Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tower Wars Review

There are a great many tower defense games in the world, especially on PC, and SuperVillian Studios is looking to break the mold with their interesting take on tower defense. Others have done this before, but few have done it well, and Tower Wars makes tower defense about more than just defense. With this game you must balance defense and attack, as you send waves of units at your enemies castle. There are many different types of units and you have a tech tree that lets you research bonuses for all units, like more health, more defense, faster movement and many other improvements. All of your units, and their upgrades, don't only use money, you also have to use battle points and those are only earned by sending attack waves. On the defensive side of things you have quite a few different towers to crush your enemies with, which is pretty much what you would normally expect from a TD game, but you also have mines around the map that you must upgrade and fill with miners in order to increase your income. On top of that your castle can be upgraded to have stronger guns, it has machine guns on it, or more health. If you play tower defenses regularly then you have likely played this type of game before, but this game is polished, multiplayer focused, strategic, steampunk styled, and it has some very colorful and attractive graphics.

You can argue that there are plenty of free games or mods for Warcraft or Starcraft that essentially do the same thing as Tower Wars, but they don't have the same level of polish, animations, graphics and balance. I was initially worried when I saw that this game was largely multiplayer, especially since it uses a matchmaking system instead of a server browser, but I've found that games are quickly found and started. However, there is still the problem of people dropping out, but if you are lucky they won't drop out until they are about to be defeated. The game does have a few singleplayer options, like a classic tower defense mode that pits you against one AI that is continually attacking and you only have to deal with defense. There is also a short tutorial, but the main reason to play the game is for multiplayer. You can make parties with friends, up to three players, and join games that way and it seems to work just as quickly as going in by yourself.

 Balancing attack, defense, units and research isn't particularly easy, especially when games get hectic. When you are playing one versus one you obviously have to try balance everything at once, but in larger games you can devise strategies for each player and have each player focus on particulars. In most of my games I stuck with defense, but even with defense you still have to occasionally assist in attacking, at the very least to earn some battle points to recruit miners or increase your castles defenses. Just working on attacking alone can be a challenge. There is a lot of depth between the different units and many research options, plus each unit can be individually ranked up three times. There are basic units, like the tough knights, or fast moving robots, but then there are some more interesting units, like the units that carry and protect smaller units, or shield units or units that heal the area when they are killed. You can combine them all together and make some pretty powerful convoys, but there is a problem of it being easier to defend and turtle up then it is to attack.

Tower Wars is repetitive in nature, but thanks to the different maps, different match types (1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3), different units and large tech tree it does feel pretty different each time. You can develop different strategies to meet different types of players. There are achievements, ranked matches and unranked, and a fair bit to do, but like any multiplayer focused game it is all focused there and the games longevity is determined by how much you enjoy playing with and against other players. There are some balancing issues that need to be fixed, but this tower defense game does a lot right and is an attractive offering. Ideally there would be more maps, a proper singleplayer mode, more towers and a few less generic units, but there is still a lot to like here and if you are looking for a different type of tower defense game then Tower Wars should fill that desire. There isn't a demo available, unfortunately, but there are plenty of lengthy videos of gameplay on Youtube and even TotalBiscuit has done a preview of the game. For $10 Tower Wars is an impressive offering.

 Violent Score: 4 (out of 5) 
It isn't innovative, but it does have depth, strategy and a great style, plus a few minor bugs. 

Thanks for checking out the game and for reading. 
Main Website:
Steam Page:

-Written by Sean Cargle


  1. Brad Watson-DavelaarAugust 22, 2012 7:16 PM

    I tried the beta for this- was very impressed!

    1. I played the beta a bit too, but only shortly before release. It has been the most enjoyable, personally, with one or two other people. Haven't been able to get much into 1vs1, feels like there are fewer options.