Published on September 19th, 2013 | by John Markley2
Siegecraft Defender Review
Siegecraft Defender from Crescent Moon Games is a tower defense game with a medieval fantasy setting, and a sequel of sorts to the strategy game Siegecraft. It doesn’t break any new ground in tower defense, but it does what it does pretty well and looks great doing it.
The gameplay is straightforward tower defense: build a maze of towers with different capabilities to destroy oncoming waves of hostiles before they reach your base and carry off your sheep, earning money for each enemy killed to use toward improving your defenses. There’s an experience point system that awards you points based on your performance in each stage, with new experience levels unlocking new towers to build. The towers have a medieval fantasy theme, but fill roles that should be readily recognizable to tower defense players: short-range attack, long-range attack, area effect, and towers that slow down the enemy or boost the effectiveness of other nearby towers.
There are 20 stages in the single-player campaign with two difficulty levels for each, as well as additional maps where you can fight an endless horde to see how long you can last. The stages are nicely designed for the most part, with a particularly strong emphasis on defending yourself from multiple sources of attackers. There are usually at least two entrances where ground-based enemies enter the map and at least one additional route aerial enemies fly along, so deciding how to employ your limited resources requires a good deal of thought about when to place or upgrade a particular tower as well as where. .
The gameplay is fairly solid, though flying enemies can be pretty obnoxious and seem too powerful relative to their ground-based counterparts. Even when I planned the construction of my defenses primarily around air defense, I ran into situations where my towers tore ground enemies to pieces well short of my base but still couldn’t stop swarms of flyers from getting through. Consequently, a lot more of your planning and resources have to go towards thwarting aerial attacks, which simply isn’t as interesting or fun as dealing with enemies on the ground. Many of your towers (especially the ones that do something more interesting than “damage one nearby enemy”) don’t affect flyers, and there’s nothing you can do to interfere with their attack route through clever tower placement, so killing them is mostly an exercise in brute force.
Despite that weakness, Siegecraft Defender is pretty fun. There’s a good mix of ground-based enemies and the focus on defending yourself from many avenues of attack can make for a suspenseful balancing act. The controls and user interface are clear and intuitive and you can select from three different control schemes for how to place your towers. The experience system is satisfying and well-paced, and also serves as a form of impromptu difficulty balancing. You get experience points even if you lose, albeit less of them, so if you fail a stage a few times (or go back and replay earlier ones) you can unlock higher-level towers that wouldn’t be available that early if you’d just breezed through the levels. There’s also a planned online multiplayer mode, which unfortunately was not yet implemented at the time of this review.
The graphics are beautiful with lots of detail, bright colors, and nice features like real-time shadows. The art style is attractive — cartoonish without being too silly – and well-suited to the sort of game this is. Everything is in 3D, and you can zoom in and rotate the camera to watch the action from any angle. The options screen includes a choice of four graphics settings, allowing you to adjust the level of detail if you’re playing on a less powerful device and run into performance issues. This is a much-appreciated level of customization and something I’d like to see in Android games more often.
While not innovative or without problems, Siegecraft Defender is an enjoyable tower defense game with solid mechanics and some very impressive visuals. It may be especially appealing if you’re looking for a tower defense game that has high production values but takes a very straightforward no-frills approach to the genre, without the additional gimmicks or incorporation of elements of from other genres with which many modern tower defense games now try to differentiate themselves.It’s not a must-have, but it’s certainly worthwhile for fans of tower defense.
Is it Hardcore?
Summary: An enjoyable, straightforward tower defense game with impressive graphics.