Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Defense Grid: The Awakening (Xbox 360) Review

Defense Grid: The Awakening is a tower defense game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and distributed by Aspyr for Windows PC in December 2008 and ported to Xbox 360 Arcade in September of 2009. This game is currently one of the games available to play on Xbox Game Pass and was given away in July 2013 as part of Xbox's Games With Gold program.

I've already reviewed the sequel, Defense Grid 2, which you can read here. I enjoyed that game so I assumed that Defense Grid: The Awakening would play similarly and it pretty much does. You are in command of the military where you have to defend against an alien invasion. The story is about as bare-bones as you'll probably find but that doesn't take anything away from the game.

As you start the campaign you'll have a limited type of towers that can be used, each having a cost to put down. Each tower has it's base version but you can also upgrade it twice in increase damage, range, and so on. Some of the towers shoot projectiles, some shoot flames at the aliens that will burn over time. You'll also find temporal towers that slow down the aliens when they enter the influence of them.

The goal of each level is to keep the enemy from stealing all your cores. Each level has a set amount of waves and with each wave, the aliens try to take all of your power cores. Aliens can take your cores but if you kill them before they get the core off-screen you don't lose it with the exception of flying aliens, if they take a core you lose it even if they are destroyed. As long as one of your cores is on the screen the level will continue.

The way to complete the levels and eventually beat the game is by how you arrange your towers. First, you'll need to make sure you have adequate different types of towers on the map, a good example of this was when on a level I was doing very well and was nearing the last wave, the aliens sent a flying attack against me and I didn't have enough weapons to stop them so I quickly lost that level and had to try again.

The biggest part of the game though is the strategy of where to place your towers. Each map has all kinds of paths that lead to different sections of the map and you'll have to place the towers smartly to make the aliens have to travel back and forth across the board. If you have no towers the aliens will travel the shortest route to your power core and they will leave just as quickly. You need to place your towers that will make them stay on the map for as long as possible which gives your towers enough time to destroy all the aliens.

Every level has three levels that you can complete based on the number of points you earn in the level and the number of cores you have at the end. To complete the top highest level you can only allow one core to be lost. Once you finish the campaign there are different modes of play to keep you entertained. My favorite is called grinder, you pick a map and have to hold off 99 waves of aliens.

Overall I liked this game very much and think it's one of the better tower defense games available. I'm not quite sure why but I feel like I enjoyed this game more than it's the sequel. If you're a fan of tower defense games or are just looking for a fun strategy game I would recommend this game. I give Defense Grid: The Awakening a 7 out of 10.

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