Tower defense games nowadays are a dime a dozen. It’s an easy to create game, with very simple mechanics, and very little work is required of a single developer to make one. However, it is difficult to make a tower defense game that stands out in a sea of copy cats, look-a-likes, and rehashes. This is a feat that isn’t easy when your market can easily be over saturated; however the TD fad has quickly grown by opening up new opportunities for those that put forth the effort. From the success of the original Defense Grid comes it’s sequel Defense Grid 2, and you can bet that the team at Hidden Path Entertainment had something up their sleeve for the project.

beginnings

The simple yet humble beginnings of nearly any Tower Defense game… but that quickly changes in Defense Grid 2!

Tower Defense games have a stigma of always being the same. The idea is quite simple: hordes of enemies are coming to attack an objective that you need to protect; use these towers to defend against the oncoming enemies. At its core Defense Grid 2 isn’t too different from the norm when it comes to a tower defense game. The twist here is the speed at which the game is played and its dozens upon dozens of gameplay modes. It features a unique tug of war style multiplayer, which also can be set with certain rules to add a bit more challenge to the game. Multiplayer matchmaking also allows you to play the single player missions as you wait for someone to jump into a match with you.

The game features a scenario-based single player story campaign that introduces you to different types of aliens and towers. AI personalities will commentate as you play through each mission which helps add humor and personality to the game. The story picks up where Defense Grid left off and has you jumping from planet to planet in hopes of finding one that isn’t taken over by the evil aliens. Each AI you encounter that joins your crew gives you additional super abilities to use in the games. A few examples of these abilities are an orbital laser, a resource boost, and a buff on your tower abilities. There are more AI personalities to unlock, and each will have you playing in a different way.

gamemodes

There are many options to choose from to make your story mode more challenging.

The multiplayer has you playing on maps that you’ll be familiar with from the single player story. Each enemy unit that gets killed from your version of the map is sent to your opponent’s map. These spawned enemies get placed practically right next to the defending objective. This creates a more frantic situation as enemies spawn on both ends of the map for you to defend from. The speed of play is reminiscent of an RTS game, if you’re too slow your opponent will easily over power you. First and foremost you must have an understanding of the map, and secondly, you have to understand the value of your resources and how you’ll manage to keep them and use them as time goes on. Included is also a co-operative mode; the biggest issue with the co-op mode is that you have to share from the same pool of resources. In the beginning stages of a mission it can become frustrating when you don’t want to utilize resources and perhaps your partner had a different plan in mind. Of course, there is a means to utilize voice chat as well so communication will be the key to victory!

Now there may be only twenty missions total, but you have many ways to play each mission and compete for a high score amongst your friends and rivals across the internet. There is the standard mode of play with varying difficulties for you to choose from, but before each mission starts you are allowed to select a different type of play mode to add even more challenge. You can play with a limited amount of resources or towers; you can play where your cursor deals damage to your enemies, or you can limit yourself to the types of towers that are available to you. There’s tons of play modes to keep your TD gameplay itch satisfied! Even different types of multiplayer styles are selectable like a competitive mode that doesn’t allow you to sell towers or utilize your AI’s special power. The options are near limitless and give you plenty to do in the game.

multi1

Or swiftly become overwhelmed by them…

Defense Grid 2 is at its core a Tower Defense game, but a Tower Defense game done in a satisfying way. You’re not sitting there idle watching your towers wreak havoc on weak little minions that happen to run by. The maps keep you thinking, sometimes the path can split in more than one way, and perhaps you have to defend two points instead of one. It takes literally every good thing about the Tower Defense genre and mashes it all together into this game. You’re not going from map to map utilizing the same tactics just in a different type of maze. The maps are what keep you thinking and keep you interested.

Speaking of maps, there is a possible way to create your own maps. You’ll utilize the game’s own engine and design it that way. If you’re familiar with working in game engines then you’ll be fine crafting your own maps very easy to catch on to. Otherwise the map creation may be a bit daunting to say the least for those that aren’t too familiar in game design. There are also maps available to download through the Hidden Path store. Unfortunately that is the only way to get these maps as far as I’ve been able to find. There are maps on the Steam community page that you can vote on; otherwise they don’t seem to be available for immediate download, which is a shame, many of the maps looked interesting to play. It would be nice to later on have the ability to download these maps, but looks like that is currently reserved for the future. I imagine that you’d be able to get a copy of the level file from someone who created it and apply it into where your files would save for your created levels.

mapeditor

A sample of the map editor exclusive to the PC version.

For a Tower Defense game Defense Grid 2 does a fantastic job of standing out as a more engaging and fast paced experience. It’s definitely something others should look at as an example of how to take a tried and true method of development and spawn something a bit more interesting. The varying map designs that utilize multiple paths and the interesting banter amongst the AI personalities within the game give it a unique charm. The only unfortunate thing about DG2 is that there didn’t seem to be a lot of people online to play against or with. Which is a bummer as the competitive multiplayer was pretty fun, and it kept me coming back despite the massive beatings I received. You can currently purchase Defense Grid 2 on Steam, Xbox One, and PS4.

[This review is based on a PC download code provided by Hidden Path Entertainment]
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About The Author

Broadcast Team Lead

Alex enjoys long walks on the beach, mountain biking, and spending time in his extensive library reading novels from authors of yore. His hobbies include traveling the world putting small critters into ball shaped capsules, slaying Flying Wyverns, and mastering his wake-up Heavy Shoryuken!