Tower Defense games have been a pretty constant experience from one game to another, the AI spawns monsters and the player builds towers to hold them off from reaching the other side of the board. Tower Wars has taken that concept and found a way to make that experience multiplayer by giving the controls of the monsters over. The final product ends up feeling like something between a traditional tower defense game and League of Legends.
Probably the first thing that jumps out about Tower Wars before anything else is the endearing quality of the game, the characters and the world itself seem to be rather well defined in such a way that everything seems to have a sense of place. The art does its job holding everything together, but there is something about the voice work that just makes certain aspects of the game pop in a way that isn’t always that common in video games in general. Even small aspects like how the units are upgraded, burrowing into the ground to reappear in a more awesome version, seems to be rather well thought out.
Probably the biggest surprise of all, though, was the multi-player of the game. The matches range from 1v1 to 3v3, although I never managed to get into the larger sets through random matches, and involve building and economy, deploying mobs at the other player, and building towers to defend against his way of baddies. Not only was it impressive that the game seems to have finally cracked the correct way to do multi-player in a tower defense game, it is also rather wonderful to note that the community that has started to build around the experience is really accepting and understanding of new players. Considering the DotA like feel of the game this is both a pleasant surprise and refreshing to see that it is possible.
Everything in the world of Tower Wars is not sunshine and honey though; the massive downside of the game comes in the way of the single player. The only option to play by one’s self is a classic survival mode; things get even worse when there are only three maps to choose from and the goal is to see how long one can outlast waves of enemies. Considering that there are several tech trees, a nice nuanced depth of economy management, and pretty much an entire game type that are all complete left out of the single player experience it seems kind of disappointing. While it might not have been that hard to include AI with different skill levels, on the off chance that people aren’t playing this game in the future for multiplayer games to be found, it is nice to know that there is at least a game mode that can be fallen back on.
The game sells for 10 dollars on Steam, although it does appear to randomly go on sale for about a dollar less than that, which seems about right for this type of game. A multiplayer, ranked, tower defense game might not be what every person in the world is looking for; that said once bitten by the indie bug it is very easy to find lots of things to really enjoy about this game. While it might not be for everyone the people who do find it will hopefully be enjoying it for some time to come.