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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Hudson Soft
Developed By: Hudsom Soft
Genre: Strategy
Players: 1
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: November 5, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Price: $7.99
Written By: Anthony C.

A seemingly endless horde of enemies assail your meager fortress as you setup row upon row of archer and knight to defend against the onslaught in a panicked attempt to control the situation *yawn* yep, you’ve found yourself in the middle of yet another tower defense game- what seems to be the flavor-of-the-year genre. Thankfully, Creature Defense breaks out of this stale mold and provides PSP users with an incredibly rich (albeit impossibly challenging) game that offers the most depth, customization, and hours of game play I have ever witnessed in a single tower defense game!

Like the ancient tale of the lion throwing her newborn cub over a cliff and tossing boulders at is when it tries to claw its way back up, so too does Creature Defense plunge gamers head first into a painfully challenging world with just a brief tutorial and no molly-coddling. Fans of other tower defense games may notice a striking resemblance to the Crystal Defenders game by Square Enix. I can assure you, all similarities end with the fact that they are both tower defense games that start you off with twenty life points and crazy winding paths to your fortress. Where Crystal Defenders reminds you on a regular basis what your units and enemies units are capable of (allowing gamers to pause and check whenever they wish) Creature Defense players have to do their homework and remember what their enemies and their allies can do. I strongly recommend beginners check their deck in “Edit Mode” immediately since no tutorial stage will be forthcoming. Finally, at the beginning of each wave, players will be shown what enemies they are up against, as well as their strengths and weaknesses as a timer ticks down at the bottom of the screen. When time is up (or you press X), the battle is on!

The basic game play is simple and easy to pick up. Players choose a unit from a “deck” of 5 “cards” and place them on the field in a strategic position to intercept enemies who will walk a set path toward the main base. Each unit has unique abilities that are best suited against various enemies. In other words, there are enemies weak against melee attacks, there are fliers who can only be hit by ranged attacks, there are ranged allies that deal very little damage but since they are the only ones who can hit fliers they are invaluable, and there are support units that alter the combat abilities and characteristics of other units on the field (ranging from slowing time to changing elements). Where some tower defense games stop at ranged/melee and magic/physical Creature Defense adds further complexity (and difficulty) by introducing 5 elements that also must be considered when choosing the right unit.

The quotation marks around deck and card in the previous paragraph serve to point out the fact that the whole idea of this as a tower defense/collectible card game is completely lost in actual game play. Once the units are on the field, it just looks like tower defense to me. It would seem the idea of the “deck and card” is simply to draw in gamers from the CCG demographic. This is further supported by the game’s inclusion of useable units from the Eye of Judgment universe.

Tower defense games, for the most part, tend to have a somewhat bright and cartoon-like style. This is one area where I believe Creature Defense stands out quite nicely. From its artistic backgrounds to its somewhat macabre creatures, the game has a visual style somewhat reminiscent of the Yu-Gi-Oh or Castlevania titles’ giving it a refreshingly dark appearance. The music is decent enough to not drive you crazy after 15 straight minutes, and each level offers its own unique background music. As for the sound effects- well have I mentioned this is a tower defense game? Basically it’s the typical “pew pew pew” “slash slash slash” that we have all come to know and love in this genre.

Creature Defense’s strongest selling point is its depth and seemingly endless hours of game play. Its difficulty may or may not be a considered a positive trait, but it definitely deserves mention. Creature Defense is the Demon’s Souls, Ninja Gaiden, Battletoads, and Contra all rolled up into one tower defense game. Simply put- it’s not easy. The game starts off with a relatively simple stage and balanced deck which will allow most gamers to smoothly battle through all 50 waves (the Phoenix and Dragon will probably still make it through your forces but you will have enough defense points left to complete the stage). Whether players succeed or fail, they will accumulate coins and unlock cards in the shop (just make sure you don’t quit or retry since anything you would have earned would be forfeit). Successful completion of a stage unlocks the next one. Successful completion of all 5 stages unlocks the next phase of stage one. Altogether there are 5 stages and 6 versions of each stage to unlock. Allowing for some time to think strategically a stage can be completed in about 15-30 minutes. If a player is skilled and fast, they can beat the game completely in 10-15 hours; however, given the insane difficulty, these 15 hours can easily become 50 as players are forced to redo stages dozens of times! Finally, the game offers 50 collectible cards which can only be obtained through hours of farming. As with other tower defense games that have RPG components, I was concerned that a player could potentially level up and unlock new features that make the game far too easy. I can assure you that this is not the case with Creature Defense, and even obtaining the powerful “Tower Cards” will not guarantee an easy victory!

At the incredible price of 7.99, this is a great purchase for PSP owners who love tower defense and are looking for something exciting (at time frustratingly so!) innovative, and surprisingly deep.


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