Defense Technica is all business when it comes to setting up the game's plot and tone. The tale goes that Earth had set off across the galaxy in the year 3012 only to discover two new civilizations known as the Cluff and Hergus. The three civilizations struck a peace treaty that would see all three groups prosper for the time being, but the Hergus was eventually overtaken by a fourth party known as the Hardliners. This group would break the treaty and attack Earth and its population in a war that few would survive. A new counterattack is being formed to take out the threat of the Hardliners once and for all while saving the remaining human population, and the player is that resistance. While the storyline of Defense Technica isn't the most prominent feature of the game, it does set a serious tone for the rest of the game that reverberates through every other design choice in the game.
Defense Technica likely won't draw in gamers that are burned out on the tower defense genre, but it isn't a bad game by any stretch. There are over 40 different towers included in the new release that can be placed and upgraded to defend a Core power supply from invading enemies. Like any tower defense title, Defense Technica awards players for defeating waves of enemies with an in-game currency used to build additional towers and to purchase upgrades for existing towers. Some of the weapons included in the game are machine guns, lasers, homing rocket launchers, flamethrowers, mortars and more. When upgrading these weapons, they gain more attack range, damage per second or possibly turn into a more powerful version of the current weapon altogether. It's basic stuff here, but its a proven formula that many players will still have a lot of fun with throughout the game's meaty campaign.
Players are eased into the gameplay of Defense Technica with tutorial type missions that slowly add different types of towers to the arsenal in matches where the player can hardly lose. Once a stage has been cleared, a score is tallied and the player is awarded medals based on their performance in the game. These medals can be saved and used to unlock additional upgrades for towers before a new mission begins or to unlock new types of towers as well. The game isn't too grind focused, but it's important to always use medals to unlock better weapons as early as possible to make the game an easier experience. As the missions progress, it will be increasingly important to have better weapons to battle against more powerful enemies, plus it's just plain fun to look over the various upgrade trees and choose a new tower to use in the game.
One thing Defense Technica nails is in the design of enemies and bosses throughout the campaign. Enemy types are varied enough to challenge any current layout of towers and include more than ten different enemies and five boss encounters as well. The game begins with players battling against a variety of ground troops that includes cyber enhanced beasts or complete mechanical monstrosities. Enemy ships may fly in additional opposition against the player or battle against the player directly, so it's vital to have towers that offer good ground and air defenses. There are also plenty of boss encounters that challenge players to load up with the heaviest towers they have to try and slow the monster from reaching the core. A meter at the bottom of the heads up display tracks the current position of monsters on the field and what waves will be attacking next. Understanding the enemy is just as important as knowing the weapons available for the player, so Defense Technica is definitely a very strategic title that most players will appreciate.
Another layer of strategy is piled on once dynamic environments are thrown into the mix. Weather effects and level altering events can trigger during many missions that will require players to think fast on their feet and plan ahead to prevent the changing levels from ending a mission prematurely. Cloudy weather can cause an overcast and lower visibility causing gun and mortar weapons to lose 30% accuracy, while rain lowers the power of flamethrowers and rayguns by 30%, and electrical storms will lower the range of Magnums by 30%. Clear weather obviously doesn't affect the efficiency of any weapon, but there are still many level effects that players must always be aware of.
Larger maps in the second half of the game's campaign will allow enemies to spawn from more than one area or take different branching paths to reach the player's Core. This places a heavy strain on the importance of tower placement and the balance of resources allocated to these towers. Place too much emphasis in one area, and a level can change or enemies can take other paths to reach the Core and defeat the player. Aside from weather, the level layout can also change whether from flooding waters, explosions or other triggers that create new attack opportunities for the enemy while forcing players to rethink their strategy. It's here where Defense Technica shines and makes itself known as one of the most strategic tower defense games in the industry.
Plants vs. Zombies players will need to actively seek out defeated opponents to summon or upgrade towers more quickly. Defense Technica also introduces an additional mechanic to add one more strategic element for players with the Ether meter. This meter can be seen on the HUD underneath the current Core reading, and using up this special element can be used for a variety of functions including healing the Core or dropping a devastating attack on a group of enemies in a pinch. Managing the Ether count is nearly as important as tower placement and collecting resources, so players shouldn't look over this feature or feel too afraid to use it when necessary.
Defense Technica has a solid presentation that is perfect for the sci-fi fans among us. Defense Technica doesn't try to be funny, but always takes a serious approach whether with formidable foes that can attack in a moment's notice or in level design that is often very gritty and heavily mechanical based. The game's sound design also exudes this tone for better or worse. The voiceover for all of the action on the field is very robotic in sound and execution, and the soundtrack never fails to throw one epic theme after another at the player in an almost tiring manner. Gamers that enjoy taking their games completely serious will enjoy this design choice, while more casual gamers that enjoy a good laugh here and there or at least some lighter tones may find that Defense Technica isn't exactly for them however.
Defense Technica is currently available on Steam for a special introductory price of 20% off or $11.99, and the game also comes with Steam Trading Card support for an even greater value to many players. It's worth noting that the game also offers full controller support on Steam, and it shows in the game's keyboard and mouse controls that don't offer click and drag camera controls that many players would expect. Fans of the tower defense genre will likely still enjoy the entertaining gameplay Defense Technica, and it makes a great purchase for fans looking to dip back into the unique playstyles of the genre with a strategic new vision. Get your science fiction and tower defense fix today with Defense Technica only on Steam today!
Defense Technica is now available exclusively for Steam and can be purchased for $14.99 on PC and Mac. For more information or to purchase a copy of Defense Technica, check it out on Steam.
More than 40 Tower Types
Steam Trading Card Support
Developer: Kuno Interactive
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC (reviewed) & Mac
Release Date: October 24, 2013
Score: 8 out of 10