Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Orcs Must Die! - First Impressions

Adam and I both really liked Orcs Must Die! at E3, it was one of our favorite finds and I'm glad to say that the retail game looks to be as fun as I was hoping it to be. Orcs Must Die! (OMD) sneaked onto Steam yesterday, giving a release date, new trailer and a demo. Surprisingly, it's not on XBLA yet, even though it was slated to come out on XBLA tomorrow on October 5. On the other hand, the PC version has a release date of October 12th. What is Orcs Must Die! ? Well, let me give you a brief overview. It is an action tower defense game, but instead of towers you place traps and units. You control an apprentice war mage in third person. His main weapons are a spear and crossbow, both of which are useful, but the spear feels more like a fall back weapon. He also gets spells throughout the game, but they aren't in the demo. You handle the apprentice war mage very much like an action game, he can sprint, jump, make headshots with his crossbow and impale enemies upon his spear. You can place very many different types of traps all over a map, attempting to mix and match to create the best deathtraps for the orcs. You fight waves of orcs, each level, and they start off simple, with just warriors, but as the game progresses you fight different types of orcs mixed in. Each level in the game isn't too long, at least in the demo, but each level has several difficulties available and for each difficulty you can earn skulls. Skulls you use to upgrade your basic traps into advanced versions. For instance, in the demo you can make your basic floor spike trap into a poison spike trap, a trap that slows and hurts enemies. The game is made by Robot Entertainment, the same developers who made Age of Empires Online, among other games. We have done two previous articles on OMD, one detailing some of the traps and monsters, while the other is our initial impressions from E3 2011.

The demo for Orcs Must Die! offers three levels to try and four different traps to experiment with, while also showing off some of the friendly units in the game. On top of the very large number of traps in the game there are also passive built-in traps and ally units. The passive built-in traps are traps that are in the map already and all you need to do is merely trigger them, one of which is shown off in the demo, the acid pot. Check it out in all of it's glory.

By killing Orcs you earn currency to use on more traps, that currency is determined by getting unique kills and kill streaks. You get to some see some ally unit's in the demo, but they aren't ones that you get to place, they were created for the level. In the very first level you get to see the elven archer and in the last demo level you get to see the paladin. Archer's are quite useful, since they help you thin out the horde, but the paladin tends to stay back and wait till they are right at him, which could be useful in late game when there are gnoll hunters (enemies that seek out you and ally units, instead of trying to reach the gate). The demo was short, but very fun and I wish they had included the hardest difficulty, immortal, so you could mess around some more to earn more skulls. As you can tell, the graphical style is quite colorful and attractive. The technical aspect of the game was also very smooth, everything seemed to work exactly like it should and I didn't see any tearing, bugs or problems. The demo lasted about thirty minutes going through all the levels once and it wasn't too difficult on normal (got five out of five skulls on all but the last level), but there was a easy difficult as well. I would have loved to see how Nightmare difficulty plays out though, and whether it merely makes the enemies stronger or adds in new/harder monster types to the mix. As you can tell from the screen below, there are a lot of traps in this game, which should offer a great variety and a great challenge to players who love to unlock everything.

Orcs Must Die! doesn't not have cooperative play, something that fans have been clamoring for since its conception. Robot Entertainment wanted to get out a solid product, with no bugs or problems, before trying to add cooperative play in. Hopefully in the near the future they will be adding that into the game. I'm glad to say that even without coop, the game is quite fun. It feel's like Sanctum a little bit, except there are not extraordinarily long waves, nor does it take hours to beat a single level. There are at least twenty-four confirmed levels to run through in OMD, tons of traps to unlock and upgrade, many spells to find and several difficulties to conquer, plus there are online leadersboards so you can gloat over your friends. For an arcade game this one has a very high level of quality and replayability, so do check it out. It comes out tomorrow on XBLA, probably for 1200-1600 Microsoft points, but the price is unconfirmed. It should also have the demo available tomorrow on XBLA. For PC it will out on October 12th for $15, on steam. For more info check out the main website, and I strongly recommend trying to the demo. Thanks for reading.
Main Website: http://www.robotentertainment.com/games/orcsmustdie

Orcs Must Die! Announcement Trailer

-Written by Sean Cargle


  1. Shadow of DeathOctober 4, 2011 3:13 PM

    I liked the demo, which I got through Steam. Convinced me to pre-purchase.

    Pity the PC release is a good while after the 360 release, but it could be worse...It could be delayed months like some games have been...

  2. Haha, yeah..I have no idea what game you could be referring to. Did it ever get working right?