Merging Tower Defense
Guardian Chronicle, a tower defense strategy game developed by LINE Games, combines tower defense and merging mechanics to create a complex strategy game. Both mechanics work together well, but the game also has a few setbacks with resource grinding.
The title overall plays like a typical tower defense game. You place your characters on the map to defend against hordes of monsters. The big difference is how you place your units. You don’t get to choose which characters you place. Instead, your units come in a randomized queue. The type of unit does not change its cost either. So you don’t have to worry about getting stuck on an expensive unit you can’t summon. Instead, the summoning cost starts at ten and increases by ten for each unit you summon. What makes this interesting is the merging mechanic.
You can merge units that are the same type and level together. For example, if I have two first level lava golems, I can combine them together to get a level two unit. This unit might not be a lava golem though. The unit type is determined by whatever is next in your queue. So I can mix two lava golems together, but if Icing is the next character in my queue, I’m going to summon a level two Icing. This adds a new layer of strategy to the game, especially when you consider the special abilities of your units.
I have a unit that becomes stronger when he’s placed by himself. He can’t have any other units in the surrounding squares. There’s a limited number of spaces, so summoning more units to merge is difficult when one unit takes up all the spaces surrounding it. It’s easy to activate his ability at the start, but later down the line, I have to strategically place my units so I can continue to merge and level up. It’s particularly hard to merge enough times to get a high level version of that character, but the power boost is worth it.
Competitive and Cooperative
Guardian Chronicle has two main modes. You can play versus or co-op. In versus mode, you try to outlast your opponent against endless waves of monsters. You don’t directly interact or interrupt the enemy. The two of you just compete to see who can get the furthest. You can also see each other’s boards so you can gauge how well you’re doing.
There isn’t much interaction between you and your opponent, which is disappointing. It would be more interesting if there were units that could buff monsters attacking your opponent or stun their units. Sadly, the most you can do while watching your opponent is gauge how much longer you should plan to survive. If they’re starting to struggle at the same time you are, you might consider placing more units instead of merging so you can squeeze what little manpower you can out of them before you’re overwhelmed.
The co-op mode is a lot more interactive. The map is split into two sections. You can place units on your half and your ally can place units on the other half. But you both play on the same map. Enemies walk in from two different paths, but both paths combine into one that leads to your combined base. This is why co-op is more interactive.
If you’re doing particularly well defending against your own lane, you can place more units in the center lane to help your ally. If you’re struggling, your ally can place more units in the center lane to assist you. You can directly interact with one another. Both of you share a health pool as well. If one of you is slacking, it could cost the game for both of you. Eventually, you have to lose. The enemy waves are endless. But you gain points for lasting a certain amount of rounds.
You can also invite friends to play co-op mode with you. This way you can choose units that best complement each other beforehand. Co-op mode does have play limitations. You can only play it three times a day, but this limitation isn’t too bad. Co-op games tend to last longer than competitive games and you can play as many competitive matches as you like, so you’re never locked out.
The only problem I had while playing Guardian Chronicle was the gold currency. I had an easy time getting new units and getting the materials to enhance them. I couldn’t get enough gold to continue enhancing my units however. For some reason, gold is really hard to farm in this game compared to enhancing materials and units. Otherwise, you get very little from winning competitive and co-op games.
Most of the gold you get comes from chests, achievements and daily quest rewards. The game starts you out with a hefty sum of gold, but once it runs out, it’s almost impossible to get more, unless you open up your wallet. You have to grind for multiple days just to enhance one unit one time. Out of everything in this game, this is the biggest problem I’ve found. The gameplay is interesting and strategic, but it’s hard to make any real progress in the game with the gold limitations.
Fun Gameplay and Expensive Upgrades
Guardian Chronicle is a fun game. The merging mechanics mesh well with the tower defense. The characters are varied and give you options for loadouts. The only problem is grinding gold. If gold was easier to acquire, this game could be nearly perfect.
Is It Hardcore?
Guardian Chronicle offers interesting mechanics and is an overall fun tower defense game, when you aren’t stuck grinding for gold. 4/5