Published on April 23rd, 2016 | by Dan Soliman1
Quick question: When’s the last time a Tower Defense game pit you against a robotic freezer, a giant teddy bear missing an eye and some kind of genetically modified jello? If you said either “recently” or “can you repeat the question, young man?”, then you’ve already played Timenauts or you’re a shameless liar, old man.
Timenauts is a free-to-play, single-lane Tower Defense game, which for the uninitiated means that the player has a base which spawns different class types—tanks, ranged fighters and damage-heavy brawlers—while the enemy base spawns minions. The goal is to clear the lane of minions and destroy the enemy base. It’s a rather straightforward objective, but Timenauts sets itself apart from the pack with its absurd humor, a huge number of unlockables and a pretty neat PvP mode.
For my sixth Timenauts battle in Adventure mode, I selected a horse with a shotgun, a Hulk Hogan-esque tank named Holkan (tagline: “I’ll hit you so hard your poop will have bruises”) and a volleyball-wielding, bikini-clad girl Sandy. The robotic rabbit in charge of the team bid us adieu and we charged forth to meet some kind of nefarious goo or what-have-you. Certain characters, like Sandy, only take 1 level while Holkan takes 4 levels. This is where the strategy comes in; ideally you would send a tank in first to soak up damage while other classes deal damage from behind, but if you wait for the meter to reach full capacity, your base will likely be destroyed. Luckily, I had had enough experience at this point to send out Sandy and a brawler, closing with Holkan, culminating in my success. After the battle, I was made aware that I’d collected enough DNA to unlock a new character! And this, quite honestly, is the best part of the game. For now, I get to read their hilarious tagline.
It’s not a knock against Timenauts specifically, but rather the limitation of the single-lane Tower Defense genre that any two battles are quite similar. However, the huge number of unlockable bases, characters and power-ups keep things relatively interesting. The story mode can get quite challenging, but I’ve never needed to grind excessively to get past a tough level. As for the Arena mode, I never felt woefully outmatched going up against those that paid for upgrades, so this definitely doesn’t feel like a play-to-win game. The music is nicely done, with a mixture of heroic-sounding symphonic melodies for the menus and up-tempo electronic pop for the battles.
Overall, Timenauts is fun, whacky and easy to get into. The story primarily serves to make the characters zany, but it’s novel. If you’re looking for robust, varied gameplay, however, it may not be the tonic for you. But if you’re in need of a chortle or perhaps an embarrassingly-high-pitched giggle, DeNA’s Timenauts is what you are looking for.
Is it Hardcore?
Summary: Timenauts delivers with levity everything a Tower Defense game should.