving just fine too. If you can look passed that, you still have a great game here. Hopefully some optimisation will come later down the line.
Unholy Alliance Tower Defense is a great addition to the genre. The clear split of towers per faction works well and the options and proactive ways to turn the tide of battle keep you engaged and not passively watching waves come in. A hidden gem of the genre that deserves some fans.
Review copy provided by developer.
Unholy Alliance: Tower Defense
A love letter to the genre offering up great ideas and great balanced gameplay.
Excellent gameplay mechanic balancing.
The different factions having their own towers to be used upon keeps strategy open.
Feels active rather than passive, which a lot of poorly balanced TD games feel like.
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