I won’t lie to you, reader, I didn’t really want to take this game. Trouble is, neither did anybody else. After a few weeks of being sat untaken, I felt sorry for it and offered to review it. “Sure, it doesn't look that great, but it might be a hidden gem” I thought. So is Molten Armor a diamond in the rough? Quite honestly, no. End of review, thanks for your time.
OK, so after writing that first paragraph I double checked my obligations and apparently I need to give you some details, so let me explain just why my decision to take this game for review is up there with a teenage YouTuber’s decision to eat a Tide pod. (If you are a teenage YouTuber, I should clarify that by that, I mean “a bad one”).
I’ll begin as the game does, with the tutorial. It’s fair to say that games these days are pretty intense with their tutorials, usually walking you through the first level as you play through it. Molton Armor doesn’t do that, it shows you what to do, but it’s not interactive. It’s essentially like an illustrated instruction manual. It’s not very interesting, and there’s an achievement for sitting through it. That says a lot. Besides that, does anybody really need instructions for a tower defence game?
There is a storyline, but because it’s written in such poor English, I never managed to follow it. Something about war I guess from all the guns and stuff, but it’s not gonna win any awards for its branching narrative, or even for making any sense at all. Think Zero Wing but without a good game attached to it.
There are three different ground turrets, along with one that can take out aerial targets. They all look so similar though, telling them apart in the heat of battle is near impossible. There’s little variation in the graphics, although some of the backgrounds are nice and varied, and the characters are decent enough little caricatures. It’s just a shame that more effort wasn’t put into the presentation of the main sprites.
You also have ground troops, but they just stand there like stuffed lemons: they’re essentially just squishy turrets. There are a few bombs and slowing nets to place as well, but often these either aren’t necessary, or your turrets (which are seemingly made of cereal boxes and PVA glue) are losing health quicker than a vegan at a barbeque so you’re too busy spamming the repair button to place them. There’s not that much else to the game. You place your turrets in the order you were told in the tutorial, spam repair and then repeat ad nauseum. There’s very little tactical skill, hardly any variation, and quite frankly I had to force myself to play it.
The repetitive gameplay is tempered somewhat with a decent soundtrack and a decent selection of levels to play through. There’s a system of branching with the levels where you have the illusion of a choice, but essentially all of them are pretty much the same thing with a different background. It’s not seen often in this type of game, but really it’s just the same thing that was present in Outrun in the nineties, so it’s not exactly new and ground-breaking.
You’ll be presented with the (thankfully skippable) intro every time you load the game, and that will get annoying, but at least it’s less frustrating than actually playing the game. Interestingly, it also tells you how many lines of code are in the latest build. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to achieve exactly, but it lets you know how much time the developer wasted I suppose.
I feel a little mean talking negatively about this title. It appears to be a very small one person developer, and it’s an early title in their output, so the fact that they’re showing ambition is good. There’s definitely the shell of a half-decent game here, too. I feel like with a bit more time spent working on it, this could be a pretty polished title. If it was a mobile title then I’d probably be less harsh on it, but as a full-blown PC title, it’s just too basic, too repetitive, and it’s not fun.
Molten Armor (Reviewed on Windows)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
Repetitive gameplay, poor graphics and not a lot of fun. Not worth recommending I’m afraid.