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Defenders of Ardania Review

Tower defense games have been a large part of my gaming life for the past 12 years since I first played Warcraft III. I was never really great at the whole real time strategy (RTS) style game but this gave them a whole new life (for me)! Here in 2012, we are given Defenders of Ardania which has decided to put a spin on the classic - but can they pull it off or will it be another failed attempt at innovation?

Defenders of Ardania

Defenders of Ardania is set in the fantasy world of Majesty and as far as story goes, it was enough to keep me entertained. With most tower defense games it’s a situation of “here are the enemies, kill them”, but thanks to the story in Defenders of Ardania I felt the need to help the citizens of Majesty and was compelled to continue playing through what was becoming an increasingly tedious game.

The campaign itself isn’t the longest on offer but the game mechanics (more on that later) made it last much longer than it should. The campaign slowly introduces you to how to play the game and how it differs from some more generic tower defense games but does this with a comical twist, often making references to popular culture. If you’ve ever played a Paradox Interactive game before, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Defenders of Ardania

Now onto the bit you’re actually interested in; how the game works and how it differs from the rest in its genre. You are given an enemy and you have to stop their units from destroying your castle with the use of towers strategically placed for the most efficient killing field. You can build towers on green squares and “special squares” only. These special squares grant bonuses such as increased range or increased coin production. However, Defenders of Ardania also includes a hint of RTS and allows the enemy to create towers and for you to send units to attack them. This means that you have to both micro manage your units and macro manage your towers and try to destroy the enemy's castle before they destroy yours.

The problem with this, although fun at first, is that you get to a stage where you are just spamming units of all shapes, sizes and ability towards the enemy and they are doing the same but because of the towers you each have and where those towers have been placed, you end up just killing each other's units constantly. There is a limit of how many towers you can build and how many units you can have on the field at any one time, which is what leads to this constant back and forth. However, you do have the ability to use magic which can be used to destroy enemy towers as well as heal your own or your castle. Unfortunately, these mechanics cause what seems like a pretty simple strategy concept to degrade into hour long struggles of power which either end in a minor victory, minor defeat or simply frustrate you to the point of a rage quit.

Defenders of Ardania

There is a survival mode for those of you who would just prefer to play a simple tower defense game but the limitations still apply so you can only have certain amount and type of towers on certain maps. The issue I had with this was that it made for a sub-par tower defense game. There are plenty of amazing tower defense games out there to choose from which do what they do amazingly well. Defenders of Ardania tries to stand out by putting a twist on it, but when you remove that twist it just becomes a bad tower defense game.

You can, if you so desire, take your defensive struggle online with games between either two or four players. Sadly, not only are all the issues from the single player campaign mirrored online, they are actually magnified. The one plus that you have when playing offline is that the AI cannot use magic therefore they cannot destroy your towers or heal their own, meaning that you can (very slowly) claw a victory in most cases. When you go online that slight advantage is gone and this can leave you facing a stalemate that can last for hours. You would think that becoming the winner or these epicly long battles would give you a sense of satisfaction and elation, but for the one out of ten matches I managed to win it just gave me a sense of relief that it was over!

Defenders of Ardania

I really wanted to enjoy this game and I really tried to, but sadly I couldn’t. If you’re looking for a tower defense game to get your teeth in, I cannot say that Defenders of Ardania is it. With a lengthy back and forth style of play and heavy limitations set on where and how much you can build, it left me heavily frustrated. It seems the twist on a classic should really be reversed and just left alone for now.

5.00/10 5

Defenders of Ardania (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

Tower defense games have been a large part of my gaming life for the past 12 years since I first played Warcraft III. I was never really great at the whole real time strategy (RTS) style game but this gave them a whole new life (for me)!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Kris 'Kaostic' West

Kris 'Kaostic' West


Zombie slayer, quest completer, mouse clicker and, in his downtime, writer and editor.

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